Love's Labor's Lost

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Boyet Character Analysis

The only male who comes with the princess to Navarre. Boyet helps move along the plot and alerts the princess and her ladies to the imminent arrival of Ferdinand and his men disguised as Russians. He is fond of the princess, but—in contrast to most of the play’s characters—does not seem romantically interested in anyone.

Boyet Quotes in Love's Labor's Lost

The Love's Labor's Lost quotes below are all either spoken by Boyet or refer to Boyet. 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 2, Scene 1 Quotes

If my observation, which very seldom lies,
By the heart’s still rhetoric, disclosed wi’ th’ eyes,
Deceive me not now, Navarre is infected.

With what?

With that which we lovers entitle “affected.”

Related Characters: The Princess of France (speaker), Boyet (speaker), Ferdinand
Page Number: 2.1.240-244
Explanation and Analysis:

The Princess of France has arrived with her attendants, Boyet, the only man in her company, and three ladies: Katherine, Rosaline, and Maria. Boyet is initially sent to court ahead, and Ferdinand and his men eventually greet the Princess and her ladies, apologizing that the women must sleep in the fields. Within the interaction the women display their dazzling, sharp wits, and the men all flirt. As they leave, each asks Boyet for one of the women's names.

After the departure of the men, the women begin making clever jokes with each other, but the Princess says they would make better use of their intelligence and gift of language in a "civil war of wits" with Ferdinand and his men. After this assertion, Boyet makes the observation quoted here. He says that, "by the heart's still rhetoric, disclosed wi' th' eyes... Navarre [Ferdinand] is infected." Here he touches on two tropes describing love: first, it is rooted in language and rhetoric. We have already seen this develop in Armado's thinking. Second, love is communicated and seen in the eyes.

To the suggestion Navarre is infected, the Princess responds with the simple, "with what?" Boyet responds by completing his wordplay: "With that which we lovers entitle "affected," meaning love. Thus Boyet suggests that Ferdinand is in love with the Princess, and at once continues their game of wordplay, puns, and witticisms.

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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.

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Boyet Character Timeline in Love's Labor's Lost

The timeline below shows where the character Boyet appears in Love's Labor's Lost. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 2, Scene 1
Men and Women Theme Icon
Work, Pleasure, and Comedy Theme Icon
The princess of France enters with her attendants: Boyet, Katherine, Rosaline, and Maria. Complimenting her beauty, Boyet reminds the princess to be charming toward... (full context)
Men and Women Theme Icon
Work, Pleasure, and Comedy Theme Icon
Boyet returns and tells the princess that Ferdinand plans to have her and her attendants camp... (full context)
Love Theme Icon
Work, Pleasure, and Comedy Theme Icon
...insists that her father already paid Ferdinand the other half of the fee he desires. Boyet says that the papers proving this exchange will arrive tomorrow. (full context)
Love Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
...my house,” then leaves. Berowne trades more witty quips with Rosaline, and Dumaine then asks Boyet what Katherine’s name is, calling her “a gallant lady,” before leaving. Longaville asks about Maria,... (full context)
Love Theme Icon
Intelligence Theme Icon
Work, Pleasure, and Comedy Theme Icon
Maria tells Boyet about Berowne, who is a constant jokester. They trade witticisms, until the princess tells them... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 1
Language Theme Icon
Intelligence Theme Icon
The princess, her ladies, Boyet, and a forester are hunting. The princess says that she and her attendants will return... (full context)
Language Theme Icon
Intelligence Theme Icon
...a head. Costard tells the princess that he has a letter from Berowne for Rosaline. Boyet takes the letter and sees that it is addressed to Jacquenetta. (full context)
Love Theme Icon
Language Theme Icon
Intelligence Theme Icon
Nonetheless, Boyet reads out the letter, written by Armado. In over-wrought language, the letter describes Jacquenetta’s beauty... (full context)
Language Theme Icon
Intelligence Theme Icon
The princess tells Costard that he has mixed up his letters. Everyone but Maria, Rosaline, Boyet, and Costard leaves. Boyet and Rosaline joke about hunting: she says that she is the... (full context)
Love Theme Icon
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Intelligence Theme Icon
Rosaline and Boyet sing part of a song together, and then Rosaline leaves. Maria says that they both... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 2
Love Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
Intelligence Theme Icon
Work, Pleasure, and Comedy Theme Icon
The women talk of how foolish their lovers are, and Boyet enters, “stabb’d with laughter.” He tells the princess and her ladies that Ferdinand and his... (full context)
Intelligence Theme Icon
Work, Pleasure, and Comedy Theme Icon
...has composed, but they turn their backs to the men. Mote leaves, and Rosaline has Boyet ask Berowne what the men’s intentions are. Berowne says that he and his companions have... (full context)
Men and Women Theme Icon
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Work, Pleasure, and Comedy Theme Icon
...to flirt, but the women tease them and turn their own words against them wittily. Boyet comments, “the tongues of mocking wenches are as keen / As is the razor’s edge... (full context)
Men and Women Theme Icon
Intelligence Theme Icon
Work, Pleasure, and Comedy Theme Icon
...tease them by talking about a group of foolish Russians who were just with them. Boyet sees Ferdinand and his lords approaching, and tells the ladies to leave. The men arrive... (full context)
Men and Women Theme Icon
Intelligence Theme Icon
Work, Pleasure, and Comedy Theme Icon
...is shocked and the princess reveals her trick of switching around the gifts. Berowne criticizes Boyet for helping the ladies deceive their men in this way. (full context)
Men and Women Theme Icon
Intelligence Theme Icon
Work, Pleasure, and Comedy Theme Icon
...out: it announces the cast of the show. Costard enters first, as Pompey the Great. Boyet, Berowne, and Dumaine heckle him. Costard mistakenly calls himself Pompey the Big instead of Pompey... (full context)
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Work, Pleasure, and Comedy Theme Icon
Nathaniel enters as Alexander the Great. Berowne and Boyet again heckle the performer. Nathaniel leaves and Holofernes enters as Judas Maccabaeus along with Mote... (full context)
Work, Pleasure, and Comedy Theme Icon
Boyet, Dumaine, and Berowne continue to wittily tease Holofernes, until he leaves. Armado now enters, as... (full context)