Love's Labour's Lost Play
Loves's Labour's Lost begins with Ferdinand,
King of Navarre decreeing that his court shall avoid
the distraction and labours of love, ignoring the charms
of women, to instead concentrate on the labours of study
for three years. To do this, the King tells Berowne,
Longaville, and Dumain that they may study with him
at the court as long as they neither see, talk, love,
nor be with a woman in this time, fast once a week and
to improve concentration, sleep only three hours a night.
The men agree, Berowne believing these rules to be unrealistic,
but vowing to at least be the last man to break them.
Berowne now brings to the King's attention that the
Princess of France has arrived and seeks his audience.
Whilst preparing to receive the Princess, Costard the
King's fool is sent to Don Armado to be punished being
desiring Jacquenetta, a country girl. Wanting the girl
for himself, Armado instead places Costard in prison.
Remembering their vow, the King and company delay seeing
the Princess, the Princess and entourage camping outside
the court in protest. Eventually the King meets the
Princess outside his court, learning she has come to
collect on a loan, one Ferdinand denies receiving.
Boyet, who accompanies the Princess, notices the King's
affection for her, the Princess and entourage now plotting
to punish the King and company. Don Armado meanwhile,
decides to overturn Costard's punishment if he will
only send a letter to Jacquenetta. Unfortunately, the
fool bumps into Berowne who also wants the fool to send
a letter, this time to Rosaline, part of the Princess'
entourage, whom Berowne loves. Naturally Costard mixes
the two letters up, Jacquenetta receiving Berowne's
letter for Rosaline and Rosaline receiving Don Armado's
letter for Jacquenetta. Meanwhile in the court, the
King and company's resolve to shun the charms of women
is rapidly falling to pieces.... Berowne, torn by his
love for Rosaline, spies King Ferdinand writing a love
letter to the Princess. Shortly thereafter, the King
and Berowne spy Longaville writing a love letter to
Maria, then King, Berowne and Longaville all catch Dumaine
writing a love letter to Katherine. Naturally King Ferdinand
tells off Longaville and Dumaine but the jig is soon
up when Berowne tells off everyone else for breaking
their vows unlike him. Unfortunately at this point Jaquenetta
comes forward, revealing even Berowne broke his vow!
Deciding their vow is causing more pain than happiness,
the men decide their vow is best left broken and forgotten,
each seeking their respective love... However when the
Lords decide to see the ladies disguised as foreigners,
the ladies forewarned by Boyet, decide to play a trick
of their own, swapping jewerllery and wearing masks
to disguise themselves. Each man departs with the wrong
woman, each lady refusing her suitor's romantic gestures.
The King and company return as themselves, the women
admitting their trickery. Unfortunately, news comes
of the loss of the Princess' father, forcing her to
leave the court. Before leaving, the Princess tells
King Ferdinand she will consider his offer of marriage
if he can spend a year in a hermitage as both punishment
for breaking his vow and to give the Princess time to
mourn her lost father. The other ladies exact similar
promises from their suitors, the play ending with the
ladies vowing to return in a year to see if the men
have kept their word.
Scene I, Scene
Scene I, Scene
II, Scene III
Scene I, Scene
II - Part I, Scene II - Part
II, Scene II - Part III