Love's Labour's Lost Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

Love's Labour's Lost Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

Outskirts of town

An element that is common in Shakespearian plays is the division between the civilized world and the wild world, and the way the two parts are symbolized. The outskirts of town, with its natural elements represents the uncivilized world, dominated by the basic human instincts and where love can be free. Because of this association, women are told to remain outside because they can awake feeling of love in the men who believe that these types of feelings are irrational.

Highest type of knowledge

In the beginning, beauty and art are disregarded as having no value whatsoever. But this changes as the play progresses and art and beauty become instead a symbol for the highest type of knowledge someone can acquire. In fact, art and beauty become the channels through which a person can reach the truth.


A great emphasis is put on the idea that someone who is able to argue why he is right has a great power. In fact, the idea of persuasion through words is associated with power. The power of a good rhetoric thus becomes a motif in the play from the beginning and it is maintained until the end.


Another motif, commonly found in other Shakespearian plays, it the play-within-a-play, when the characters in the main play become also characters in another play. In Love’s Labour Lost, the men organize a play to impress the princess and her ladies and while it has no real value for the main play, it emphasizes the importance of the theater in Shakespeare’s time.


Dull is the name given to one of the characters in the play. Just as his name suggests, he is not witty and lacks the intelligence the other possess. Because of this, he is used as a symbol in the play for those who have an inferior intellect. A clear sign that he has an inferior intellect is his inability to hold a simple conversation and his inability to prove his point.

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