When the play opens, the king of Navarre and his lords, Berowne, Dumaine, and Longaville, have just sworn an oath together: they will all live at the court of Navarre, forming a "little academe" together, committed to learning and contemplation. They swear to fast, to sleep minimally, and most important, to avoid the company of women for the next three years. The king has issued a proclamation stating that no woman shall come within a mile of his court. But the princess of France is due to pay a visit to the court; the king resolves to speak with her, going back on...
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