The Masquerade Essay

This essay has a total of 1113 words and 8 pages.

The Masquerade

The Masquerade
In Love’s Labor’s Lost by William Shakespeare, King Ferdinand and his
three attendants;
Berowne, Longaville, and Dumaine, take a vow to swear off women and
concentrate on their
studies. This vow only lasted long enough for each man to lay his eyes on
the Princess of France,
Rosaline, Maria, and Katherine. The women receive love letters and gifts
from the men who are
trying to woo them. Although the ladies are flattered, they are disappointed
by their loves’
abilities to easily breaks their vows. Throughout the play, the men try to
woo the ladies with out
ever really interacting with them because they are ashamed of the breaking of
their vows too.
The men decide that they will woo once and for all at the masquerade that
they will all be
attending. The women, on the other hand, have a completely different idea of
what the
masquerade will determine.
The women wear masks and plan on embarrassing the men, who are dressed as
by not revealing their true identity. They can not believe the deceitful
nature of the men and plan
on teaching them a lesson. The princess says, “Therefore I do it, and I make
no doubt/ The rest
will [ne’er] come in, if he be out./ There’s no such sport as sport by sport
o’erthrown,/ To make
theirs ours and none but our own;/ So shall we stay; mocking intended game,/
And they, will
mock’d, depart away with shame.” (237; V, ii l. 151-156). The masks that
the women are
wearing symbolize how they have hid their anger and frustration toward the
men. They had
never expressed their disgust with them prior to the masquerade and feel it
necessary to show the
men how foolish they have been for breaking their promises. The masks also
show that the
women were afraid to let their true feeling surface. A mask is a cover;
therefore they have been
covering up their inner thoughts and feelings about the mens’ actions. It is
hard for them to show
the men

their disappointment because they too are in love and feel that they truly
are suitable lovers.
However, they need their opinions to be expressed and appreciated. The plan
works perfectly.
Each man can only recognize his loved one by the jewelry that she is wearing,
and since the
ladies switched presents in order to play their parts, the men woo the wrong
lady. The King
woos Rosaline, Berowne woos the Princess, Dumaine woos Maria, and Longaville
Katherine. The men were trying to be sweet to each lady, while the ladies
were being rude and
thoroughly confusing the men. The King approaches Rosaline by saying,
“Blessed are the
clouds, to do as such clouds do!/ Vouchsafe, bright moon, and these thy
stars, to/ shine/ (Those
clouds removed) upon our watery eyne.” (237; V, ii l. 203-206). Rosaline,
pretending to be the
Princess, replies, “O vain petitioner! beg a greater matter,/ Thou now
requests but moonshine in
the water.” (237; V,ii l. 207-208). Berowne, trying to impress Rosaline,
approaches the Princess
and says, “White-handed mistress, one sweet work with/ thee.” (238; V,ii l.
229-230). The
Princess comments, “Honey, and milk, and sugar: there is three.” (238;V,ii
l. 231). Mistaking
Maria for Katherine, Dumaine states, “Fair lady - “ (238; V, ii l. 237).
Maria remarks, “Say you
so? Fair lord-/ Take that for your fair lady.” (238; V,ii l. 238-239). The
masks proved that the
men did not really know the ladies at all, and in reality were only in love
with the beauty that
was portrayed on the outside.
Even though the four women are set on speaking their minds, they are
beginning to have
some doubts about embarrassing the men. They are afraid to continue
pretending to be each
other when the men return without their Russian costumes. The princess says,
“What shall we
do,/ If they return in their own shapes to woo?” (239; V,ii l. 298-299).
Even though the women
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