- Publisher: London and New York: Dent and Dutton: 1949 (1949)
- ASIN: B0027AB6VI
- Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,805,352 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Two Gentlemen of Verona (New Temple Shakespeare)
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Top Customer Reviews
The play has the first of Shakespeare's many brave, resourceful and cross-dressing heroines, Julia.
Shakespeare always used his fools and clowns well to make serious statements about life and love, and to expose the folly of the nobles. Two Gentlemen of Verona has two very fine comic scenes featuring Launce. In one, he lists the qualities of a milk maid he has fallen in love with and helps us to see that love is blind and relative. In another, he describes the difficulties he has delivering a pet dog to Silvia on his master, Proteus', behalf in a way that will keep you merry on many a cold winter's evening.
The story also has one of the fastest plot resolutions you will ever find in a play. Blink, and the play is over. This nifty sleight of hand is Shakespeare's way of showing that when you get noble emotions and character flowing together, things go smoothly and naturally.
The overall theme of the play develops around the relative conflicts that lust, love, friendship, and forgiveness can create and overcome. Proteus is a man who seems literally crazed by his attraction to Silvia so that he loses all of his finer qualities. Yet even he can be redeemed, after almost doing a most foul act. The play is very optimistic in that way.
I particularly enjoy the plot device of having Proteus and Julia (pretending to be a page) playing in the roles of false suitors for others to serve their own interests. Fans of Othello will enjoy these foreshadowings of Iago.Read more ›
The play is not only a comedy it is a story of friendship, betrayal and love (Sounds like an intro to a final fantasy game) and Shakey handles this mixture of themes like the master he is.
The only problem is at the begining of the fourth act( I think) with the outlaws. It is way too far fetched and mars the overall effect of the play.
Still compared to the others I've read (R&J, Macbeth, tempest, and Dream) it is the best and I think it will easily outclass the merry wives of Windsor which is my next stop.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
The buddies are “The Two Gentlemen of Verona”—Proteus and Valentine. Proteus loves Julia and she loves him, while Valentine is destined to fall in love with Silvia. This being a comedy, Proteus falls for Silvia too, and Julia must disguise herself as a boy to win him back. If you’re familiar with Shakespeare’s comedies, girls disguised as boys is often part of the plot, but it was with this play where cross-dressing began. Valentine goes to Milan to be “tutor’d in the world.” Soon after, Proteus follows to meet up with him in the court of Milan. There, Proteus forgets about his love for Julia and falls head-over-heels in love with Valentine’s girl Silvia, and to entice her affections proceeds to disparage his best friend. Nice guy, huh? This betrayal leads to Valentine’s exile from the court. Determined to win him back, Julia dresses as a boy and sets off to find him. The plucky and fetching Julia; the wit of Launce, the clown, and his dog Crab can’t save the plot’s absurd and implausible twist wherein Valentine offers the love of his life (Silvia) to Proteus, just after Proteus was about to rape her. How’s that for friendship? And how’s that for love? Valentine doesn’t bother to ask Silvia how she feels about being offered up to his friend as so much chattel, never mind that she would have been raped had not Valentine and Julia arrived in the nick of time. As you might expect, “Two Gentlemen of Verona” is among the bard’s “problem comedies,” and is not performed all that often. In the introduction to the Pelican Shakespeare, Mary Beth Rose of the University of Illinois at Chicago sums up the play with: “In the ‘shallow story of deep love’ (I.I. 21), about which Valentine taunts Proteus at the beginning of ‘The Two Gentlemen of Verona,’ the actual ‘deep love’ is that between male friends.” Indeed. She also cites the plays “exquisite lyricism” as the play’s saving grace.