Study Guide

Armado in Love's Labour's Lost

By William Shakespeare


Armado is like one of the courtiers (the King, Berowne, Dumain, and Longaville) seen in a funhouse mirror. Like them, he's full of himself, bragging to Holofernes that he and the King are close. Like them, he aspires to be the equal of the heroes of history. Like them, he values language, striving at all times to be articulate—though, for Armado, this means repetition, rhetorical questions and made-up words.

And like them, of course, he's in love. Shakespeare's parody is good-natured, however, and he seems to like Armado (and perhaps even to have played him). He gives him the surprisingly clear-sighted last lines of the play:

"The words of Mercury are harsh after the
songs of Apollo. You that way; we this way."