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Two Gentlemen of Verona (New Temple Shakespeare)

3.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • 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)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Clear printing but no notes ,introduction, page numbers or character list. useless for new students of Shakespeare!
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By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 7 May 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Although few would claim that Two Gentlemen of Verona is one of Shakespeare's greatest plays, it is well worth reading in order to serve as a reference for the best of his romantic comedies. In essence, Two Gentlemen of Verona gives you a measuring stick to see the brilliance in the best works.
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.
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Format: Paperback
My favourite play of his yet(I am slowly reading them all). There is superb dialogue between Speed and his Master (Valentine) in the first act and it stays good throughout. The best lines though have to come at the end between Julia and Proteus and had me laughing out load.
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.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 3.9 out of 5 stars 19 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Best version 17 Mar. 2017
By Fyoder Larue - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Best version. Why? Because it's the closest to Shakespeare. Two Gents was never published in quarto form prior to the First Folio from whence this text comes, except this is cleaned up and in a modern font; none of those 's's that look like 'f's, not cramped into the minimum space possible because paper was hand made and expensive. Later editors would place a high value on consistency, aiming for a product that would be easily digestible by a solitary reader, with correct punctuation, flattening verse into prose where verse pops up unexpectedly. The text of the First Folio, on the other hand, still echos the spoken word, the words of a playwright writing for actors and the stage.
5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite lyricism coupled with absurd plot twist 1 Jun. 2015
By Ricardo Mio - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was drawn to this play after watching “Shakespeare in Love.” Early in the movie lines are recited from the play that are quite entrancing: “What is light, if Silvia be not seen? // What is joy, if Silvia be not by? // Unless it be to think that she is by // And feed upon the shadow of perfection. // Except I be by Silvia in the night, // There is no music in the nightingale; // Unless I look upon Silvia in the day, // There is no day for me to look upon.” Alas, these words from Act III, and the song in Act IV, (“Who is Silvia? What is she, // That all our swains commend her?”) are the highlights of a play that most critics place at or near the bottom of the Shakespeare canon. The play is a comedy and therefore a love story, but the focus is on the friendship of two men--two buddies as it were--as in the plot of a Paul Newman/Robert Redford movie. Also, the heroine is not Silvia but Julia.

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.
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best editions. 19 Nov. 2014
By LarE - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this to read prior to seeing a production of the play. Although I own a one volume complete works, the Pelican books are much easier to read; small, but not too small, easy to carry around if desired. The footnotes are mostly helpful but they are kept to a reasonable number. The several brief prefatory essays (30 pages total) are helpful and interesting, without being tediously scholarly. As to the play itself, it's certainly not one of Shakespeare's best. But the performance we saw made the best of its silliness. Perhaps it's telling that the "character" getting the most laughs was Launce's dog.
3.0 out of 5 stars Minor disappointing work from the worlds greatest playwright and poet. 11 Oct. 2013
By Andrew Stein - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The story unfolds pretty quickly and pointlessly. Two friends loyal and true fall in love. When one sees the other's love, the now seemingly instantly psychotic one decides that since he owes his greatest allegiance to himself, it's a no-brainer that he will do his friend in, betray him and seek the woman he loves for his own. The plot is foiled and all it takes is for him to say "oops sorry about that" and all is forgiven and everyone ends up happily ever after. Some beautiful poetry abounds but the plot seems like Will had a spare weekend with nothing to do.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 8 Feb. 2016
By SB - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My twelve year old son has really enjoyed reading all of Shakespeare's plays... thank you.
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