In this essay I will be talking and explaining the reasons why I think why Shakespeare didn’t end ‘Love Labour’s Lost’ with a traditional comedy ending, which is always a happy ending, which is either a marriage or a promise of new life.
Throughout the play, we, as the reader get to realise that the majority of the men are immature and not ready to be in a committed relationship or marriage, as the King declared that no women should come within a mile of the court. In the first act Shakespeare tells us that the lords, Berowne, Dumaine and Longaville are going to attempt to give up the company of women for three years. Scene 1, Act 1, the King says to the three men ‘You three, Berowne, Dumain and Longaville, Have sworn for three years’ term to live with me my fellow-scholar…’. This tells us that the three men have already promised to the King that they will study for three years, eat less, sleep little and not commit into a relationship with any women, as they have to follow the Kings orders. ‘But there are other strict observances, As: not to see a woman in that term, Which I hope well is not enrolled there’ (1.1.4), this quote suggests us that Berowne wouldn’t actually mind studying for three years, but not if that means that he will not receive the pleasure of a female company. He also doubts that the other lords will go along and stick with the plan.
Secondly, there comes the ‘Old World, Green World, New World’ theory by Northrop Frye, which means that the play operates in three worlds. Old World, this is the first world which usually belongs to the older people as well as parental figures of the play, for example the King. In the Old World there is usually a lack of freedom for the younger characters due to the laws and rules set by the elder. The King has told the three men, Berowne, Dumaine and Longaville to stay with him for three years to study, but this meat that they were not allowed to have the company or pleasure of a women. However, Old World only lasts a very short while in the play. Then there comes ‘The Green World’, the world of freedom, but also confusion. The majority of the play is set outside, which this means freedom. When the Princess of France and her intelligent ladies-in-waiting come to visit, the men don’t have a chance, even though the King falls head-over-heels for the Princess. Nevertheless, the three men break their oaths and prepare an onslaught of pursuing the ladies. However, they reject the men, but tease them. This means that the men will not be able to escape the Green World until they complete all the tasks set by the women. Lastly, comes the New World, created out of resolution. The New World is usually symbolised by marriage or a birth of a new life; and it’s when the characters usually return from the Green World, back into the urban world. However, Love Labour’s Lost does not end with either, instead it ends with the death of the King of France. But, even though there is death, at the end