Shakespeare Mocking Intelligence?

Author: Kaitlin Flynn

The editors of all the different versions of Love’s Labor’s Lost include instances of Latin throughout the play. One example of this is shown when the character of Pedant/Holofernes says the phrase “Satis quid sufficit”, which means “that is enough which suffices” (SW). During this scene, I believe the editors are trying to show how Pedant is frustrated with the behavior that he witnessed at dinner by having him basically say that “enough is enough” because he does not have any patience left. It is an interesting choice to introduce a new set of characters into a scene in another language. This change of pace really grabs the readers attention and causes them to take a step back and think about what is really going on at this point, especially when they have to translate the text to understand what is happening.

I believe Shakespeare chose to have this character speak in Latin because it shows his level of intelligence. Pedant is known as a school teacher/educator, and it is shown throughout the play how some of the other characters hold him in very high regard, mainly the character of Curate, the person who he converses with in Latin. The combination of his use of other languages and an extensive vocabulary of English shows the reader that his place in the play is to prove to everyone how smart he truly is.

Shakespeare seems to be making fun of Pedant’s own personal need for validation and Curate’s constant idolization of him. It is interesting for a playwright such as Shakespeare to be mocking someone who is trying to show off their intelligence level, when it is likely that many looked up to him in a very similar way. It is very possible that Shakespeare wanted to provide an insight for others into how he feels about being highly idolized for his works.