William Shakespeare: Love's Labour's Lost

(2360 words)
  • John Demaray (Rutgers University )

Shakespeare's festive comedy Love's Labour's Lost, embodying the merriment and misrule of courtly Renaissance pageants and “disguisings”, is a work of exuberant youthful energy and extraordinary linguistic richness tempered by a jolting conclusion centered on sickness and death. No single written source has been found for its plot which rests on the unfulfilled courtship by the immature King of Navarre and three male followers of the intelligent Princess of France and her ladies. The Princess and the young court ladies decisively win the day.

The comedy survives in a first quarto printing of 1598 with a notation stating that the play was acted before Queen Elizabeth “this last Christmas”, which could mean either …

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Demaray, John. "Love's Labour's Lost". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 January 2003
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=11361, accessed 30 September 2016.]

Related Groups

  1. English Renaissance Theatre - Elizabethan