Skip to main content
Shakespeare & Beyond

Four Terrible New Year's Resolutions from "Love's Labor's Lost"

What does Shakespeare’s Love’s Labor’s Lost have to do with New Year’s? In part, it’s a play about self-improvement. The characters make resolutions and set goals. . . and then fall way short of achieving them.

Title Page from the 1598 Quarto of Love's Labor's Lost. Folger Shakespeare Library. STC 22294 copy 1.

Title Page from the 1598 Quarto of Love’s Labor’s Lost. Folger Shakespeare Library. STC 22294 copy 1.

In the beginning of the play, the King of Navarre has a four point self-improvement plan. Three of his courtiers, Berowne, Longaville, and Dumaine, sign the pledge (although Berowne puts up a fight). Through a process that we might call “trickle-down resolutions,” the rest of his court is also affected. That means Don Armado the visiting Spaniard and Costard the swain (who are in love with the same country maid) and the Princess of France and her three ladies-in-waiting, who are visiting Navarre on a diplomatic mission.

Here are the resolutions included in the King of Navarre’s pledge, quoted directly from the play. In case you’re looking for some New Year’s resolutions of your own, we’ve added some hints for improvements.


[…] Love’s Labor’s Lost at the Atlanta Shakespeare Company runs through January 27. Love’s Labor’s is a perfect play for January: it’s about four young men who definitely do not stick to their resolutions. […]

What's onstage at Shakespeare theaters in January - Shakespeare & Beyond — January 11, 2019