Tag Archives: Maria

Love’s Labour’s Lost

The ladies have their bows and their game-faces on.

The ladies have their bows and their game-faces on.

by William Shakespeare

After reading Romeo & Juliet, Macbeth, Hamlet, and Twelfth Night in English class, I can say that I truly enjoy Shakespeare.  I always loved attending the Nebraska Shakespeare Festival, a masterful production of two Shakespeare plays every summer, but until reading enough Shakespeare to get used to the prose did the words jump off the page and into imagination.  I could understand the lines in a faster manner and consequently get in to the story and experience  plot flow.  When understanding happened, I could also appreciate the word play more fully. Of which no play has more than Love’s Labour’s Lost.

“Love’s Labour’s is often thought of as Shakespeare’s most flamboyantly intellectual play. It abounds in sophisticated wordplay, puns, and literary allusions and is filled with clever pastiches of contemporary poetic forms. It is often assumed that it was written for performance at the Inns of Court, whose students would have been most likely to appreciate its style. This style is the principal reason why it has never been among Shakespeare’s most popular plays; the pedantic humour makes it extremely inaccessible to contemporary theatregoers.”

When reading one can revel in the lyrical quality of this play.  Sometimes the individual characters start talking and I forget what their prose means in context; that the things they’re saying are actually quite silly in the real world, and that the characters are delusional fools.

I did a research paper on this play and proposed that Love’s Labour’s Lost is a parody on courtly love.  Next on my Shakespeare list is definitely Taming of the Shrew, which I hear is quite good.

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Twelfth Night, Act I

Already in AP English we have read Macbeth and Hamlet, now we’re reading our final Shakespeare play, Twelfth Night.  This one seems easier to understand, maybe because it’s a comedy, or maybe it’s because of the old adage, “The more Shakespeare you read the easier it gets.”

The test is tomorrow, so to review I will type up the summaries provided by our “Folger Library” books before each scene.

Act I, Scene i
At his court, Orsino, sick with love for the Lady Olivia, learns from his messenger that she is grieving for her dead brother and refuses to be seen for seven years.

Act I, Scene ii
On the Adriatic seacoast, Viola, who has been saved from a shipwreck in which her brother may have drowned, hears about Orsino and Olivia.  She wishes to join Olivia’s household, but is told that Olivia will admit no one into her presence.  Viola decides to disguise herself as a boy so that she can join Orsino’s male retinue.

Act I, Scene iii
At the estate of Lady Olivia, Sir Toby Belch, Olivia’s kinsman, has brought in Sir Andrew Aguecheek to be her suitor.  Maria, Olivia’s lady-in-waiting, says that Andrew is a fool, and Andrew himself doubts his ability to win Olivia, but Toby encourages him to woo her.

Act I, Scene iv
At Orsino’s court, Viola, disguised as a page and calling herself Cesario, has gained the trust of  Orsino, who decides to send her to woo Olivia for him.  Viola confides to the audience that she loves Orsino herself.

Act I, Scene v
Viola, in her disguise as Cesario, appears at Olivia’s estate.  Olivia allows Cesario to speak with her privately about Orsino’s love.  As Cesario presents Orsino’s love-suit, Olivia falls in love with Cesario.  She sends her steward, Malvolio, after Cesario with a ring.

Once again, these summaries are courtesy of Folger Libraries.