A-Z Shakespeare: Love’s Labour’s Lost

“A jest’s prosperity lies in the ear
Of him that hears it, never in the tongue
Of him that makes it.”

William Shakespeare

Awesomeness: 9/10

Because…FLIRTING IN RHYME. Also a bittersweet and quite moving ending that’s unusual for a Shakespearean comedy.

Colour: Green

Date: Mid-1590s

Events: King Ferdinand of Navarre and his mates swear an oath to avoid girls for a year. However, the Princess of France and her friends rock up to ask the King something, and they all fall in love. After about four acts of the aforesaid rhyming flirting, the Princess hears that her father the King of France is dead. As she and her friends prepare to hurry home, they ask the boys to wait for a year before marrying them.

First line: “Let fame, that all hunt after in their lives”

Genre: Comedy

High point: The hilarious bit in Act Five where the King and his friends disguise themselves unsuccessfully as Russians.

Interesting fact: Its wordplay is at times so obscure that even Shakespeare’s contemporaries may not have understood it.

Joke: “If a talent be a claw, look how he claws him with a talent.”

Killed: No-one. But then, nothing else really happens either.

Laughed at: Adriano de Armado and his incompetent wooing of Jaquenetta.

Musical: Yes, there are songs about summer and winter at the end…I don’t know why either.

Number of scenes: 9 spread over five acts.

Obscurity: 9/10

Place: Navarre in Spain

Quote: “A light heart lives long.”

Role I’d play: The Princess, although any of the female roles would be fun.

Stolen from unusually, no-one and nowhere in particular.

Time: Around Shakespeare’s.


Voiced in my head by: Johnny Depp (in his Jack Sparrow guise) as Armado.

Would I see it in a theatre? Yes.

X: The Tenth Line: “And the huge army of the world’s desires – “

“Yes? Hello? What?” (The Snappy Quip): “There’s no such sport as sport by sport o’erthrown.”

Z: The Last Line: “The words of Mercury are harsh after the songs of Apollo.”


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