Loves Labors Lost: A Study in Puberty
Joseph D. Noshpitz
Affiliation: Editor-in-chief at 9 Saint Mary Road, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.
Keywords: Puberty, adolescents, male, psychological development, Shakespeare, literature, psychodynamic theory, Love's Labor's Lost, Modern Language Association, Woudhuysen
Loves Labors Lost is a whimsical and fashionable play of lords, ladies, love, and badinage. The humor is sparkling, the situations farcical, the language for the most part in rhyme and the ending lighthearted. Viewed from a dynamic standpoint, however, some elements creep in, which suggest that in this work, Shakespeare was telling the story of his early puberty, and reliving through the means of comedy some of the bittersweet memories of a talented youngster coming into the first flush of early adolescence. This essay will attempt to analyze the play in the light of what we know about puberty, with special emphasis on male puberty.
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