By Patrick Swinden (auth.)
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Extra resources for An Introduction to Shakespeare’s Comedies
We also have to notice where the speech fits in Berowne's developing awareness of the nature of love, and as we do so we notice too an obliquity and subtlety gained from the Love's Labour's Lost 47 position it occupies within this development. At the end of the third act Berowne, realising he was in love with Rosaline, had considered the situation to be absurd. ' There was something in this view. Not everything, but it was part of the truth. What he says in IV, iii is also a part of the truth. Love is part rapture, part humiliation.
This play is in all likelihood the first Shakespeare Love's Labour's Lost 39 wrote for a select and aristocratic audience. F. P. Wilson guessed that the Quarto is a revision of an earlier version acted at Titchfield, the Earl of Southampton's house in Hampshire. Shakespeare seems to have been cultivating the young Earl's friendship and patronage in the early I5gos; Love's Labour's Lost was probably written during the plague year of I593-4 when the London theatres were closed; and Titchfield was a place where courtly shows must have taken place often: Queen Elizabeth had visited it at least twice, on her progresses of I 569 and I 59 I, and would have expected to be royally entertained.
In A Shrew, it appeared more often and there was an epilogue. In spite of some ingenious justifications by scholars, I think we must conclude that our Induction is unnecessary. Unnecessary, but splendid - both for the vivid prose that Christopher Sly speaks, and 32 An Introduction to Shakespeare's Comedies for verse like this, in which the lord and servants convince him of his wealth and status: Wilt thou have music? Hark! Apollo plays, And twenty caged nightingales do sing. Or wilt thou sleep?