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Love's Labour's Lost Act 4, Scene 2 Summary

  • We're introduced to two new characters, the schoolmaster Holofernes and Sir Nathaniel, the curate (country preacher).
  • Holofernes is learned and enjoys talking. If he hasn't said something six different ways, he hasn't said it at all.
  • Nathaniel seems to be a fan of this sort of thing. He compliments the schoolmaster's speech but disagrees with his assessment of the kill.
  • Dull gets in on the disagreement and Holofernes is offended by his ignorance.
  • Nathaniel charitably asks Holofernes to accept this dolt—after all it would be an insult to the school to see him in it. The three exchange a few more riddles until Holofernes, inspired, offers "an extemporal epitaph on the death of the deer" (4.2.18).
  • Holofernes has at it, delivering a little speech full of alliteration and wordplay. Nathaniel is impressed; Dull not so much. They are interrupted by Costard and Jaquenetta, who want them to read her letter from Don Armado.
  • Well of course it's the wrong one! Nathaniel reads aloud Berowne's letter to Rosaline.
  • Holofernes looks it over and gives it a big fat shrug. Nothing special, in his opinion. And was it really meant for Jaquenetta?
  • She thinks so. But Holofernes reads the address and sees "Rosaline." He advises Jaquenetta to take the letter to the King. She exits with Costard.
  • Holofernes insults Berowne's letter a bit more and invites Nathaniel and Dull to dinner. They all exit.

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