One of few plays for which Shakespeare reputedly created his own plot, Love's Labour's Lost tells the tale of King Ferdinand of Navarre and his three friends, who all swear to spend three years avoiding women in favor of study. The arrival of the princess of France and her three beautiful companions brings the oath to an end, and the four men set themselves to courting. The second apostrophe in this play's title is often ignored; it occasionally appears, bedraggled and abused, in the title of Joyce's Finnegans Wake.

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