Study Guide

Love's Labour's Lost Man and the Natural World

By William Shakespeare

Man and the Natural World

Nature is all around Love's Labour's Lost: in the setting, stage directions, and imagery. It's also portrayed as the reason that all these supposedly chaste guys want to get their lovin' on... and the reason that these women roll their eyes at the idea of a three year girl-free stint.

The action takes place in the open air. Exposure to the elements, which are gentle enough for the women to camp outside, influences the characters' behavior and pervades their speech. They start comparing themselves and others to plants, animals, and celestial bodies—a virtual almanac. They climb trees and hide in bushes. Being in nature gives the characters permission give in to their instincts to love.

Questions About Man and the Natural World

  1. If you made a continuum of man's relationship to nature in Love's Labour's Lost, where would each character fit on the spectrum?
  2. Which characters use nature imagery most frequently, and why?
  3. How does the natural setting impact the characters' actions?

Chew on This

Love's Labour's Lost argues that love is the only thing that can unify man's intellect and his instinct.

In Love's Labour's Lost, the principal characters journey from civilization, through wilderness, to a transformed society.

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