Love's Labor's Lost

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Armado Character Analysis

A Spaniard at Ferdinand’s court, Armado entertains the king and his attendants with song and music. He is extravagant in his speech, speaking and writing in overly ornate language and often inventing his own words (to the chagrin of the pedantic Holofernes). He oversees the punishment of Costard for spending time with Jacquenetta, but falls in love with her himself and successfully woos her.

Armado Quotes in Love's Labor's Lost

The Love's Labor's Lost quotes below are all either spoken by Armado or refer to Armado. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Love Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Simon & Schuster edition of Love's Labor's Lost published in 2005.
Act 1, Scene 2 Quotes

I will hereupon confess I am in love; and as it is base for a soldier to love, so am I in love with a base wench. . . . I think scorn to sigh; methinks I should outswear Cupid. Comfort me, boy. What great men have been in love?

Related Characters: Armado (speaker), Jacquenetta
Related Symbols: The Nine Worthies
Page Number: 1.2.57-65
Explanation and Analysis:

Armado and his page Mote begin this scene with an exchange of wits, discussing the nature of melancholy and the predicament of studying with King Ferdinand for three years. Here, Armado confesses that he is in love with a woman named Jacquenetta. He describes this woman as "a base wench" whom he seems to wish he did not love in the first place. He believes it is "base" for him to be in love, and believes that love is dangerous since it takes away his self-control.

Armado also feels emasculated by his love, thinking it makes him weak and less of a man. Here, love is dangerous, unwieldy, womanly, and unwanted. Wishing to feel better, he asks his page to remind him of the "great men" of history who have previously been in love. He believes that thinking of these great men will help him, since it will signal that even masculine heroes feel love. The two then discuss these great men, a scene which seems to look forward to the play's exploration of the Nine Worthies in later acts. 

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I do affect the very ground (which is base) where her shoe (which is baser) guided by her foot (which is basest) doth tread. I shall be forsworn (which is a great argument of falsehood) if I love. And how can that be true love which is falsely attempted? Love is a familiar; love is a devil. There is no evil angel but love, yet was Samson so tempted, and he had an excellent strength; yet was Solomon so seduced, and he had a very good wit. Cupid’s butt-shaft is too hard for Hercules’ club, and therefore too much odds for a Spaniard’s rapier. . . . Assist me, some extemporal god of rhyme, for I am sure I shall turn sonnet. Devise wit, write pen, for I am whole volumes in folio.

Related Characters: Armado (speaker), Jacquenetta
Page Number: 1.2.167-185
Explanation and Analysis:

Armado closes Act 1, Scene 2 with this soliloquy, in which he says he loves the very ground Jacquenetta steps on. He makes a play on base, saying that the ground is base, Jacquenetta's shoe is baser, and her foot is basest, using base both literally (low) and figuratively (inferior or bad). For Armado, love appears to be a negative experience. He says that if he really loves, he will be "forsworn" (a liar), and relates love to falsehood. Love, he says, is a devil.

He moves on, however, to remind himself of the strong men of history and and legend who have also loved, like Samson (who "had an excellent strength"), and King Solomon (who "had a very good wit"). Even the hero Hercules fell under Cupid's power. We can note that Armado must constantly reaffirm his manliness, his strength, and his intelligence, since he believes that love is a sign he is lacking in all three areas.

Moving from a devilish, false picture of love to masculine heroic love, Armado concludes with an apostrophe (a rhetorical call to someone who isn't present) to the gods of rhyme. Armado has been inspired by love to write poetry, saying that he will "turn sonnet." (A sonnet is an extremely popular form of love poem comprised of 14 lines—Shakespeare wrote and published many, and included some inside his plays). What's more, by the end of this speech, Armado himself has become a text: "I am whole volumes in folio." Armado takes many views on love, but ultimately concludes that love is rooted in language and poetry, and the possessive power of love is so great that he as a lover embodies whole volumes of poetry.

Act 4, Scene 1 Quotes

By heaven, that thou art fair is most infallible, true that thou art beauteous, truth itself that thou art lovely. More fairer than fair, beautiful than beauteous, truer than truth itself, have commiseration on thy heroical vassal. . . . Shall I command thy love? I may. Shall I enforce thy love? I could. Shall I entreat thy love? I will.

Related Characters: Boyet (speaker), Armado (speaker)
Related Symbols: Love Letters
Page Number: 4.1.68-89
Explanation and Analysis:

The Princess and her train are on a hunt, when Costard enters with a letter he claims is from Berowne and for Rosaline. However, Costard mistakenly delivers Armado's letter meant for Jacquenetta. Boyet receives the letter and quickly recognizes Costard's error, but he still reads the letter out loud to the bemusement of the Princess and the other women. The excerpt contains the beginning of the long letter, and another line towards the end.

Armado's letter is ridiculous, over-wrought, and verbose. In the first sentences we see the roundabout way in which he declares Jacqueneta's beauty. His lines say that she is the superlative of beauty, fairness, and loveliness, but at the same time they are so convoluted that they say nothing at all. The ladies ultimately mock him extensively for his letter, saying that it shows he is much less intelligent than he thinks he is. The final lines excerpted are from later in the speech, in which he finally makes a direct request for Jacqueneta's love. However, he still does so in an over-the-top way. The "shall I... I may/could/shall" phrasing is pure dramatic excess, and more evidence that the over-educated Armado (whom we know seems less intelligent than his page, Mote) thinks much too highly of himself.

Act 5, Scene 1 Quotes

The very all of all is—but sweetheart, I do implore secrecy—that the King would have me present the Princess, sweet chuck, with some delightful ostentation, or show, or pageant, or antic, or firework.
. . .
Sir, you shall present before her the Nine Worthies.
. . .
Where will you find men worthy enough to present them?

Related Characters: Armado (speaker), Holofernes (speaker), Nathaniel (speaker), The Princess of France
Related Symbols: The Nine Worthies
Page Number: 5.1.109-125
Explanation and Analysis:

After failing to present himself as intellectual, Armado tells Holofernes and Nathaniel that Ferdinand is planning on making some sort of theatrical production to impress the Princess. This production (or "delightful ostentation, or show, or pageant, or antic, or firework") will make a play within the play, and will mirror and (self-ironically) mock Love's Labor's Lost itself. Armado asks what he should prepare and present.

Holofernes suggests that they present "the Nine Worthies," a pageant of nine famous, heroic men from ancient and Biblical to medieval times. This production follows the pattern which has developed in the play, where men, feeling self-conscious or emasculated by love, remind themselves of the great men of history and lore who have loved before them. Nathaniel then asks where they will ever find men "worthy enough" to play the Nine Worthies, prompting Holofernes to cast himself, Armado, Nathaniel, Costard, and Mote in the play, noting that he will play three parts himself. This production is ultimately a hysterical failure which prompts the women to say that, of course, these men were not worthy to portray the Worthies.

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Armado Character Timeline in Love's Labor's Lost

The timeline below shows where the character Armado appears in Love's Labor's Lost. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 1
Work, Pleasure, and Comedy Theme Icon
...confined to the court for three years. Ferdinand says that he has a Spaniard named Armado who sings and plays music well. Longaville says that between the entertainment of Armado and... (full context)
Men and Women Theme Icon
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...Dull enters bearing a letter, along with Costard. He gives the letter, which is from Armado, to the king. Costard says the letter has to do with him and a woman... (full context)
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...week of fasting, with only bran and water. Ferdinand sends Berowne to take Costard to Armado, who is to be in charge of carrying out Costard’s punishment. (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2
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Armado asks his page Mote what it means when a man is melancholy. The boy answers... (full context)
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Armado and Mote go off on a digression of wordplay. Armado says that he has promised... (full context)
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Armado confesses that he is in love with a “base wench.” He asks Mote to name... (full context)
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Armado asks Mote about a ballad concerning a king’s love for a beggar, because he wishes... (full context)
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Dull informs Armado that he is to oversee the punishment of Costard, and that he is escorting Jaquenetta... (full context)
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...Jaquenetta. Costard says he hopes he can begin fasting on a full stomach, and asks Armado not to imprison him. Mote takes Costard away, leaving Armado by himself. Armado says he... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 1
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Armado tells his page Mote to free Costard and bring him so that Armado can have... (full context)
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Mote says that Armado loves Jacquenetta “by, in, and without” his heart: his heart cannot come by her, his... (full context)
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Mote leaves, and Armado compliments his “acute” wit. Mote returns with Costard and Armado greets him with the Latin... (full context)
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Costard tells Armado that he fell over a threshold and broke his shin. Armado tells him to stop... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 1
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Nonetheless, Boyet reads out the letter, written by Armado. In over-wrought language, the letter describes Jacquenetta’s beauty and (in a very roundabout way) confesses... (full context)
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...stage, Costard remarks upon everyone’s “sweet jests, most incony vulgar wit.” He then laughs at Armado’s love for Jacquenetta, calling him “a most pathetical nit.” (full context)
Act 4, Scene 2
Love Theme Icon
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...Costard enter. She gives Nathaniel a letter that Costard gave her, that is supposedly from Armado, and asks Nathaniel to read it. Quoting lines of Latin, Holofernes looks at the letter... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 1
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...have just come from dinner. Nathaniel compliments Holofernes’ wit, and mentions that he spoke with Armado earlier in the day. Holofernes says he knows Armado, and calls him ridiculous, criticizing his... (full context)
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Work, Pleasure, and Comedy Theme Icon
Armado asks Holofernes if he is a teacher, and then explains that the king is entertaining... (full context)
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Armado asks Holofernes what he should perform, and Holofernes suggests “the Nine Worthies,” a pageant of... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 2
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Work, Pleasure, and Comedy Theme Icon
...it will embarrass him, but the princess says that she wants to see the show. Armado enters and delivers a piece of paper to Ferdinand, then leaves. Ferdinand reads it out:... (full context)
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Boyet, Dumaine, and Berowne continue to wittily tease Holofernes, until he leaves. Armado now enters, as the Greek hero Hector. The audience teases and interrupts him as he... (full context)
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Just as Costard and Armado are preparing to fight, though, a messenger from France named Marcade arrives and tells the... (full context)
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Work, Pleasure, and Comedy Theme Icon
...up with their beloveds, they have not attained the happy ending necessary for a comedy. Armado now enters and announces that he has vowed himself in love to Jacquenetta. He says... (full context)
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...whose wives cheat on them). Then, the winter group sings a short song about winter. Armado announces that the performance is finished, and the play ends. (full context)