Love's Labour's Lost

by: William Shakespeare

Act IV, Scene iii

Each of the lords, in turn, tries to hide his own love and to scold his companions for breaking the oath. This might seem somewhat surprising, however, given how eager they are to have company in their misery. The King rejoices when he sees Longaville, celebrating "sweet fellowship in shame!" (IV.iii.47), and Berowne notes that "[o]ne drunkard loves another of the name" (IV.iii.48). Dumaine later wishes that the King, Berowne, and Longaville were lovers too, "[f]or none offend where all alike do dote" (IV.iii.124).

Berowne's argument for accommodating love into the scholarship oath is the best example in Love's Labour's Lost of taking wit, rhetoric, and reasoning to ridiculous extremes. Shakespeare shows how reasoning and rhetoric can justify almost any desired conclusion. The King and his lords reveal the shallowness of wordplay and the dubiousness of scholarship”and the intellectual life.


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