Law, Discipline and Punishment in Love's Labour's Lost

Sophie Chiari

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Abstract :
International audience
Love's Labour's Lost has often been studied for its dazzling use of language, but more rarely for the mechanisms of power which may be detected at the heart of the kingdom of Navarre. The present essay relies on Foucault's 1975 seminal study, Discipline and Punish, and argues that the legal dimension of the comedy, including the important background of the Inns of Court, should also be thoroughly explored. Indeed, in his apparently light-hearted paly, Shakespeare deals with such grave topics as imprisonment, deprivation and discipline, and he also challenges a number of ideas on entertainment and coercion, which he sees as the two sides of the same coin. This leads us to question the repressive ideology of the young lords and,even more importantly perhaps, that of the French Princess and her retinue, all the more as the ladies, in the play, do not hesitate to resort to punishment and shaming in order to increase their authority.
Published : 2015
Document Type : Journal articles
Affiliation : Institut d’Histoire des Représentations et des Idées dans les Modernités (IHRIM) ; École normale supérieure de Lyon (ENS de Lyon)-Université Lumière - Lyon 2 (UL2)-Université Jean Moulin - Lyon 3 (UJML) ; Université de Lyon-Université de Lyon-Université Blaise Pascal - Clermont-Ferrand 2 (UBP)-Université Jean Monnet - Saint-Étienne (UJM)-Université Clermont Auvergne [2017-2020] (UCA [2017-2020])-Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)


Sophie Chiari, « Law, Discipline and Punishment in Love's Labour's Lost », Cycnos, 2015. URL :