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Love's Labour's Lost

Love's Labour's Lost

  

by William Shakespeare

Love's Labour's Lost Theme of Love

Shakespeare was probably the biggest mushy-hearted, googly-eyed, sighing romantic around. His version of love isn't just physical, spiritual, or intellectual—it's all of the above.

In Love's Labour's Lost, love is the great synthesizer of humanity. Most of the characters want to be one thing: a warrior, a scholar, a teacher. They think they can only do these jobs well if they cut out the rest of life (and especially love). They discover, however, that love enhances everything else. For the main characters, physical attraction sparks a journey toward becoming complete human beings. The journey doesn't end with the play's resolution. By writing an ambiguous ending, Shakespeare seems to suggest that the journey continues.

Questions About Love

  1. Are love and sexual attraction interchangeable in Love's Labour's Lost?
  2. What are the instances of love acting as a negative force?
  3. If love is the central theme in the play, why don't the couples marry at the end of it?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

In Love's Labour's Lost, love is the unifying force of several sets of opposites: man and woman; reason and passion; civilization and nature.

The characters' conduct of love relates to gender and class assumptions in Elizabethan England.

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