One of the major themes I’ve seen in Love’s Labour's Lost, is the blatant misuse of communication. Shakespeare shows how these men/women have taken the originally purpose of communication and twisted it beyond recognition. When we talk, it’s meant to eliminate confusion, and within the context of the Gospel, elevate those around us to a higher level of understanding. We explain, correct, debate, discuss, and question, all so that we can improve those around us.
However, this use of language is twisted when the men use it to gain fame and then the hearts of women. However, they fail in both aspects. In the final act, they gain neither fame or the women, and are forced to take a vow of hermitage if they want their loves, with one notable exception-Berowne.
“Taffesta phrases, silken terms precise,
Three-pil’d hyperboles, spruce affections,
Figures pedantical – these summer-flies
Have blown me full of maggot ostentation.
I do forswear them;”
Berowne is the only on to recognize that his efforts to spruce up his communication are making them less effective. Hence, he’s the only one not asked to live like a hermit for a year, but is told to use his wit to make sick people happy. He is then taught:
“A jest’s prosperity lies in the ear
Of him that hears it, never in the tongue
Of him that makes it;”
So, as the only one to learn some moderation in the use of wit, Berowne is the only one granted leave to use his wit during the year. But with great power comes great responsibity – he must use his wit for good. So, Shakespeare brings the theme to it’s climax. Communication is meant to bring understanding and happiness to the hearer. They shouldn't be the ones seeking pleasure from their wit, since that is the essence of pride. They are looking for opportunities to show off their intelligence as a means of proving their superiority, not to make others happier. Since the men have failed to communicate appropriately, they lose their opportunity to use it, except for Berowne who has a hope for redemption.