Study Guide

Love's Labor's Lost

by William Shakespeare

Love's Labor's Lost Characters

Characters Discussed (Great Characters in Literature)

Berowne

Berowne (beh-REWN), a witty, sophisticated young lord in the court of King Ferdinand of Navarre. Although he joins his monarch’s idealistic academy, he warns his companions of the folly of study for its own sake and advises them to seek wisdom in the contemplation of feminine beauty. He delights in words, exchanging puns and rhymes with his friends and waxing rhapsodic when he falls in love. He meets his match in Rosaline and swears that he will henceforth woo with “rustic yeas and honest kersey noes.” She orders him to temper his ironic wit with sympathy; he must spend the next year jesting in hospitals.

Rosaline

Rosaline (ROHZ-uh-lin), one of the charming ladies in waiting to the princess of France. Clever and sparkling, she whets her mind in verbal battles with Boyet and spars endlessly with Berowne, who is continually overcome by her wit. She is the first of William Shakespeare’s bright, confident heroines, the prototype for Beatrice, Viola, Portia, and Rosalind.

Ferdinand

Ferdinand, the king of Navarre, an idealistic young ruler who intends to win everlasting fame by establishing a Platonic academy devoted to study and ascetic living. The appearance of the princess of France on a diplomatic mission quickly disperses his noble goals as he and his lords promptly fall in love and turn their attention to sonnets, masques, and gifts. Brought suddenly to Earth by the news of the death of the...

(The entire section is 633 words.)

Love's Labor's Lost Character Analysis

Armado (Don Andriano de Armado)

Armado is first described by the king, just before he enters the stage in the play's first scene, as ''One who the music of his own vain...

(The entire section is 477 words.)

Berowne

He is the central figure of the play. One of the king's lords, he is infatuated with language (especially his own), and yet even from the...

(The entire section is 756 words.)

Costard

The play's clown is the first to break the court's rule against consorting with women. Don Armado catches him with Jaquenetta, has him...

(The entire section is 403 words.)

Dumaine

Dumaine is one of the king's lords, along with Berowne and Longaville, and falls in love with Katherine. His oath to the king in the opening...

(The entire section is 415 words.)

France (Princess of France)

The princess of France is the moral center of the play. She arrives at the court of the king of France just after he and his lords have sworn...

(The entire section is 934 words.)

Holofernes

The pedantic schoolteacher Holofernes, along with the parson Nathaniel, does not appear until late in the play (IV.ii). He speaks in lists of...

(The entire section is 534 words.)

Navarre (King Ferdinand of Navarre)

The king of Navarre is the leader of the so-called academy of lords, all of whom, at the play's opening, take a vow to be celibate and absorb...

(The entire section is 893 words.)

Rosasline

One of the princess's ladies, Rosaline is the unconventionally dark beauty who so appeals to Berowne. She is as full of wit as he is, and...

(The entire section is 533 words.)

Other Characters

Boyet
The princess's lord, Boyet acts as an intermediary between the lords and the ladies. Boyet is at least middle-aged, and...

(The entire section is 1694 words.)