Love Labour’s Lost is not one of Shakespeare’s most well known plays, but it is still produced around the world and features some fantastic monologues for actors. It’s a comedy, and like many of Shakespeare’s classic comedies features much confusion, romance, and of course a dress up party (this time it’s Russian themed).
So first of all let’s take a look at what this plays is all about…
Though it’s a touch silly, this finger puppet explanation ain’t a bad start… (full synopsis below)
Full Character List
Ferdinand, King of Navarre
Princess of France
Marcadé – messenger
Don Armado – a fantastical Spaniard
Moth – Armado’s page
Costard – a rustic
Jaquenetta – country wench
Sir Nathaniel – curate
Holofernes – schoolmaster
Dull – constable
Love Labour’s Lost Story Line
First, let’s set the scene for the play.
Ferdinand, The King of Navarre, and his three mates,Berowne, Longaville, and Dumaine, make a deal to study hard for three years, ignoring all other worldly distractions such as lavish dinners, but most importantly, women!
As soon as they have made this deal, the Princess of France arrives with herthree ladies in waiting: Rosaline, Maria, and Katharine. Turning down royalty is difficult, so they meet with the ladies outside the court. They soon realise that they all have romantic history with these particular women. The stage is set!
Don Armado, a Spaniard visiting the court, is in love with Jaquenetta, a servant girl. He sends Costard (a dumb servant) to her with his love letter. Berowne, also writes a love letter to his new love, Rosalind. He choses Costard to send his letter (not his best idea). And in classic Shakespearean fashion the letters are mixed up! Costard, you silly thing!
Whilst Berowne awaits a reply, he overhears King Ferdinand reading over his own love letter to the Princess of France. And then the other two, Dumaine and Longaville follow suit.Berowne is lording it over them all when Jaquenetta comes in with his love letter. They have attempted to be conspiratorial, but are found out. So Berowne suggests that the only solution is to give up the agreement and get some girls! And what better way to entice them then to throw a masked ball. (oh and obviously dressed up as Russians). The boys send the girls gifts and invite them to the party!
The women are unimpressed by the men’s weak vowels and so they decide to make a joke of their male counterparts, swapping their gifts, so that the men will flirt with the wrong women. Eventually the women reveal their true identity, great prank gals!
Don Armado puts on a show. The boys laugh, but the women are the picture of graciousness. However, before the revels are finished the Princess receives word that her father has died and she must return to France immediately.
The boys profess their love, but the women are sceptical, pointing out how weak their vows have been previously. They ask the boys to wait a year until they have finished mourning and if they do, then and only then will they be married.
And so the play ends, with little resolution… How faithful will the boys be?
Love Labour’s Lost Monologues
King Ferdinand – Act 1 Scene 1
Let fame, that all hunt after in their lives,
Live register’d upon our brazen tombs
And then grace us in the disgrace of death;
When, spite of cormorant devouring Time,
The endeavourof this present breath may buy
That honour which shall bate his scythe’s keen edge
And make us heirs of all eternity.
Therefore, brave conquerors, for so you are,
That war against your own affections
And the huge army of the world’s desires,
Our late edict shall strongly stand in force:
Navarre shall be the wonder of the world.
Our court shall be a little Academe,
Still and contemplative in living art.
You three, Berowne, Dumain, and Longaville,
Have sworn for three years’ term to live with me
My fellow-scholars, and to keep those statutes
That are recorded in this schedule here:
Your oaths are pass’d; and now subscribe your names,
That his own hand may strike his honour down
That violates the smallest branch herein:
If you are armed to do as sworn to do,
Subscribe to your deep oaths, and keep it too.
Armado Act 1 Scene 2
I do affect the very ground, which is base, where
her shoe, which is baser, guided by her foot, which
is basest, doth tread. I shall be forsworn, which
is a great argument of falsehood, if I love. And
how can that be true love which is falsely
attempted? Love is a familiar; Love is a devil:
there is no evil angel but Love. Yet was Samson so
tempted, and he had an excellent strength; yet was
Solomon so seduced, and he had a very good wit.
Cupid’s butt-shaft is too hard for Hercules’ club;
and therefore too much odds for a Spaniard’s rapier.
The first and second cause will not serve my turn;
the passado he respects not, the duello he regards
not: his disgrace is to be called boy; but his
glory is to subdue men. Adieu, valour! rust rapier!
be still, drum! for your manager is in love; yea,
he loveth. Assist me, some extemporal god of rhyme,
for I am sure I shall turn sonnet. Devise, wit;
write, pen; for I am for whole volumes in folio.
Berowne – Act 3 scene 1
And I, forsooth, in love!
I, that have been love’s whip,
A very beadle to a humorous sigh,
A critic, nay, a night-watch constable,
A domineering pedant o’er the boy,
Than whom no mortal so magnificent!
This wimpled, whining, purblind, wayward boy,
This Signor-Junior, giant-dwarf, Dan Cupid,
Regent of love-rhymes, lord of folded arms,
Th’ anointed sovereign of sighs and groans,
Liege of all loiterers and malcontents,
Dread prince of plackets, king of codpieces,
Sole imperator and great general
Of trotting paritors – O my little heart!
And I to be a corporal of his field,
And wear his colours like a tumbler’s hoop!
What? I love? I sue? I seek a wife?
A woman, that is like a German clock,
Still a-repairing, ever out of frame,
And never going aright, being a watch,
But being watched that it may still go right!
Nay, to be perjured, which is worst of all;
And among three to love the worst of all –
A whitely wanton with a velvet brow,
With two pitch-balls stuck in her face for eyes;
Ay, and, by heaven, one that will do the deed
Though Argus were her eunuch and her guard!
And I to sigh for her, to watch for her,
To pray for her! Go to, it is a plague
That Cupid will impose for my neglect
Of his almighty dreadful little might.
Well, I will love, write, sigh, pray, sue, and groan;
Some men must love my lady, and some Joan.
Full monologue breakdown of Berowne’s Monologue
Berowne – Act 4 Scene 3
Now step I forth to whip hypocrisy.
Ah, good my liege, I pray thee, pardon me!
Good heart, what grace hast thou, thus to reprove
These worms for loving, that art most in love?
Your eyes do make no coaches; in your tears
There is no certain princess that appears;
You’ll not be perjured, ’tis a hateful thing;
Tush, none but minstrels like of sonneting!
But are you not ashamed? nay, are you not,
All three of you, to be thus much o’ershot?
You found his mote; the king your mote did see;
But I a beam do find in each of three.
O, what a scene of foolery have I seen,
Of sighs, of groans, of sorrow and of teen!
O me, with what strict patience have I sat,
To see a king transformed to a gnat!
To see great Hercules whipping a gig,
And profound Solomon to tune a jig,
And Nestor play at push-pin with the boys,
And critic Timon laugh at idle toys!
Where lies thy grief, O, tell me, good Dumain?
And gentle Longaville, where lies thy pain?
And where my liege’s? all about the breast:
A caudle, ho!
Princess of France Act 5 Scene 2
A time, methinks, too short
To make a world-without-end bargain in.
No, no, my lord, your grace is perjured much,
Full of dear guiltiness; and therefore this:
If for my love, as there is no such cause,
You will do aught, this shall you do for me:
Your oath I will not trust; but go with speed
To some forlorn and naked hermitage,
Remote from all the pleasures of the world;
There stay until the twelve celestial signs
Have brought about the annual reckoning.
If this austere insociable life
Change not your offer made in heat of blood;
If frosts and fasts, hard lodging and thin weeds
Nip not the gaudy blossoms of your love,
But that it bear this trial and last love;
Then, at the expiration of the year,
Come challenge me, challenge me by these deserts,
And, by this virgin palm now kissing thine
I will be thine; and till that instant shut
My woeful self up in a mourning house,
Raining the tears of lamentation
For the remembrance of my father’s death.
If this thou do deny, let our hands part,
Neither entitled in the other’s heart.
Rosalind Act 5 Scene 2
Oft have I heard of you, my Lord Biron,
Before I saw you; and the world’s large tongue
Proclaims you for a man replete with mocks,
Full of comparisons and wounding flouts,
Which you on all estates will execute
That lie within the mercy of your wit.
To weed this wormwood from your fruitful brain,
And therewithal to win me, if you please,
Without the which I am not to be won,
You shall this twelvemonth term from day to day
Visit the speechless sick and still converse
With groaning wretches; and your task shall be,
With all the fierce endeavour of your wit
To enforce the pained impotent to smile.
There you go. Some of the best Shakespeare monologues from Love Labour’s Lost. These are some great pieces to play with especially if you are looking for a monologue that is a little unique.
What is the source of love Labour lost? ›
Shakespeare apparently used no specific sources for Love's Labour's Lost. General influences on the play and its language include the works of Sir Philip Sidney and John Lyly. There may also be links to entertainments such as the 1594-1595 revels at Gray's Inn.
Doth falsely blind the eyesight of his look. Assist me, some extemporal god of rhyme, for I am sure I shall turn sonnet. Devise, wit: write, pen, for I am for whole volumes in folio. Your wit's too hot, it speeds too fast, 'twill tire.What are the themes in love's Labour's lost? ›
The major themes in Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost include love, education, and cleverness. Most of the main characters are focused on building their future careers, but they soon realize that jobs are meaningless compared to being in love. Also, in this comedy, the characters are engrossed in their studies.What is love's Labour's lost about short summary? ›
After vowing to avoid women, the King and three of his friends have to host a princess and her three ladies. The four men fall in love and decide to court the women. In the end, the women must return to their kingdom for a year after which they will marry the king and his friends, providing they remain true to them.What is the source of love? ›
Christian theologians see God as the source of love, which is mirrored in humans and their own loving relationships. Influential Christian theologian C. S. Lewis wrote a book called The Four Loves.What is the meaning of the title love's Labour's lost? ›
But we can make a little more headway on the meaning of the title: it could suggest either that the labor of love is lost, or the lost labors of love. Either way, the title gives us a couple of hints of what we're about to see—a very convoluted love story.What are the main theme of the poem? ›
The theme of a poem is the message an author wants to communicate through the piece. The theme differs from the main idea because the main idea describes what the text is mostly about. Supporting details in a text can help lead a reader to the main idea.What are the main themes of the play All for Love? ›
The theme of All for Love is the conflict of reason and honor with passion in the form of illicit love. From the preface it seems that Dryden wished to show how Antony, torn between these two, chooses unreasonable, passionate love and is conse- quently punished for his denial of reason.Is love's Labour's lost a comedy or tragedy? ›
Love's Labour's Lost is a comedy about young love, with an unexpected ending. 'We lose ourselves to keep our oaths. ' The King and his friends take an oath to dedicate themselves to a life of study and avoid the company of women for three years.What is a good summary of Lost? ›
Lost was a fast-paced, suspenseful, and surreal series about a group of people who survive when their commercial passenger jet, Oceanic Airlines Flight 815, crashes on a remote island in the tropical Pacific. As the survivors work together in an attempt to stay alive, they discover many mysteries about the island.
Who is the main character in love's Labour's lost? ›
Love's Labour's LostWhich is Shakespeare's shortest play? ›
The Comedy of Errors, with 1,898 lines (as per the Folger Shakespeare Edition; other editions may count lines differently).What is the main key of love? ›
These are: kindness, compassion, fun and serenity. Incorporating these aspects into a relationship is one of the keys to a love that will never fail. Each of them is indispensable. Kindness promotes respectful and considerate relationships.What are the 3 types of love? ›
The three loves that she came up with are the following: Lust, Passion, and Commitment. These three loves occur in different parts of the brain and occur independently from each other. For instance, you can be “in lust” with someone but have no perceived commitment to them (e.g., one night stands).Who is moth in love's Labour's Lost? ›
Moth is Don Armado's page, a young, small, and extremely quick-witted boy who can not only hold his own with his master's affected language, but best him at it. He does not take Armado overly seriously, and sometimes tries to put him in his place.What Does there was no love lost mean? ›
If you say that there is no love lost between two people or groups or there is little love lost between them, you mean that they do not like each other at all. There was no love lost between the two men. See full dictionary entry for love.Which of the following works talks about the theme of love and loss '? ›
Both, the poem “Reluctance” by Robert Frost and “Time Does Not Bring Relief” by Edna St. Vincent Millay, revolved around the theme of lost love. Each poet used a similar array of poetic devices to express this theme.What happened to love's Labour's won? ›
Love's Labour's Won is a lost play attributed by contemporaries to William Shakespeare, written before 1598 and published by 1603, though no copies are known to have survived. Scholars dispute whether it is a true lost work, possibly a sequel to Love's Labour's Lost, or an alternative title to a known Shakespeare play.What does labor of love mean in the Bible? ›
The phrase, "labor of love," refers to work done without financial compensation. It is work motivated by commitment, passion, or pleasure. The English phrase finds its roots in 1 Thessalonians 1:3, where the King James Version reads, "Remembering without ceasing your ...When did Shakespeare write love's Labour's lost? ›
Love's Labour's Lost, early comedy in five acts by William Shakespeare, written sometime between 1588 and 1597, more likely in the early 1590s, and published in a quarto edition in 1598, with a title page suggesting that an earlier quarto had been lost.
Who is Boyet in love's Labour's lost? ›
Ah, “honey-tongued Boyet”! Whenever I mention I'm playing him in Love's Labour's Lost, I'm met with impish grins and arch eyebrows. An aura of mystery and mischief swirls around Boyet.Who is dull in love's Labour's Lost? ›
Love's Labour's Lost (TV Movie 1985) - Frank Williams as Dull - IMDb.Which is the shortest of Shakespeare's comedies? ›
The longest play is Hamlet, which is the only Shakespeare play with more than thirty thousand words, and the shortest is The Comedy of Errors, which is the only play with fewer than fifteen thousand words.What are examples of labors of love? ›
Something you willingly work hard at without being paid for is a labor of love. You don't plan on selling any of those embroidered portraits of your dog — stitching them was a labor of love. A hobby that you love doing is one kind of labor of love, and another kind is hard, unpaid work that benefits another person.What is an example of Labour of love? ›
— Painting the house took six months but it was a labor of love. — For me, cooking is a labor of love but my wife hates it. — I work as an accountant for my job but furniture-making is a labor of love for me. — I dreaded working as an attorney but owning a yoga studio has been a labor of love.
a piece of hard work that you do because you enjoy it and not because you will receive money or praise for it, or because you need to do it: He's always working on his car - it's a labor of love.What is the genre of love Labour's lost? ›
Genre classification: Love's Labour's Lost is a Comedy play. Main characters in Love's Labour's Lost: Ferdinand: King of Navarre, who woos the princess of France.Is love Labour lost a romantic comedy? ›
Love's Labour's Lost is a 2000 British musical romantic comedy film written, directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh, based on the comic play of the same name by William Shakespeare.How many sonnets are in love's Labour's lost? ›
twenty sonnets and lyrics entitled The Passionate Pilgrim (1598-1599) and printed by William Jaggard, one can find three poems from Love's Labour's Lost, a play whose earliest extant quarto edition dates back to 1598.What is the longest speech in Shakespeare? ›
The speech given by Berowne at 4.3. 284–361 is potentially the longest in all of Shakespeare's plays, depending on editorial choices.
What is the main theme in the tragedy that is a kind of drama? ›
Tragedy: Tragedy dealt with the big themes of love, loss, pride, the abuse of power and the fraught relationships between men and gods. Typically the main protagonist of a tragedy commits some terrible crime without realizing how foolish and arrogant he has been.What kind of play is a tragedy? ›
tragedy, branch of drama that treats in a serious and dignified style the sorrowful or terrible events encountered or caused by a heroic individual. By extension the term may be applied to other literary works, such as the novel.