Thursday, 18 April 2013

Love's Labor's Lost: Cliffhanger, Anyone?

Love's Labor's Lost is one of the comedy plays of Shakespeare, and one of the earliest too. I read this as part of Let's Read Plays event, and have been enjoying it so much. But it's also different from other comedies I've read.

David Tennant as Berowne

First of all, the synopsis. Ferdinand, the king of Navarre, proposed an oath that he and his friends would dedicate 3 years for studying, during which time no woman should come to the court. Two of the king's friends, Longaville and Dumaine, hastily agreed and signed the pact, while Berowne stated that it wouldn't be wise. He also reminded the king that he should meet a lady anyway, namely, the daughter of the king of France. The king amended the pact, but still insisted upon the carrying out of it. Berowne, being a good friend to the king, signed it anyway. But he also added, “although I seem so loath,/I am the last that will last keep his oath.”

Well, the day after, the Princess of France came with her three ladies-in-waiting. The king paid her a visit (with his three friends too) and talked a bit about the matter of state. Just that? Well, it might seem so, but the friends of the king closed the meeting with inquiring Boyet (the Princess' man) about the who the ladies were.

Not long after, Berowne railed about his love for Rosaline, one of the Princess' ladies-in-waiting, and then he overheard how actually all of them had broken their oath (including the king, who was in love with the princess). Haha. It's honestly the funniest scene in the play. They concluded that it was wrong to propose such oath at the first place, and they would try to win the hands of their ladies.

Now, this play is different from Shakespeare's typical comedy – it doesn't end with a marriage (or some marriages). Also, there are Latin verses scattered here and there, making the play even less enjoyable for a commoner like myself. Some say that this play was not written for common people after all. It was for scholars or so.

One more thing. The end of this play is actually a cliffhanger. There's a lost play of Shakespeare entitled Love's Labor's Won, suspected to be the sequel of this play. It makes this play somewhat 'not final'. Any odea what Shakespeare might have written in the lost play? No, it's not like how it is in Doctor Who. 


  1. Love's Labor's Lost, a play whose sequel is lost. And I think I'm going to get lost when I read this, as I don't think it's translated in NFS. Interesting though...

    1. Haha. It's so so very funny. At least the fourth act of it. Berowne is such a cute character. Almost like Benedick in MAAN. ;)

  2. It is sometimes suggested that Much Ado About Nothing is an alternate title for Love's Labor's Won. I like this idea. It was written at the right time and has a similar light touch and wit. LLL feels complete to me and, I fear, would lose some of it's appeal in a sequel. MAAN has many similarities to LLL, including, as you mentioned the similarity of Berowne and Benedick. I think they might work well as companion pieces. But nobody really knows and it is just one theory among many.

    1. That's an interesting idea. It's also true I cannot help thinking about Benedick when reading Berowne's lines. When it comes to Shakespeare, there are som many theories out there, right?