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Love's Labour's Lost Theme of Principles

The principles we see in Love's Labour's Lost are way too restrictive, and too prescriptive for this open-air world. The play begins with young men taking oaths not to have any contact with women. And we know how well that works out.

But these men know nothing about women and abandon their vow when the Princess of France shows up with her ladies-in-waiting. The play argues for a more liberal approach to principles, especially since the characters are young. They don't know themselves and they don't know the world.

Questions About Principles

  1. Is Berowne's claim that the men must "lose their oaths to find themselves" (4.3.93) valid, or a rationalization?
  2. Is there a character in the play whose principles never waver?
  3. How do the set of principles embraced by the nobles differ from those of the rustics?

Chew on This

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

Love's Labour's Lost argues that principles and instinct are not mutually exclusive.

The Princess of France provides a model of principle that diminishes the noblemen.

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