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MonkeyNotes-Love's Labour's Lost by William Shakespeare
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Act IV, Scene 3

Biron enters, reading another poem he has written for Rosaline; in it, he attempts to justify his feelings despite his vow to the King. When the King approaches, Biron moves out of sight but in hearing distance. The hidden lord listens with amazement as the King reads from his own poem of love to the princess. The comedy continues when Longaville enters and the King hides. Longaville then verbally expresses his love. He, in turn, hides as Dumain enters and makes a similar declaration of love. When Dumain has finished his recital of love, Longaville steps out of hiding to accuse him of disloyalty and deceit. In turn, the King steps out to accuse Longaville. Biron is the last to come out, chastising all of them, but especially the King, for their deceitful failures to abide by their vows.


Impervious to their shame, Biron continues to sermonize, as if he were the only innocent amongst them. Ironically, in the midst of his speech, Jaquenetta and Costard enter with Biron's misdelivered letter. Upon entering, they immediately tell the King that Biron has forsaken his vows. Biron grabs the letter, insisting it is not important, and tears it up; but Dumain recognizes the writing as Biron's. Realizing that he will soon be exposed, Biron finally confesses his feeling of love for Rosaline.

The four men decide to forsake their unnatural vows and give in to their passionate feelings. They argue amongst themselves about which of them has found the best woman. The King brings a halt to the jesting conversation by asking Biron, the rhetorician, to come up with some rationalization that will allow them to feel they have neither failed their endeavor nor broken their vows. Biron provides a seventy-line "salve for perjury." Satisfied with the explanation, the four noblemen enter into a brotherhood to be Cupid's "soldiers". They decide to win the hearts of their respective ladies through "revels, dances, masques and merry hours".

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