What are the themes of Love's Labors Lost by William Shakespeare?

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shaketeach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Love's Labour's Lost, Shakespeare explores love, but from a very different perspective than earlier comedies.

As the play opens, Ferdinand, the King of Navare, has proposed that he and his friends, Berowne, Longaville, and Dumain live a secluded life of study for three years.  Part of this agreement is to forswear the company of the opposite sex.  His idea is that they should commit all their energies to academia.

It isn't long before the Princess of France, attended on by Rosalind, Cathrine and Maria arrives on business.

The men and women know each other have in the past flirted with each other.  The men, of course, are bound by their pact.  The women, of course, find the pact to be rather silly.

Under these cirumstance the women and men flirt.  Like Orlando in As You Like It, the men try to woo their respective ladies with poetry, bad poetry.

It is only at the end of the play when the Princess receives word that her father has died that the play and relationships take a turn.  Basically, the women tell the men that are leaving but will return and they each charge their men with a lesson they need to learn before they will be taken seriously.

In other words, the women tell the men to grow up and stop acting like adolesent fools.

drmonica eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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Love's Labor's Lost

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