Love's Labour's Lost: Study Questions


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Study Questions

  1. In his important essay, "The Argument of Comedy," Northrop Frye suggests that tragedy is, in effect, incomplete comedy; do you find his view of comedy helpful as you think about the apparently uncomic ending of Love's Labour's Lost?

  2. In my discussion of the rather similar play studied in English 425, A Midsummer Night's Dream, I suggested that the question of the proper relationship betwen the sexes was left largely unresolved; Oberon and Theseus were dominant, but sympathy seemed to be more on the side of Titania and Hippolyta. How is this issue addressed in Love's Labour's Lost?

  3. What is Shakespeare's attitude to courtly love, as expressed through the Sonnets and Love's Labour's Lost? Do you find any traces of the misogynistic tradition? You may want to discuss this question with your tutor.
The lords dejected
The lords leave to undertake their tasks for the following year.

Further Reading

  1. Barber, C. L. Shakespeare's Festive Comedy. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1959.

  2. Berry, E. I. Shakespeare’s Comic Rites. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984.

  3. Elam, K. Shakespeare's Universe of Discourse: Language Games in the Comedies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984.

  4. Frye, N. The Argument of Comedy. English Institute Essays. D. A. Robertson. New York: Columbia University Press, 1948. Reprinted in the Signet pocket edition of Love's Labour's Lost (pp. 162-173).

  5. Hoy, C. "Love's Labour's Lost and the Nature of Comedy." Shakespeare Quarterly 1962 13: 31-40.

  6. Mahood, M. M. Shakespeare's Word Play. London: Methuen, 1957.

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This page last updated April 20, 1997. Enquiries to Michael Best, mbest1@uvic.ca.
© Michael Best, The University of Victoria, and the Open University of B.C.