Like much of Love's Labor's Lost, the young character Moth is full of paradox. When Shakespeare has little Moth play great Hercules in the "Nine Worthies," the playwright offers humor in contrasting the physiques of the actor with his role, or as Armado puts it, Moth "is not quantity enough" (5.2.130) to play the Greek god. However, Shakespeare may also be using this contradiction to compare physical strength with mental. Although physical ability doesn't carry significance in Love's Labor's Lost, mental ability does, and Moth (mentally superior to his contemporaries) proves himself worthy of a high status. Using Moth as a Herculean figure is one of the most obvious paradoxes in the play, but there are others. Moth relies on rhetoric and integrity to show how true intellect comes from understanding people and not through scholarly displays.
Moth, for the most part, gets the better of his fellow characters, especially the educated ones. In the initial conversation between Moth and his boss, Armado, the page's first reply to Armado's question shows common sense. Moth responds that a "great sign" (1.2.3) of melancholy is sadness. This statement, too simple for Armado to understand, both mocks and uses rhetoric. Moth defines a sad face as a great sign, implying that the greatness of the sign lies in its obviousness. By claiming that something as common as a sad face is "great," Moth treats rhetoric like a joke by giving an overly simplistic answer to a difficult and eloquent question. But at the same time, Moth uses rhetoric by shifting the definitions of words to make his point. Because a sad face is so visible, it is great in its degree. Like any rhetorician, Moth h...
... middle of paper ...
... is more. Moth, with integrity intact, passes through the "Nine Worthies" unscathed. The same can also be said for his role in Love's Labor's Lost.
Moth successfully gets though the play without looking like a fool. He does this by relying on two things: integrity and common sense. Moth has learned to balance these two qualities, not through studying books, but through social interaction. Shakespeare uses Moth as an example of how true intellect works. True intellect is not the ability to speak Latin or write stylized poetry, but as Moth states, true intellect "is the way to make an offense gracious" (5.1.140). And whenever Moth deals with offensive characters, he always maintains his grace.
Shakespeare, William. Love's Labor's Lost. The Riverside Shakespeare. Ed. G. Blakemore Evans. 2nd ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997. 208-46.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- To What Extent Do You Believe that The History Boys and Love's Labour's Lost are Satires on Attitudes to Scholarship. In The History Boys and Love's Labour's Lost, Shakespeare and Alan Bennett both satirise scholarship to various degrees. Love’s Labour’s Lost overall is more satirical; however, there is also an obvious element of satire in The History Boys. In Love's Labour's Lost, Shakespeare heavily satirises education and the pompous nature of some of those who consider themselves scholarly, particularly through the verbosity and pretentious nature of characters such as Holofernes and Armado, as well as the deluded ideas that the King and his Lords have on scholarship.... [tags: The History Boys Essays]
1545 words (4.4 pages)
- Though it is common practice to “never judge a book by its cover”, oftentimes the cover will give a glimpse of what is to come. In literal terms, the cover of the book contains the title, perhaps one of the most important pieces of information about any literary work. Frequently the title will give an indication about the main character, or perhaps the leading metaphor. Thus is the case with Moth Smoke by Mohsin Hamid, a novel about a banker in Lahore, Pakistan who falls in love with his best friend’s wife, and plummets into a difficult lifestyle.... [tags: moth smoke, mohsin hamid]
899 words (2.6 pages)
- A beautiful flower with delicate petals sits in a lush green jungle. As a violent storm with fierce winds surfaces on the horizon, the flower yields with each gust. Unable to withstand the torrential downpour and harsh winds, it loses its petals and snaps from the intense pressure. This exact thing happens to Mary Anne as “The Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong” unfolds. Even though people have the capacity to endure great tragedy, suffering and violence, the sheer brutality of war permanently strips the innocence from Mary Anne and the devastation becomes engrained to her soul.... [tags: Literary Analysis]
1058 words (3 pages)
- ‘The Death of the Moth” by Virginia Woolf Death is a difficult subject for anyone to speak of, although it is a part of everyday life. In Virginia Woolf’s “The Death of the Moth”, she writes about a moth flying about a windowpane, its world constrained by the boundaries of the wood holding the glass. The moth flew, first from one side, to the other, and then back as the rest of life continued ignorant of its movements. At first indifferent, Woolf was eventually moved to pity the moth. This story shows that life is as strange and familiar as death to us all.... [tags: Virginia Woolf Death Moth Essays]
760 words (2.2 pages)
- The Hofstra Production of Shakespeare’s Play, Love's Labor's Lost Well-educated college students who study Shakespeare’s plays tend to have mixed feelings on how to stage scenes. In Shakespeare's Love's Labor's Lost, the boy says, "An excellent device. Now Hercules destroys the snake." (5.2.137). Here he is supposed to be taken seriously and be bringing out a good point during the "Nine Worthies." In the Hofstra stage version he pretty much looks like a joke and his comments then become meaningless.... [tags: Love Labor Lost]
425 words (1.2 pages)
- The battle against death, while can be portrayed as magnificent, is ultimately pathetic and insignificant. Like a boulder tipping precariously off a cliff, one can exhibit the ardent desire to survive, yet against the fragility and impermanence of life, this desire is a pitiful effort in the face of impending failure. The hopelessness of such a situation is depicted in “The Death of the Moth” by Virginia Woolf, in which the moth incessantly endeavors to overcome the irresolvable dilemma of breaking through the barriers that contain it and visit the outside world.... [tags: The Death of the Moth, Virginia Woolf]
725 words (2.1 pages)
- Kenneth Branagh's Love's Labour's Lost In our teaching of Shakespearean film adaptation to undergraduates, one of the issues that frequently arises in class discussions is the question of how the visuality of the cinematic medium is constructed in tension against the verbal nature of Shakespeare's dialogue. The tension between the visual and verbal dimensions of filming Shakespeare is created on two levels: firstly, where the poetry of Shakespeare, functioning as word pictures that stimulate and enhance the imagination of the spectator is set against the capacity of film to show rather than tell; and secondly, where the adaptation negotiates with the canonicity of the Shakespearean text t... [tags: Kenneth Branagh Love Labour Lost Essays]
7638 words (21.8 pages)
- Lymantria dispar, otherwise more commonly known as the European gypsy moth is an incredibly destructive pest, found mainly in Europe, Africa, and North America, its larvae stage had been recorded to damage over 500 various species of trees and smaller plants. Originally introduced into the United States and studied by amateur entomologist Etienne Leopold Truvelot, the samples had escaped the lab and invaded the area of Boston in 1869. Now they pose an imminent threat to the country’s environment and economy.... [tags: Insect, Lepidoptera, Butterfly, Gypsy moth]
1288 words (3.7 pages)
- The essay The Death of the Moth by Virginia Woolf, is a piece of literature that describes the physical struggle of a dying moth and also, an inner struggle that the writer is experiencing as well. Through these struggles that each of the characters in the story endures, the audience sees a connection through both subjects. Analyzing and describing this complex essay structure can be done by evaluating the meaning and metaphors used by the author to portray the message of the story, which will allow the audience to comprehend what the true meaning of the essay is and come to understand the lesson of the story.... [tags: Analysis The Death of the Moth]
639 words (1.8 pages)
- In life you meet various people from all walks of life. In Tennesse Williams play A Streetcar Name Desire, we peep into the characters lives as they have different types of relationships through- out the play. As we notice the characteristics of Man, Women, Society, Alchoholism, Violence, and Sexuality. The contrast amongst today population and things that happened so many years ago can be examined with depth and certainty. To begin with, Blanche Dubois is one of the fascinating characters of the play.... [tags: Character Analysis, Blanche Dubois]
1466 words (4.2 pages)
- Essay on Manipulation through Language in The Memorandum
- Naturalism in The House of Mirth
- Flaubert as Emma in Madame Bovary
- An Analysis of Satan's Final Speech in Milton’s Paradise Lost
- Comparing Owen's Dulce et Decorum Est and Crane's Do Not Weep, Maiden, For War Is Kind
- Voice in Things Fall Apart and Anthills of the Savannah