Study Guide

Love's Labour's Lost Tough-o-Meter

By William Shakespeare

Tough-o-Meter

(8) Snow-Line

Like a lot of Shakespeare, Love's Labour's Lost is much harder to read than it is to see on stage. Why? In a word: wordplay.

Battles of wits are huge in this play, and you often just won't get the joke unless you read a footnote or watch an actor work it out. The vocabulary would have been way out there even for an audience in Shakespeare's time; he made up new words and used existing words in unusual ways. So don't worry if it takes a little time to get through it, and if you're getting bogged down, skip ahead to plot points. You can always go back.

See "Writing Style" for more about why Shakespeare used so much wordplay. (He wasn't just showing off.)