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MonkeyNotes-Love's Labour's Lost by William Shakespeare
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Notes

In Shakespearean drama, men dominate the tragedies. Consider the strength of the tragic heroes, Othello, Macbeth and Hamlet, compared to their female companions. In the comedies, however, it is often the women who shine through as the wisest and strongest characters. Though Love's Labour's Lost is not among Shakespeare's more mature comedies, both the Princess and Rosaline take charge almost immediately, and their verbal dexterity leaves both the King and Biron helpless. In their ambition and arrogance, the men prove themselves rather foolish. By this scene in the play, it seems that the women are destined to teach the men a lesson.


The opening of the scene suggests that the princess and her ladies have foreknowledge of the special quirks of the four men with whom they will be paired and have already begun to plan their attack on the men's resolve. Furthermore, the scene shows the growing and evident attraction of the King and his three lords to the Princess and her three attendants. The Princess immediately senses that the King has put himself and his lords into a precarious situation and tells him that "tis deadly sin to keep that oath, my lord,/ And sin to break it." The scene, therefore, serves two purposes; it establishes the strengths of the women and foreshadows the outcome of the plot.

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