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Love's Labour's Lost

Love's Labour's Lost

Analysis: What's Up With the Title?

You try to do some research on this play and have a hard time coming up with material. How do you spell the darn thing, anyway? Is it Love's Labors Lost? Love's Labour's Lost? Are there two apostrophes? One? None? You might not be the best speller, but this time, the confusion is not your fault. We don't know exactly what Shakespeare intended. Different editions have printed it different ways ever since he penned the play. The title could mean the labor of love is lost, or the lost labors of love. Either way, the title gives us a couple of hints of what we're about to see. For the smitten characters, love means work, mostly of the literary kind: hours spent working out flattering images and melodious rhymes. And as for that "lost" – well, the play doesn't end with wedding bells.

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