The Latin word “cogitare” means to think. Many different languages have been derived from Latin. In English we have plenty of words that use the stem cog which is from “cogitare”. Words like recognize and cognition. Both of these words have something to do with thinking, recognize means to know again, and cognition is the mental process of gaining knowledge. Shakespeare uses this stem, cog, as a word in Love’s Labour’s Lost. The princess says “Since you can cog, I’ll play no more with you” to Berowne. She is saying that since he can think for himself she won’t deal with anymore.
A Feminist Reading of ShakespeareAuthor: Eve Ganun
William Shakespeare often pushed the conservative boundaries of his time, specifically with his strong female characters. In Love’s Labor’s Lost, Shakespeare’s presentation of the princess disproves the stereotypical views of women during the 16th century. During this time, women were seen as strictly submissive to the men in their lives: their fathers or husbands. It was also extremely rare for daughters to inherit any of the wealth or land, let alone the title of their fathers. This lack of inheritance, coupled with the inability of the women to have successful or profitable careers convinced most women to strive for a wealthy husband; however, the princess declines not one, but two proposals from the king of Navarre. It is in this scene that the princess rejects the king for the second time, saying “A time, methinks, too short To make a world-without-end bargain in” (2238-2239).
Whereas the men of this time were expected to be the superior sex, including in the aspects of toughness and intelligence, it is the princess in this play that emerges as the dominant party. She is viewed as more mentally tough because of her resistance to the wooing of the king, while the king is viewed as weaker as he swoons over the princess and tries to win her favor. His obsession with romance is something that was viewed to be feminine, while the stoicism of the princess is more classically masculine.
Furthermore, the princess is also celebrated for her logic and intelligence. As the king falls head over feet to win the love and affection of the princess, she views the situation with a clear head, arguing that they have not known each other for long enough to marry. The princess, in these lines, displays marriage as the serious endeavor that it is, a commitment that is “world-without-end,” meaning everlasting. She also describes a marriage as a bargain. The use of the noun, “bargain,” signifies a mutual understanding and agreement (OED), and it is utilized to portray the sincerity and gravity with which the princess treats marriage, as opposed to the king who goes about winning over the princess with displays of wealth and trickery.
Maskers/MasquersAuthor: Rachel Poljevka
A masker refers to a person who is wearing a mask. This could be the case for someone who wears a mask to a party and/or social event. Wearing a mask could also be to hide one’s true identity. The goal of masking in general is to hide or alter one’s true appearance in order to present him/herself as someone or something other than him/herself.
A masquer is “a person who takes part in a masquerade or masque,” (OED). A masquerade is defined as “a riotous or extravagant assembly,” (OED). A masque is “a form of courtly dramatic entertainment, often richly symbolic, in which music and dancing played a substantial part, costumes and stage machinery tended to be elaborate, and the audience might be invited to contribute to the action or the dancing,” (OED). Someone could wear a mask to a masquerade or masque, but a masquer is not defined by wearing a mask. As you can see, a masquerade or masque is also different than just a regular party and there is more extravagance and meaning behind it.
Is a sport an athlete or an entertainer?Author: Anne Dwyer
As Villanova college students, we associate the word “sport” with our phenomenal basketball team, or the other athletic activities on campus. If we are not considering it as an activity, we use the word to describe a small child. Grandparents will casually address their athletic grandchild by saying “ hello sport”. Today, most people tend to associate the word with athletics and only athletics. Love Labour’s Lost was written in the fifteen-hundreds so therefore the word “sport” had a completely different meaning.
Back then, “sport” was defined as a matter or incident providing entertainment, diversion, or amusement; a joke, a jest (OED). In other words, it was used to describe someone who provided amusement for other
people. Today, we call athletic activities sports; and, many people would say athletic activities provide others with entertainment. Therefore, the usage of “sport” from long ago and the usage of it today are closely related, but not the same. In modern time, people do not call others “sport” because they are amusing. They call them “sport” because they are a young athletic individual.
In Love Labour’s Lost, they refer to Costard as their “sport”. Throughout the entire play, Costard is known for his wittiness. He has the ability to please others whether they are a King or a peasant. The word “sport” is a fitting description for him and his ability to amuse the King and his men.
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.
The Humor of AffectionAuthor: Kaitlyn Cohen
When analyzing Shakespeare’s meaning behind the term “the humor of affection,” it is important to first examine the term’s context as well as its use within varying translation of the sixteenth century play Love’s Labour’s Lost. Today, the words “humor” and “affection” are not commonly seen together, given that affection is a deep, and consequential feeling whereas humor describes something that light-hearted and funny. In the context of the Verse translation, Braggart is saying he is willing to draw his sword against the “humor of affection,” implying this phrase as something bad that Braggart must defend himself against. Additionally, Braggart describes the “humor of affection” as “reprobate,” further implying that it is something evil, immoral, and furthermore unwelcome.
In a differing translation, this phrase takes on a slightly different meaning given that “humor” is replaced with the British spelling, “humour.” Given that Shakespeare was writing this play in sixteenth century England, it is fair to believe that this more traditional spelling is what Shakespeare actually wrote in the original version of the play. However, this different spelling also takes on a different definition of, “mood, disposition, frame of mind, temperament [as determined by bodily fluids]” (SW). This definition turns the contemporarily jovial and carefree term into something more permanent, methodical, and scientific. Taking this into account, the line as a whole takes on a different meaning, implying that this affection is something that is unavoidable for Braggart, and is furthermore dangerous, given his need to defend himself against, and even fight this feeling.
Hobby-horse represents Braggarts love as a childish feelingAuthor: Ryan Kirby
- The Hobby-Horse is forgot.
As Braggart and Page discuss Braggarts interest of Jaqueneta, Page gives insight on what he believes Braggart is feeling. He recalls that Braggarts’ love is such of a Hobby-horse. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a hobby-horse is, “A stick with a horse’s head which children bestride as a toy horse”. It is clear that Page expresses the idea that Braggart’s love is not true love, but a type of lust. A feeling that may represent a childish desire just as the hobby-horse is known to be a type of child’s toy. This can clearly be reflected in any individual’s life whether that is in the fifteenth century or in the modern day. It can be hard to determine where feelings come from or what they mean. Taking time to reflect on your own thought can bring a person a sense of clarity that allows them to truly understand what they are experiencing. Furthermore, it is interesting to see the comparison between how the VERSE version of Love Labors Lost and the Boswell-Malone variorum, 1821 edition use grammar to portray a different significance to where they include the phrase “hobby-horse” in the texts. As for the VERSE version, the statement is placed in the middle of a sentence but begins with a capital letter. This may mean that it is intentional that the readers see that Page is directly addressing Braggarts love as a hobby-horse. The capital letter insinuates that the hobby-horse is important and is a proper noun, placing a different significance on it than the Boswell-Marlon variorum, 1821 version. In this version, the phrase begins with a lower-case letter. Although this change is minute, it still takes away some importance of what Page (Moth), is stating. It becomes less of a direct comparison to Braggarts love and can become less perplexing to the reader as it does not assert the same bold statement at the VERSE version does.
The Philosophy of ShakespeareAuthor: Clare Scott
Shakespeare is undoubtedly one of the most memorable writers whose legacy and talents span way beyond his years. However, many themes Shakespeare explored in his time as a poet can leave many questioning, was he just merely an author? The theme of feminism pushed the envelope to make one believe Shakespeare was a philosopher in his own right. In his comedic play, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Shakespeare presents the women of the play to be smarter, whittier, and more stable than the men, which is a radical take on feminism, a movement that did not even exist in his time. This progressive theme is far beyond Shakespeare’s time, yet he was able to remove himself from the
constraints of society to see that other realities exist. This ability to see life in a greater form of reality can lead any reader to believe that Shakespeare is indeed a philosopher.
The first indication within, Love’s Labour’s Lost, of Shakespeare’s radical presentation of women is when The Princess of France first arrives in the play. She is met with offense as Boyet tries to explain she is here for matters too great for a woman, and will not be allowed into the court of Navarre under the King’s orders. This response from a male part sets up the play to be of a stereotypical fashion. However, the Princess’ response rattles this cliche. She responds with wit that undermines Boyet’s statement. The Princess states, “Good Lord Boyet, my beauty… needs not the painted flourish of your praise: Beauty is bought by the judgement of the eye… I am less proud to hear you tell my worth, than you much willing to be counted wise, in spending your wit in the praise of mine”(Act 3, 373-379). In saying this, the Princess is proving her ability to see past Boyet’s words and understand he is objectifying her as less of a person because she is a women. Her response identifies that she is a women, however, this feature does not speak to her worth, knowledge, or wit, therefore, arguing her inability to gain entrance to the court. This response was surprising, as a woman of the time would be expected to follow the man’s orders with no question. Shakespeare purposefully makes the Princess’ first lines full of candor and wit to set the scene for the rest of the play. For instance later in the play, when the Princess and her party go hunting in the woods, the Princess and the forester get into a humorous debate over the word fair. When the forester states, “A stand where you may make the fairest shoot”, meaning an accurate shot, the Princess replies, “I thank my beauty, I am fair that shoot”. By this, the princess is joking over the term fair to create banter with the forester. The forester responds with denial as he tries to explain he did not mean fair in terms of beauty. The Princess takes the joke further by saying he is playing with her emotions in saying she is beautiful then taking it back. The forester seems nervous to say anything wrong after this and it proves his inability to see that a woman can tell a joke. In having the Princess joke with the forester, Shakespeare is expressing a woman to have a greater sense of humor and more intelligence than her male counterpart. Once again, this presentation of a the Princess is far beyond the mold of women of the era, further proving Shakespeare’s philosophical ability to view society through a lense free of constraint.
The nature of the women, in particular the Princess of France, In Love’s Labour’s Lost is knowledgeable, sagacious, and confident. These characteristics are untimely for the women of this era, as the expectation is for them to be uneducated, submissive, and treated as objects. Whenever the men would test there character, witty remarks and persuasive comments were made for the women surpass their alleged role of the time. Seeing as the women were able to dominate discussions and situations throughout the play, they are not even viewed as equals to their male counterparts, but the can be viewed as greater than them. Shakespeare did not create this unknowingly. Making the women thrive in this play was intentional and speaks to Shakespeare’s mental capacity to think beyond what he was living through. The stereotypical women during his time period was deeply ingrained in society. Shakespeare saw beyond this societal construction and came to his own conclusion that women can be more powerful than men in his play. His ability to transcend the reality of his material society and see women as equal in every right to men proves that his thoughts were those of a philosopher.
Love as an EqualizerAuthor: Madeline Van Brunt
Love as an Equalizer
William Shakespeare play, Love’s Labor’s Lost, presents the idea that love can be an equalizing force between men and women at the time. The men in the play are highly regarded as they leave the world to study in solitude. However, they discover that love trumps the intelligence they would receive from three years of studying. If men are originally presented as superior in society, they fall weak to the sickness of love, and the women gain power because they are the object of the men’s weakness through their ordered love as opposed to the men’s disordered love.
The men’s dedication to their studies presents them as intelligent and superior to others in their society. They are told to “barren tasks, too hard to keep, not to see ladies, study, fast, not sleep” (LLL I.i.4-47). Once the women arrive, the men quickly start to fall in love with them. After the scene in which they all find out that one another are falling in love, they decide to rethink the contract. Their priority of gaining intelligence quickly banishing to the power of love. Shakespeare describes love as a sickness, in which the men fall and are unable to heal without time. The powerful men fall powerless to love. It is also ironic how the intelligent men love the women disorderly. They literally leave behind their ration, to study, to love irrationally.
The women however, have the upper hand. In the beginning of the play, they are not treated highly and are left to sleep in tents. The women are illustrated as inferior these men. However, once the men love them, the women gain control. The men hope to show their control and dress up as Russian men to impress the women. However, the women hear about it from Boyet, and decide to deceive the men by disguising themselves as one another. The plan falls for the men, and the King says “We are descried. They’ll mock us now downright” (LLL V.1850). Throughout the conversations, the women are wittier than the men. The King speaks to Rosaline, who he thinks is the princess, saying “Why take we hands then?” and she responds, “Only to part friends. Curtsy, sweet hearts. And so the measure ends” (LLL IV. 1662 – 1664). The women have a control over the men, and the women are empowered. Shakespeare wrote this play with underlying feminist values to show that amidst love, the women are the ones that love rationally. This depicts that women are not actually inferior to men, and uses love to demonstrate this idea.
In the end, the women must leave after hearing the princess’ father has died. The men express their love for the women and ask for their hands in marriage, yet the women deny. Each woman gives their man an order. Rosaline tells Berowne “A twelvemonth shall you spend, and never rest, But seek the weary beds of people sick” (LLL V. 2259). Most women have similar requests for their man to do good for a year until they will see them. Katharine says to the king “Not so, my lord. A twelvemonth and a day I‘ll mark no words that smooth-faced wooers say: Come when the king doth to my lady come; Then, if I have much love, I’ll give you some” (LLL V.2265). Katharine says this to the King implying that she is unsure that his love is real and she will not reciprocate the love until it is certainly real love. This leads to the unanswered question, is their love real? Shakespeare ends the play without the question being answered, but the men continuing their studies (the same as the play began). This not only empower the women by leaving as independent women, but also leaves the men having to wait a year loving these women. The men’s love was quick and overbearing. So, if love is truly a sickness, then only time can heal one’s illness. Therefore, the play ends with the women in full knowledge that the men’s love is unordered and spontaneous. They fear that their love stems from the wrong reasons. In order for it to be true love, it must also contain ration. The play ends in the women being enlightened with the equation to find true love: spontaneous love plus time.
In conclusion, Shakespeare’s play contains a strong message about love. He portrays it through the men’s disordered love and the women’s ordered love. This plot allowed for the women to gain in society because they were the objects of the men’s affection, yet the men lose because they forgo their scholar status because of love. They become subjects of the powerful love and lose their ration. However, the women are more intelligent because they know the true meaning of love. The women have ordered love and understand that true love can only be obtained once ration is in combination with love. Since the men are “love sick” then time is the only healer, and the play ends with them having to wait a year. Love acts as an equalizer in the social statuses of the society and between men and women.
“William Shakespeare.” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 5 Aug. 2017, www.biography.com/people/william-shakespeare-9480323.
The Effects of an Existential PlayAuthor: Ryan Swope
Upon beginning Love’s Labour’s Lost readers and viewers alike are tossed immediately into the narrative of the play, without any context or prologue. In doing so, Shakespeare distances his audience from the characters and narrative. Contrast this with his famous Romeo and Juliet, in which a narrator provides the setting and the audience is immediately and completely submerged into the story. Shakespeare intentionally distances his playgoers to create what Brecht would later refer to as the Verfremdungseffekt – or alienation effect – to force his audience to dedicate thought to the play. This, in turn, allows Shakespeare to comment about current issues without having to explicitly voice his distaste.
Quite famously, Shakespeare starts Romeo and Juliet with a prologue, “Two households, both alike in dignity, in fair Verona where we lay our scene…”. He gives us all the context necessary to understand why this story is starting, but simultaneously ‘births’ his characters. Until the start of the play and after the end, Romeo and Juliet and their cohorts do not exist; they exist between the pages of his play, and nowhere else. This puts Shakespeare’s audience in the play. We are meant to understand the circumstances of the play, and by doing so can fully relate to one or more of the characters. And, when the patrons leave, no one is left wondering what one character’s motives were or where they ended up in life. All storylines have concluded. In short, Romeo and Juliet is nothing more than a good story. It follows an archetypal narrative, the one of star-crossed lovers engaged in a forbidden courtship, and their attempts to overcome the powers that be. The characters themselves are archetypes; Romeo and Juliet the lovers, the snobby parents of both the Capulet and Montague household, the loyal friends, the wise nanny, and many more. This means that by definition Romeo and Juliet cannot be a commentary on anything; it uses typical characters to tell a typical story. Shakespeare’s version is particularly beautiful and heartbreaking, but it is ultimately not a new story.
Love’s Labor’s Lost, on the other hand, throws archetypes out the window. The men are idiots, the nobility are uneducated, the knights are downtrodden, and the lowest members of society, Costard the clown and the Steward, are the wittiest. Given only this information, one may say that it is simply Shakespeare reversing role conventions of the characters based on their societal status. However, Shakespeare’s real intention becomes clear when you consider complete lack of context or narration – the alienation effect – in his play. We have no clue what most of the characters are really thinking. Unlike Romeo and Juliet, these characters do not bother with exposition; instead, readers are left to interpret their true feelings and motives on their own. Additionally, the characters clearly exist before and after the play. We are thrown into the first scene with four of our main characters already having already interacted to a great extent. And the play ends without ever revealing how the characters end up “forever after.” Instead, we are alienated and made aware that we are seeing or reading a play, and we are forced to discern aspects on our own. This leads us, inevitably, to the conclusion that Shakespeare wanted to force us to think about his play on a deeper level.