Love's Labor's Lost

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A pedant, or schoolteacher. He mixes in a good deal of Latin phrases into his everyday conversation, and is rather arrogant in his ostentatious learning. He exemplifies traditional education and book-learning, and though he considers himself to be probably the most intelligent person in the play, he is easily outwitted by the supposedly simple page Mote.

Holofernes Quotes in Love's Labor's Lost

The Love's Labor's Lost quotes below are all either spoken by Holofernes or refer to Holofernes. 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 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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Act 5, Scene 2 Quotes

Judas I am—

A Judas!

Not Iscariot, sir.
Judas I am, yclept Maccabaeus.

Judas Maccabaeus clipped is plain Judas.

A kissing traitor.—How art thou proved Judas?

Judas I am—

The more shame for you, Judas.

Related Characters: Berowne (speaker), Dumaine (speaker), Holofernes (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Nine Worthies
Page Number: 5.2.662-670
Explanation and Analysis:

The presentation of the Nine Worthies - a play within the play- is underway, and it is going terribly. Here Holofernes enters as Judas Maccabeus, a famous leader from the Old Testament, but introduces himself only with "Judas I am." This introduction allows Dumaine to make fun of Holofernes, shouting out "A Judas!" and implying that Holofernes is playing Judas Iscariot, the famous traitor to Jesus in the New Testament. Though he tries to correct Dumaine, Holofernes is interrupted again with the assertion that Judas without Maccabeus is definitely the other Judas, and Berowne interjects that he must be a "kissing traitor" (as Judas Iscariot famously betrayed Jesus with a kiss).

This interaction is a prime example of how poorly the presentation of the Nine Worthies is orchestrated, and the continual need of the male characters to assert their wit. The women, who already know that they have the superior wits, tend to wait for the actors to finish before interjecting their ironic praises and jokes.

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Holofernes Character Timeline in Love's Labor's Lost

The timeline below shows where the character Holofernes appears in Love's Labor's Lost. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 4, Scene 2
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A schoolmaster named Holofernes, a curate named Nathaniel, and Dull discuss the princess’ recent hunt. Nathaniel and Holofernes intersperse... (full context)
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Holofernes tries to explain that haud credo is not a kind of deer, but continues to... (full context)
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...Cain’s birth that’s not five weeks old as yet?” The answer is the moon, and Holofernes gives the answer “Dictynna,” an obscure name for the Roman goddess of the moon. Dull... (full context)
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Holofernes shares with Nathaniel a short poem he composed about the princess’ hunt. Nathaniel compliments it,... (full context)
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...that is supposedly from Armado, and asks Nathaniel to read it. Quoting lines of Latin, Holofernes looks at the letter and exclaims that it contains verses of poetry. Nathaniel reads the... (full context)
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Holofernes says that Nathaniel read the poem’s meter wrong, and examines it. He reads the top... (full context)
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Holofernes asks Nathaniel what he thought of the poem. He says it had good handwriting. He... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 1
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Holofernes, Nathaniel, and Dull have just come from dinner. Nathaniel compliments Holofernes’ wit, and mentions that... (full context)
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Mote pokes fun at Holofernes and Nathaniel, saying “they have been at a great feast of languages and stolen the... (full context)
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Armado asks Holofernes if he is a teacher, and then explains that the king is entertaining the princess... (full context)
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Armado asks Holofernes what he should perform, and Holofernes suggests “the Nine Worthies,” a pageant of nine famous... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 2
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...enters as Alexander the Great. Berowne and Boyet again heckle the performer. Nathaniel leaves and Holofernes enters as Judas Maccabaeus along with Mote as the young Hercules. Holofernes announces Mote’s character,... (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... (full context)
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Holofernes, Nathaniel, Mote, and Costard return to the stage. Everyone divides into two groups, one representing... (full context)