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Love's Labour Lost Analysis

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The influence of Queen Elizabeth’s reign and court politics shows in the literature of her time, much beyond Marlowe’s distaste for her courtship practices. The Renaissance archetype of the cunning, learned, and often dangerous female character is often modelled after, or at the very least inspired by the monarch herself. In Love’s Labour’s Lost, Shakespeare even presents another female monarch, one strikingly similar to Elizabeth in the way she takes control of her own courtship. Breitenberg argues that The Princess’ position, while empowered, is still that of an idealised Petrarchan mistress, an idealized, virginal figure who simultaneously confers and disturbs masculine identity’. The difference, however, is in the way she possessed and utilizes this image. With a clear awareness of male desire and sexual politics, the Princess and her companions plot and play with their admirers, turning every situation to their own advantage. While still subject to a patriarchal structure that pushes them to take part in courtship and eventually get married, the women of Love’s Labour’s…show more content…
The men in the play, however, do end up presenting women not as authors of literary works, but as sources of knowledge themselves; thus Berowne affirms: ‘From women's eyes this doctrine I derive: / They are the ground, the books, the academes, / From whence doth spring the true Promethean fire’ (III.iii.299-301). In Birenbaum’s words, women then appear as ‘both goal and guide’, giving meaning to the men’s life beyond that of learning from books and leading them to a truer wisdom. In the span of four acts, the women go from being seen as obstacles to learning, to the origin of all truth and knowledge, the ‘ultimate reality before whom all books are
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