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Coup de Théâtre
Love's Labour's Won
Figures of Speech
Study Questions and Essay
Study Guide Prepared by Michael J. Cummings...© 2003,
2008, 2011, 2016
Type of Play and
Love's Labour's Lost is
a stage play in the form of a romance comedy.
Like other plays that Shakespeare wrote early
in his career, it tends to focus more on
wordplay and wit than on character
Shakespeare probably completed
the play in 1594, just before his thirtieth
birthday. However, it could have been written
a few years later. The play was published in a
edition. But this edition states on the title
page that the play was "newly corrected and
augmented by W. Shakespere," indicating that
it had been published first in an earlier
edition. The play was published again in 1623
as part of the First
Folio, the first authorized collection
of Shakespeare's plays. The 1623 version was
based on the 1598 quarto edition.
The 1598 quarto edition of the
play refers to it as A Pleasant Conceited
Comedie Called Love's Labour's Lost. The
table of contents of the 1623 edition refers
to the play as Love's Labour Lost.
Today, it is known as Love's Labour's Lost.
"Labour's" is a contraction of "Labour Is."
Evidence indicates that Love's
Labour's Lost was probably first
performed in December 1597 at the court of
Queen Elizabeth I, although G.B. Harrison
notes that the New Cambridge Shakespeare
says: "In our opinion its first performance
had Christmas 1593 for date and for place some
great private house, possibly the Earl of
Southampton's" (Shakespeare: The Complete
Works. New York: Harcourt, 1952. page
395). If the play was
performed before the queen in 1597, an
intriguing question for scholars might center
on how the queen responded to the performance.
When she viewed it, she would have been
sixty-four and, of course, still a spinster.
She had had many opportunities to marry—for love or for political
seized upon none of them. She died in 1603,
still unmarried. All of love's labours
showered on her—and
all of love's labours she showered on others—were lost.
Shakespeare may have based his
plot on ideas in L'Académie Françoise
[Française] (1577), by Pierre de la
Primaudaye, about a society of scholars. He
may also have drawn upon Endimion (also
spelled with a y after the d),
by John Lyly (1554-1606).
The action takes place in
Navarre (Spanish, Navarra), originally
a region in northern Spain and southern France
(département of Basses-Pyrénées). At one time,
Navarre was a kingdom. In 1515, Spain annexed
most of Navarre; in 1589, France annexed the
rest of the kingdom. The capital of
present-day Navarre is Pamplona, on the Arga
River, founded by the ancient Roman general
Pompey the Great. The area was later occupied
by Visigoths and Moors. Pamplona is famous for
the Festival of St. Fermin (July 6-14), in
which a chief attraction is encierro—the running of bulls each
morning through the streets of the city.
King Ferdinand, the Princess of France. (They
dictate and control the destinies of the other
The immaturity of the men, the wise reluctance
of the women to believe in love at first sight
King of Navarre, who woos the princess of
of France: Beautiful woman who captures
the heart of the King of Navarre but tells him
at the end of the play that he must spend a year
in a hermitage before she will marry him.
(Biron): Lord at Ferdinand's court.
Berowne loves Rosaline.
Lady attending the Princess of France.
Lord at Ferdinand's court. Longaville loves
Lady attending the Princess of France.
Lord at Ferdinand's court. Dumain loves
Lady attending the Princess of France.
Adriano de Armado: Pretentious and
long-winded knight who loves Jaquenetta with a
passion. He appears to symbolize King Philip II
of Spain and the Spanish Armada (hence the name
de Armado). See Theme
Comely country wench loved by Don Adriano.
Lord attending the princess of France.
Nathaniel: Curate (or parson).
Page to Armado.
French lord who brings sad news to the Princess
Man who accompanies the Princess of France on a
By Michael J. Cummings...© 2003
King Ferdinand of Navarre and
three of his lords—Dumain,
Longaville, and Berowne (also called Biron in
some editions of Shakespeare’s plays)—decide to abandon the pleasures
of the world for three years to pursue knowledge
and keep company only with books in order to
gain everlasting fame as scholars. The king
says, “Our court shall be a little Academe /
Still and contemplative in living art”
(1.2.14-15). Ferdinand has drawn up a contract
outlining the conditions under which they are to
live. Longaville is the first to sign it,
shall banquet, though the body pine:
Dumain then signs the contract,
declaring “To love, to wealth, to pomp, I pine
and die” (1.1.33). Berowne, however, balks at
the strictness of the contract. First, it
forbids all discourse with women. Next, it
requires the four men to fast one day a week and
eat but one meal on the other days. Finally, it
dictates that they may sleep no more than three
hours a night. But after the king tells Berowne
their study time will yield hidden pearls of
knowledge, Berowne, too, signs the
Fat paunches have lean pates, and
Make rich the ribs, but bankrupt
quite the wits. (1.1.27-29)
of its conditions—the
prohibition of women—applies to every man in the
service of the king, not just to the king and
his three fellow scholars. The only diversion
they will have from their studies will be
provided by the king’s clown, Costard, and a
Spanish knight, Don Adriano de Armado. The king
says Don Adriano knows many entertaining tales
and has a way with words. In truth, though, Don
Adriano is little more than a pompous buffoon
who cannot even out-duel his own page, Moth, in
a battle of wits (1.2.3-69). (Don Adriano
appears to symbolize King Philip of Spain and
his vaunted Armada, which was defeated by the
English in 1588. Through Adriano, Shakespeare
pokes fun at Philip.)
the contract takes effect, Costard violates it
by wooing a comely maid named Jaquenetta. Don
Adriano, who has seen them together on the
grounds of the king’s estate, tattles on Costard
in a letter to the king. Adriano isn’t just
trying to be a good citizen; he’s trying to save
Jaquenetta for himself. He loves her with a
passion that has driven him to poetry. Costard
is taken into custody and sentenced to a diet of
bran and water for one week.
thereafter, the beautiful Princess of France
arrives at Navarre on a diplomatic mission in
which she and the king are to discuss a
whether France owes Navarre money, as the king
contends, or whether France has already paid the
debt, as the princess contends. In her entourage
are three lovely attendants: Rosaline, Maria,
and Katherine. Because the contract among the
men forbids interaction with women, the king
lodges the ladies in a tent in the park of his
palace estate. However, once the king sees the
princess, he immediately falls for her. At the
same time, his three companions also take a
tumble: Berowne for Rosaline, Dumain for
Katherine, and Longaville for Maria. Love now
usurps the throne of Navarre. Scholarly pursuit
has become an ugly hag with a wart on her
Adriano frees Costard and gives him three
farthings to deliver a love letter and a poem to
Jaquenetta. Berowne gets in on the act, giving
Costard a letter and poem for Rosaline. Costard,
who is small of brain, delivers Jaquenetta’s
letter to the princess, telling her it is for
Rosaline; Rosaline’s letter goes to Jaquenetta.
The princess, who is hunting deer with the other
ladies, tells her male attendant, Boyet, to open
the letter. Before he does, he notices it is
addressed to Jaquenetta, not Rosaline. The
princess then tells him to read it anyway. It
praises Jaquenetta with bloated prose and
imagery, as well as Latin phrases, and the
princess mocks the author, Don Adriano. When
Jaquenetta, who is illiterate, receives the
letter to Rosaline, she takes it to Sir
Nathaniel, the local parson, to read it for her.
Sir Nathaniel is in the company of Holofernes, a
know-it-all schoolteacher. When Sir Nathaniel
reads the letter, Holofernes realizes it is not
meant for Jaquenetta and tells her to take it to
the king. After all, such a brazen love poem
violates the first rule of the contract: that no
man should communicate with women.
by this time, the king and his three lords are
all writing and reciting love poetry about their
ladies fair. When the king and the three lords
overhear one another reciting the poetry, they
chide one another in turn for breaking their
vow. However, Berowne concludes that it was
wrong to take the vow, for it was against
nature. Longaville then proposes that they woo
the women, and the king replies that they should
not only woo but also win them.
four men send the ladies gifts and poems that
heap lavish praises upon them. The princess and
her attendants think the attentions they are
receiving are silly and excessive, and they make
sport of the poetry. The princess, highly
intelligent as well as beautiful, observes, “We
are wise girls to mock our lovers so”
interrupts the conversation to report that he
overhead the men planning a mischief: They will
come to the ladies disguised as Russians with a
page who has mastered a Russian accent. The
princess then decides that the ladies should
wear disguises of their own to confuse the men.
Their scheme succeeds, for everybody ends up
with the wrong partner. When the men later
return without their disguises, the women tease
them about the foolish Russians who had been
there earlier, then reveal that they knew of the
men’s masquerade all along.
merriment takes place, including the Pageant of
the Nine Worthies,1 starring Costard, Sir Nathaniel,
Holofernes, Armado, and others. During the
presentation, the nobles heckle the actors:
Costard, portraying Pompey the Great; Nathaniel,
portraying Alexander the Great; Moth, portraying
baby Hercules killing the serpents in his crib;
Holofernes, portraying Judas Maccabeus; and Don
Adriano, portraying the Trojan hero Hector.
Costard ad-libs in one scene, revealing that
Jaquenetta “is quick” (5.2. 680) by Don Adriano—that is,
pregnant. Costard and Armado then begin fighting
as a duel appears imminent, the princess
receives news from France from a messenger,
Mercadé, that her father, the king, has died. A
pall of silence falls over the gathering. The
princess then announces that she and her
entourage must return to France. Before the
ladies quit Ferdinand’s court, the men all make
a last-minute plea for the hands of their loves
and ask them to remain at court. The princess—aware that the men have broken a
vow and concerned that their love might be mere
the king and his friends have been pleasant
company, providing the ladies much merriment.
However, she says that she and the other women
will not entertain proposals until after the men
discipline themselves in worthy pursuits lasting
fully a year.
is to spend the year in a hermitage. Berowne,
who has always been quick to engage in jest and
laugh at others, must make the rounds of
hospitals, there to provoke patients to
laughter. Dumain and Longaville must spend the
year tempering their characters, becoming
thoughtful and mature. Don Adriano de Armado
makes a promise of his own, telling King
Ferdinand , “I have vowed to Jaquenetta to hold
the plough for her sweet love three years”
(5.2.870). Holofernes, Sir Nathaniel, Costard,
and the other actors from the pageant then
present a song about spring and winter. Don
Adriano speaks the last line of the play, “You
that way—we this
central conflicts in the play are (1) the
struggle of Ferdinand, Berowne, Longaville, and
Dumaine to remain faithful (or to appear to
remain faithful) to their vow to give up women
for three years while they pursue an austere
life of learning; (2) the resistance of the
women to commit to a relationship with the men
after the men renounce their vow.
tone is generally lighthearted and carefree.
The climax of a play or another
literary work, such as a short story or a novel,
can be defined as (1) the turning point at which
the conflict begins to resolve itself for better
or worse, or as (2) the final and most exciting
event in a series of events. The climax of Love's
Labour's Lost occurs, according to both
definitions, in Act V, Scene II, when the four
women reject the love suits of the four men. Up
to this moment, the women have regarded the
antics of the king and his comrades as amusing
flirtations and the king's realm as almost a
chimerical world, although the men may have
thought otherwise. Then Mercadé's announcement
that the father of the princess has died jolt's
everyone back to reality. When the princess
decides to leave immediately for France and the
men importune her and the other ladies to
remain, pledging their love, the princess
recites the climactic passage:.
have received your letters full of love;
That she would call their letters
and their favours "bombast" and their wooing
mere "merriment" sobers the men, who have been
acting with the immaturity of college students
on a spring break, and prepares them for the
year-long test they must undergo to prove that
their love is genuine.
Your favours, the ambassadors
And, in our maiden council,
At courtship, pleasant jest
As bombast and as lining to
But more devout2 than this in our respects
Have we not been; and
therefore met your loves
In their own fashion, like a
on the Following Items at Amazon.com
Phones and Accessories
True love must be tested in the
crucible of time. The princess and her
company of ladies find their wooers
entertaining, but they do not commit to a
relationship with them immediately. Wisely, they
realize that true love does not strike like
lightning but instead develops over time, like a
rose growing from seed to full bloom. At the end
of the play, they tell the men that they must
wait and undergo tests to prove that their love
is not mere infatuation. In this respect, these
ladies contrast with other Shakespeare heroines,
such as Rosalind (As You Like It), Juliet
(Romeo and Juliet) and Hero (Much Ado
About Nothing), who all fall in love at
first sight and never doubt their feelings or
the intentions of their lovers.
The spirit is willing but the
flesh is weak. This paraphrase from
the Bible (Matthew 26: 40-41) aptly sums up the
state of mind of the king and his three
compatriots. For a moment, they become idealistic
scholars who renounce the world and its pleasures.
But the princess and her companions bring them
down from the rarefied clime of academe to the
sensual world of perfume and feminine
Love of learning cannot vie
with love of a man for a woman. This theme
is a variation of the second theme. King
Ferdinand and his compatriots decide to isolate
themselves for three years to study great books
and great ideas, vowing that they will keep
no company with women during this period. However,
when beautiful women arrive on a diplomatic
mission, the men immediately forswear their
King Philip II is a pompous bumbler. In
1588, Philip attacked England with his supposedly
invincible Armada but was soundly defeated by a
smaller English force. In the play, Philip and his
Armada—and all of the high hopes for it—become Don
Adriano de Armado (Armada), a pretentious
aristocrat who is thwarted in his verbal forays by
his lowly page, Moth, and in his wooing by the
illiterate Jaquenetta, a country girl.
Startling Turn of Events, or Coup de
announcement that the father of the princess has
died presents the main characters—and the
audience—with a dramatic, unexpected turn of
events. The announcement curtails the jollity of
the little courtship games played by Ferdinand
and his comrades with the princess and her
ladies. It also enables Shakespeare to present
an unconventional ending in which boy does not
get girl. However, Shakespeare leaves room for
hope that the men and their ladies will
startling turn of events in a play, when
successful, is called a coup de théâtre
(KOO duh tay AH truh). This French term is also
used to refer to an exceptional play or
focus mainly on romance generally end with
marriages. Examples are As You Like It, Much
Ado About Nothing, and A Midsummer
Night's Dream. But Love's Labour's
Lost ends with the parting of four
couples; they hope to reunite in a year, but
there is no guarantee that they will become
husbands and wives.
Strong evidence indicates that
Shakespeare wrote a play entitled Love's
Labour's Won, perhaps a sequel to Love's
Labour's Lost. However, no manuscript of
the play, written or printed, has ever been
found. The evidence consists of two published
reports. First was an an entry in a 1598 book—Palladis Tamia, Wits
Francis Meres (1565-1647). The book, which
provides valuable information about
Elizabethan writers and assesses the quality
of their work, lists Shakespeare as the author
of a play called Loves Labours Wonne.
Second was a reference to the play, crediting
Shakespeare as its author, in a verified
booksellers' list published in 1603. There is
little doubt today that the play was indeed a
Shakespeare work. However, there is conjecture
that Love's Labour's Won is an
alternate title of a surviving romance play,
such as Much Ado About Nothing.
Whether Love's Labour's Won was indeed
a lost play not listed in the canon of
accepted Shakespeare plays is a question that
cannot be resolved without further evidence.
Love’s Labour’s Lost early in his career
(about 1594), when he was concerned more with
words than with characters. Consequently, the play
abounds in repartee, epigrams, rhyming lines, and
other devices, including the following:
pun is a play on words. In the following
passage, the princess prepares to hunt deer at
the edge of a wood while a forester tells her
where to position herself to make the “fairest
shoot,” a phrase which the princess repeats
playfully in reference to herself.
the edge of yonder coppice;3
stand where you may make the fairest shoot
my beauty, I am fair that shoot,
thereupon thou speak’st the fairest shoot.
(stik uh MITH e uh) consists of brief,
alternating lines of dialogue spoken in
rapid-fire succession. The following exchange
is an example:
BIRON:..Did not I dance
with you in Brabant4 once?
ROSALINE:..Did not I dance
with you in Brabant once?
BIRON:..I know you did.
ROSALINE...How needless was
it then to ask the question!
BIRON:..You must not be so
ROSALINE:...'Tis 'long of you
that spur me with such questions.
BIRON:..Your wit's too hot,
it speeds too fast, 'twill tire.
ROSALINE:..Not till it leave
the rider in the mire.
BIRON:..What time o' day?
ROSALINE:..The hour that fools
BIRON:..Now fair befall
ROSALINE:..Fair fall the face
BIRON:..And send you many
ROSALINE:..Amen, so you be
BIRON:..Nay, then will I be
Speaking in Rhyme
name in the cap?5
by good hap.
wedded or no?
her will, sir, or so.
welcome, sir: adieu.
to me, sir, and welcome to you. (2.1.215-220)
(Princess) Speaking in Rhyme
are so surely caught, when they are
wit turn’d fool: folly, in wisdom
wisdom’s warrant and the help of school
wit’s own grace to grace a learned fool.
Poetry That Rhymes
daisies pied6 and violets blue
lady-smocks all silver-white
And cuckoo-buds of yellow hue7
paint the meadows with delight,
cuckoo then, on every tree,
married men; for thus sings he,
cuckoo: O word of fear,
to a married ear! (5.2.876)
are examples of figures of speech in the play. For
definitions of figures of speech, see Literary Terms.
Grace us in the
disgrace of death. (1.1.5)
hot, it speeds too
fair befall your
Fair fall the face it covers!
him a shilling.] There’s
thy guerdon: go.
wimpled, whining, purblind, wayward boy
But love, first learned in a lady’s
Lives not alone immured in
Sir, it is the
and affection to congratulate
the princess at her
pavilion in the
of this day, which the rude
the afternoon. (5.1.40)
there are other strict observances;
not to see a woman in that term,
Which I hope well is not
one day in a week to touch no food,
but one meal on every day beside;
which I hope is not
then, to sleep but three hours in the
not be seen to wink of all the day,—
I was wont to think no harm all night
make a dark night too of half the day,—
Which I hope well is not
How will he
scorn! how will he
spend his wit!
How will he
triumph, leap and laugh at it! (4.3.85-86)
wither’d hermit, five-score winters
shake off fifty, looking in her eye.
doth varnish age, as if new-born,
gives the crutch the cradle’s infancy.
in love! I, that have been love’s whip.
love, Berowne falls in love.
paunches have lean pates, and dainty
rich the ribs, but bankrupt quite the wits.
(stomachs) represent the entire body.
of eating to financial activities
draweth out the thread of his verbosity finer
than the staple of his argument. (5.1.7)
uses a metaphor comparing the course or
direction to a thread and a simile comparing
the thread to the staple (substance)
the argument. Here, than serves the same
function as like or as, words usually used
in a simile between the things compared.
jest’s prosperity lies in the ear
him that hears it, never in the tongue
him that makes it. (5.2.847-849)
uses a metaphor comparing a jest to a human
being. (Only a human can prosper). This
comparison is also a personification.
compares ear to perception or
interpretation, and a third metaphor
compares tongue to wit or cleverness.
thoughts to me were oaks, to thee like osiers
of thoughts to oaks
of oaks to bent osiers (willlow branches
used in wickerwork)
needs no candles now, for dark is light.
is like an envious sneaping frost,
bites the first-born infants of the spring.
Berowne to a biting frost.
waist, mistress, were as slender as my wit.
the slenderness of the princess's waist to
that of his wit.
are examples of allusions in the play.
(5.1.641): Greek soldier who was the fiercest
and deadliest soldier in the Trojan War. He slew
Hector, the greatest of the Trojan warriors.
Achilles was said to have only one vulnerable
spot on his body, his heel. A poisoned Trojan
arrow found that spot and killed Achilles. Over
the centuries, the term Achilles' heel has come
to mean a person's greatest weakness (physical
(4.3.3): Roman name for Aias, a gigantic Greek
warrior who fought in the Trojan War. After the
death of Achilles—the greatest of the Greek
soldiers who fought at Troy—he goes mad with
rage after the Greek generals Agamemnon and
Menelaus award Achilles' armor to Odysseus
instead of to him. In his madness, he kills
sheep in the belief that they are Odysseus, Agamemnon, and
Menelaus, then falls on his sword.
lute (4.3.290): Allusion to Apollo as the
god of music. In Greek and Roman mythology,
Apollo was also the god of poetry, medicine,
prophecy, and the sun.
(3.1.143): In Greek mythology, a giant with one
hundred eyes who served as a spy for Hera (Roman
name, Juno), queen of the Olympian gods and wife
of Zeus (Jupiter). The messenger god, Hermes
(Roman name, Mercury) killed him. Hera removed
his eyes and placed them on the tail of the
(4.3.286): In ancient mythology, the Roman name
for Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and vegetation and a
patron of the arts.
Cophetua (4.1.64): Legendary
African king who renounced women but later fell
in love with a beggar girl named Penelophon.
(4.2.20): In the Old Testament of the Bible
(Genesis 4), the son of Adam. He was killed by
his brother, Abel.
In ancient mythology, the Roman name for Eros,
the Greek god of love.
Hercules (1.2.42): In
ancient mythology, the Roman name of the Greek
hero Heracles. He was the son of Zeus and
Alcmene, a mortal. Hercules was famous for his
his completion of twelve seemingly impossible
labors, including slaying a lion and killing a
(4.3.288): In Greek mythology, nymphs who guard
a tree that bears golden apples. The earth
goddess Gaea had given the tree to Hera (Roman
name: Juno) as a wedding gift when she married
Zeus (Roman name: Jupiter), king of the gods.
The Greek poet Hesiod said there were three
Hesperides: Aegle, Erytheia, and Hespere. The
garden in which the tree grew also was known as
(4.2.53): Roman poet and satirist. The full name
of Horace (65-8 BC) was Quintus Horatius
(5.1.45): Successor of Moses in the Old
Testament (Book of Joshua). After Moses died, he
led the Israelites in the conquest of Canaan,
the Promised Land.
Jove (4.2.56): In Roman
mythology, Jupiter, the king of the gods.
Jupiter is the name the Romans adopted for Zeus,
king of the Greek gods.
Maccabaeus (5.1.45): Jewish military
leader who defended Judea against invading
armies of the Seleucid Empire and restored the
Jewish temple in Jerusalem in 165 BC after the
Seleucids attempted to establish paganism there.
The Jewish festival of Hanukkah celebrates the
restoration of the temple.
(4.3.58): Wife of Jove.
Pepin (4.1.103): Pepin III (714-768), king
of France from 751 to 768. He was the father of
lion (4.1.66): Lion killed by Hercules.
Worthies (5.1.43): See Notes.
Naso: (4.2.57): Ovid (43 BC-AD 17), Roman
poet whose most famous work was Metamorphoses.
His full name was Publius Ovidius Naso.
(4.2.23): Another name for Artemis, the virginal
moon goddess and goddess of the hunt in Greek
the Great (5.1.45): Statesman and military
leader of ancient Rome. Pompey (106-48 BC)
joined with Julius Caesar and Marcus Licinius
Crassus to form a ruling triumvirate of Rome.
After he and Caesar became enemies, civil war
broke out in 49 BC; Caesar prevailed, and Pompey
was killed in 48 BC.
(5.1.9): Latin grammarian who wrote Institutiones
grammaticae ("Grammatical Foundations") in
the sixth century AD. It was a standard Latin
text in the Middle Ages.
fire (4.3.251): In Greek mythology, the
Titan god Prometheus was a benefactor of man. He
stole fire from heaven and gave it to humankind.
(1.2.44): In the Old Testament of the Bible, an
Israelite judge and warrior famous for his great
strength. He fell in love with a beautiful
woman, Delilah, who conspired with the
Philistines against him. When she beguiled him
into revealing the source of his strength, his
hair, she trimmed it while he was sleeping. The
Philistines captured and enslaved him. When his
strength eventually returned, he brought down a
temple to the god Dagon, killing assembled
Philistines and himself.
(1.2.96): A tenth-century-BC king of Israel
famed for his wisdom and for his construction of
the first temple in Jerusalem. He was the son of
King David and Bathsheba. His life is recounted
in the Old Testament (Chronicles, Kings, and 2
vidi, vici (4.1.64): Latin for I came,
I saw, I conquered. Julius Caesar was said
to have sent this message to the Roman Senate to
report his victory in 67 BC over Pharnaces II,
king of Pontus (in present-day Turkey).
(1.2.265): In ancient mythology, the Roman name
for Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love.
(4.1.64): Penelophon. (See Cophetua.)
Study Questions and Essay Topics
character in the play is the most admirable?
Which is the least admirable?
- What incidents in the
play resemble those in a modern situation
- Who controls the
events in the play, the men or the
- Write an essay
analyzing the lyrical quality of the dialogue
in Love’s Labour’s Lost.
- Does the ending of
the play satisfy you? Or would you prefer an
ending in which the wooers marry? Explain your
worthies: Nine heroes whom writers in
the Middle Ages and the Renaissance lionized
as exemplary leaders for their military
exploits and chivalric qualities. They include
three pagan heroes: the mythological Trojan
warrior Hector, the Macedonian general
Alexander the Great, and the Roman general
Julius Caesar; three Old Testament Jewish
heroes: Joshua, David, and Judas Maccabaeus
(also spelled Maccabeus); and three European
Christian heroes: the legendary King Arthur,
Charlemagne, and Godfrey of Bouillon.
Thicket; grove of small trees or shrubs.
- Brabant: Duchy
in Europe from 1190 to 1830. The area is now
part of Belgium and The Netherlands.
- in the cap:
Rosalind is wearing a hat.
cuckoo buds: Flowers.
The female European cuckoo lays eggs in the
nests of other species of birds, one egg here
and one egg there. This strange habit came to be
associated with human females who are unfaithful
to their husbands. The word cuckold was coined
before Shakespeare’s time to refer to the
husband of an adulteress wife.