Shakespeare's Love’s Labour Lost

Perhaps this is a single college student concern, but I found I ask the question that King Navarre would ask in a modern context: should I focus my time on academics and professional development or should I focus on a social life and dating? Often it seems that the answer doesn’t come when conscious decision making is involved.

In this Shakespearean comedy, King Navarre and his three lords decide they are going to dedicate three years to studying, and during that time they will fast and avoid women. It seems that when it comes to dating and courtship, it can’t be determined when it will happen. King Navarre and his court discovered this when the Princess of France and her ladies came to visit. After breaking their oaths, most of the kings’ court discovered that the others had broken their vow to study and instead spent their time writing declarations of love to the women. "These are barren tasks, too hard to keep, Not to see ladies, study, fast, not sleep! (1.1.48)

I can only imagine what this would do to a class grade.

Unlike other Shakespeare comedies, the characters don't end up together in the end. Instead, the women head home and claim they will return in a year.

Love's Labour Lost stands as an example of the frustration of pursuing love over other endeavors and not reaping the rewards from the pursuit. If nothing else, perhaps King Navarre and his royal court have grown more wiser from their affair with the French royal court. Hopefully their academics can be salvaged and they will keep the affections of their lovers.

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