Study Guide

Love's Labour's Lost Education

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They don't need no education, they don't need no mind control. No dark sarcasm in the classroom.

But they think they needs tons of book-learnin'... and nothing but book-learnin'.

In Love's Labour's Lost, the main characters are young people figuring out how to live. There are no elders there to guide them, so they are self-educating. The men are extreme, taking vows to abstain from women, food, and sleep, the better to focus on their studies. In their world, education is social currency. When they're infected by love, however, their horizons broaden. Their senses sharpen. Their poems improve. The play's great argument is that education is bigger than books alone.

Questions About Education

  1. If the Princess and her ladies in waiting had not arrived in Navarre, do you think that the King's plan to study and swear off women for three years would have worked?
  2. Is Shakespeare arguing that books are the enemy of love?
  3. By the end of the play, what have the men learned?

Chew on This

In Love's Labour's Lost, Shakespeare depicts several different kinds of learning with equal passion, advocating balance in society.

Love's Labour's Lost is paradoxical because, while it argues that life experience is the best teacher, its extravagant wordplay could only be understood by the educated.

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