Love's Labor's Lost

Ferdinand Character Analysis

Read our modern English translation.
The king of Navarre (a region of Spain). Ferdinand aspires to glory through intense study. He writes an oath (and gets all the men of his court to agree to it), which forbids spending any time with women, eating more food than is strictly necessary, and sleeping more than a few hours per night—all in order to devote all time and energy to studies in an all male “academe.” However, the visit of the princess of France throws a wrench in these plans. Ferdinand quickly falls in love with her and spends most of the play desperately trying to woo her. In the end, the princess tells him to wait for a year while she grieves the loss of her father. At the end of this year, he may have a chance with her.

Ferdinand Quotes in Love's Labor's Lost

The Love's Labor's Lost quotes below are all either spoken by Ferdinand or refer to Ferdinand. 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 numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon & Schuster edition of Love's Labor's Lost published in 2005.
Act 1, Scene 1 Quotes

Therefore, brave conquerors, for so you are,
That war against your own affections
And the huge army of the world’s desires,
Our late edict shall strongly stand in force.
Navarre shall be the wonder of the world;
Our court shall be a little academe,
Still and contemplative in living art.

Related Characters: Ferdinand (speaker), Berowne, Longaville, Dumaine
Page Number: 1.1.8-14
Explanation and Analysis:

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Item, If any man be seen to talk with a woman within the term of three years, he shall endure such public shame as the rest of the court can possible devise.

Related Characters: Ferdinand (speaker), Berowne (speaker)
Page Number: 1.1.132-135
Explanation and Analysis:

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We must of force dispense with this decree.
She must lie here on mere necessity.

Necessity will make us all forsworn
Three thousand times within this three years’ space;
. . .
If I break faith, this word shall speak for me:
I am forsworn on mere necessity.

Related Characters: Ferdinand (speaker), Berowne (speaker)
Page Number: 1.1.150-158
Explanation and Analysis:

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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:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Act 4, Scene 3 Quotes

Now step I forth to whip hypocrisy.
Ah, good my liege, I pray thee pardon me.
Good heart, what grace hast thou thus to reprove
These worms for loving, that art most in love?
. . .
O, what a scene of fool’ry have I seen,
Of sighs, of groans, of sorrow, and of teen!
O me, with what strict patience have I sat,
To see a king transformed to a gnat!
To see great Hercules whipping a gig,
And profound Solomon to tune a jig,
And Nestor play at pushpin with the boys,
And critic Timon laugh at idle toys.

Related Characters: Berowne (speaker), Ferdinand
Related Symbols: The Nine Worthies
Page Number: 4.3.158-178
Explanation and Analysis:

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O, we have made a vow to study, lords,
And in that vow we have forsworn our books.
For when would you, my liege, or you, or you,
In leaden contemplation have found out
Such fiery numbers as the prompting eyes
Of beauty’s tutors have enriched you with?
Other slow arts entirely keep the brain
And therefore, finding barren practicers,
Scarce show a harvest of their heavy toil.
But love, first learned in a lady’s eyes,
Lives not alone immured in the brain,
But with the motion of all elements
Courses as swift as thought in every power,
And gives to every power a double power,
Above their functions and their offices.
It adds a precious seeing to the eye.
A lover’s eyes will gaze an eagle blind.
A lover’s ear will hear the lowest sound,
When the suspicious head of theft is stopped.
Love’s feeling is more soft and sensible
Than are the tender horns of cockled snails.
. . .
Never durst poet touch a pen to write
Until his ink were tempered with love’s sighs.
. . .
From women’s eyes this doctrine I derive.
They sparkle still the right Promethean fire.
They are the books, the arts, the academes
That show, contain, and nourish all the world.

Related Characters: Berowne (speaker), Ferdinand, Longaville, Dumaine
Page Number: 4.3.312-347
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 5, Scene 2 Quotes

We are wise girls to mock our lovers so.

They are worse fools to purchase mocking so.

Related Characters: The Princess of France (speaker), Rosaline (speaker), Ferdinand, Berowne
Page Number: 5.2.63-64
Explanation and Analysis:

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The gallants shall be tasked,
For, ladies, we will every one be masked,
And not a man of them shall have the grace,
Despite of suit, to see a lady’s face.
Hold, Rosaline, this favor thou shalt wear,
And then the King will court thee for his dear.
Hold, take thou this, my sweet, and give me thine
So shall Berowne take me for Rosaline.

Related Characters: The Princess of France (speaker), Ferdinand, Berowne, Rosaline
Page Number: 5.2.133-140
Explanation and Analysis:

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Write “Lord have mercy on us” on those three.
They are infected; in their hearts it lies.
They have the plague, and caught it of your eyes.

Related Characters: Berowne (speaker), Ferdinand, Longaville, Dumaine
Page Number: 5.2.457-459
Explanation and Analysis:

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Ferdinand Character Timeline in Love's Labor's Lost

The timeline below shows where the character Ferdinand 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
Ferdinand, the king of Navarre, speaks to his three lords Berowne, Longaville, and Dumaine, about his... (full context)
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Ferdinand says that Berowne has already sworn an oath to this effect. Berowne says that he... (full context)
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...daughter of the king of France is set to visit his court on official business. Ferdinand admits he had forgotten about this, and says that the princess’ visit will be allowed... (full context)
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...if there will be any entertainment for them, confined to the court for three years. Ferdinand says that he has a Spaniard named Armado who sings and plays music well. Longaville... (full context)
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...Costard says the letter has to do with him and a woman named Jaquenetta. As Ferdinand reads the letter aloud, Costard interjects his own comments, attempting to defend himself. The letter... (full context)
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Ferdinand reminds Costard that it is illegal to spend time with a wench, and Costard replies... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2
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...digression of wordplay. Armado says that he has promised to study for three years with Ferdinand, and Mote says that this will be easy. He asks Armado some simple math questions... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
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...Katherine, Rosaline, and Maria. Complimenting her beauty, Boyet reminds the princess to be charming toward Ferdinand, as she has been sent to negotiate an exchange of land on behalf of her... (full context)
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The princess asks her attendants about the lords that have agreed to Ferdinand’s vow to study for three years without women. Maria describes Longaville as wise, virtuous, and... (full context)
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Boyet returns and tells the princess that Ferdinand plans to have her and her attendants camp out in the field outside of his... (full context)
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Ferdinand apologizes and explains that he has “sworn an oath,” about which the princess teases him,... (full context)
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Ferdinand reads a letter from the princess’ father offering a sum of money for the territory... (full context)
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Ferdinand says he will be reasonable when he sees these papers. He promises to make the... (full context)
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...princess tells them to stop “this civil war of wits” and save their cleverness for Ferdinand and his men. Boyet tells the princess that Ferdinand seemed to be in love with... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 2
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In the poem, Berowne says that though he will break his oath to Ferdinand, he will be faithful to Rosaline. He says that if the point of the oath... (full context)
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...it is addressed to Rosaline, from Berowne. He tells Jacquenetta to bring the letter to Ferdinand, and she and Costard exit to do this. (full context)
Act 4, Scene 3
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...love, and that love “hath taught me to rhyme and to be melancholy.” He sees Ferdinand approaching and hides. (full context)
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Ferdinand enters and reads a poem he has written, praising the princess’ beauty and expressing his... (full context)
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...woman, but that Maria is a goddess. Then, Longaville sees someone coming and hides. Berowne, Ferdinand, and Longaville each all overhear as Dumaine enters, bemoaning his love for Katherine. He describes... (full context)
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...written for her. Dumaine is upset that he is breaking his oath, and wishes that Ferdinand, Berowne, and Longaville were in love, too. Just then, Longaville comes out of hiding and... (full context)
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Ferdinand scolds both Dumaine and Longaville for violating their oaths, but then Berowne comes forth “to... (full context)
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...others inconstant. Then, Jacquenetta and Costard enter, carrying Berowne’s letter. Berowne tries to leave, but Ferdinand stops him. Costard says that he and Jacquenetta have proof of treason. Ferdinand asks Berowne... (full context)
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Berowne says that it is hopeless to try to uphold the oath, and asks Ferdinand and the others to break it with him. He describes his love for Rosaline and... (full context)
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Ferdinand criticizes Rosaline’s dark complexion, saying “black is the badge of hell.” Berowne maintains his opinion... (full context)
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...oath to abstain from women. He encourages everyone to “lose our oaths to find ourselves.” Ferdinand is persuaded, and offers a mock battle cry. Berowne says, “advance your standards, and upon... (full context)
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Ferdinand suggests they plan “some entertainment” to woo the French women. Berowne agrees and says that... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 1
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...or, as he calls it, “the posteriors of this day.” Armado says that he and Ferdinand are very close friends and that he has the honor of presenting some kind of... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 2
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...Rosaline, and Maria all examine the gifts they have received from their respective admirers. From Ferdinand, the princess has received a jewel along with “as much love in rhyme / as... (full context)
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...are, and Boyet enters, “stabb’d with laughter.” He tells the princess and her ladies that Ferdinand and his men are planning to visit them disguised as Russian ambassadors. The princess decides... (full context)
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Mote, Ferdinand, Berowne, Longaville, and Dumaine arrive in Russian dress. The princess and her ladies put on... (full context)
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Berowne evades the question and trades some witty quips back and forth with Rosaline. Ferdinand and his men play some music and ask the ladies to dance, but they decline.... (full context)
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The princess wonders what they should do if Ferdinand and his men return undisguised. Rosaline suggests that they tease them by talking about a... (full context)
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Ferdinand greets the princess and tells her that she is welcome now in his court. The... (full context)
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...to be a fool to her. Rosaline hints that they know the Russians were actually Ferdinand and his lords in disguise. The king grows pale and Rosaline jokes that he must... (full context)
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...Russian disguise and promises to use no more deception, avowing his sincere love for Rosaline. Ferdinand asks the princess how he can make up for his “rude transgression,” and she tells... (full context)
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Ferdinand worries that the performance will be so bad it will embarrass him, but the princess... (full context)
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...Costard leave. The princess announces that she will leave to return to France immediately, though Ferdinand begs her to stay. She apologizes if her teasing behavior has been a bit too... (full context)
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Ferdinand begs the princess not to let “the cloud of sorrow” disrupt “love’s argument.” Berowne tells... (full context)
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...all “pleasant jest and courtesy.” Dumaine insists that their affections “show’d much more than jest.” Ferdinand again asks the princess, “grant us your loves.” The princess, though, thinks that it is... (full context)
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...to be a song at the end of the performance of the Nine Worthies, and Ferdinand tells him to perform the song now. (full context)