Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory
Spring Has Sprung
Danger: reading Love's Labour's Lost will make you want to run away and live in the woods. There are no bears or wolves here, or scary Deliverance extras. It's pretty much all bunnies and squirrels.
Well, maybe not bunnies and squirrels per se, but there is tons of ink spilled on the subject of the sun, moon, roses, snow, geese, deer, cuckoos. Check out this bit of pastoral goodness:
When daisies pied and violets blue,
And lady-smocks all silver-white,
And cuckoo-buds of yellow hue
Do paint the meadows with delight,
The cuckoo then on every tree
Mocks married men; for thus sings he:
Cuckoo, cuckoo!' O word of fear,
Unpleasing to a married ear. (5.2.968-976)
Sigh! Flowers galore, in a rainbow of colors! Cuckoos that mock married men—wait, what?
Shakespeare may be effusive, but he's never afraid to show you the dark cloud behind that silver lining—especially when a little doom n' gloom can be played for yucks. "Cuckoo" sounds like "cuckold," and although cuckoos have a pretty pleasant-sounding chirp, no married man wants to be reminded that he could be reduced to a cuckold if his wife cheated on him.
Nature is in full bloom in this play, which means that everyone is thirsty for love. That's great if you're single and ready to mingle, but if you're married or a man who has (idiotically) decided to be celibate for an entire year, the idea that women might be just as randy as their male counterparts is a little scary. And exciting. And scary.