Two Gentlemen of Verona ★★★☆☆

twogentlemenofverona (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Two Gentlemen of Verona
Series: ———-
Author: William Shakespeare
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Play, Comedy
Pages: 84
Words: 24K



Two young friends, Valentine and Proteus, go their separate ways as Valentine wants adventure and Proteus wants to woo a local girl, Julia. Valentine heads to Milan.

Proteus father sends him to Milan as well, as he’s afraid of Proteus becoming a namby-pamby wuss. Proteus and Julia vow undying love for each other and Proteus gives Julia a ring as his troth.

Valentine and Proteus are united in Milan. Valentine, who excoriated Proteus for falling in love and allowing his love for Julia to keep him home, has fallen in love with Silvia, the Duke of Milan’s daughter. The Duke has other plans for her though, ie, to marry her to Thurio, a rich man from another city state. Valentine tells Proteus that he and Silvia will steal away and secretly get married. Proteus has himself fallen in love with Silvia and betrays Valentine to the duke.

Valentine is banished and ends up becoming King of the Outlaws, a noble group of men who have been unjustly banished and rob the rich from Milan.

Proteus, under the cover of pretending to help Thurio, woos Silvia himself. She scorns him as a base man who betrayed not only his friend but his lover Julia and also his vows to her. Meanwhile Julia has secretly left Verona to find Proteus and becomes his squire, dressed as a page. She see’s Proteus infidelity and vows to get him back.

Silvia runs away rather than marry Thurio and gets captured by the Noble Outlaws and taken to Valentine. Everyone else is chasing her and also get captured by the Outlaws. Valentine challenges Thurio to a duel for Silvia and Thurio declines, as he has no love for Siliva. The Duke is disgusted, gives his blessing to Valentine and Silvia’s nuptials. Julia faints and Valentine discovers who she is. He and Proteus make up, as Proteus realizes his behavior has been abominable and repents. Valentine then reveals that his page is Julia. The Duke pardons everyone and they all head off for a double wedding in Milan.


My Thoughts:

Part way through this play I turned to Mrs B (as is our wont, we were sitting on our couch side by side reading) and said “I just don’t like Shakespeare’s plays. She nodded and agreed. The low-brow humor that Shakespeare uses just doesn’t appeal to either of us.

That being said, I have no intention of stopping. These plays are foundational to Literature as we know it and yes, that is Literature with a Capital L. I don’t plan on becoming a Shakespeare expert by any means, but I do want to have a passing familiarity with them.

One of the things that has bothered me about these plays is how characters can change at the drop of a hat. For example, in this play Proteus proclaims undying love for Julia and then wham, suddenly he’s destroying his own and his friend’s life for another woman. Then at the end of the play suddenly he reverts back to loving Julia. I’m beginning to realize that that is simply how a play operates. It isn’t a book with all the time that a book has. It is a play and many of the things that we expect from a book simply aren’t possible in a play. I don’t like it but I am beginning to be able to accept it. For me, that is a big step forward.



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21 thoughts on “Two Gentlemen of Verona ★★★☆☆

  1. Yeah, reading a play is always really hard. So much of the nuance that would be present in a novel is missing, because the playwright depended on the actor to provide the nuance. So reading a play is almost like reading a summary of the novel instead of reading the full book. Still, I 100% agree that even when I don’t like something Shakespeare does I want to read all of his plays. As you say, they are too foundational to our culture to ignore them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hmm, very insightful review.

    I haven’t read this one. When I do read Shakespeare’s plays, I am always surprised by how quickly and efficiently he can bring about transformation of characters and situations in a believable way. Sometimes it’s 180 degrees. Sometimes more than one 180 degree turn per play!

    Frankly, the idea that a young guy would fall in love with his friend’s lady love, dump his former girlfriend, and betray the friend, doesn’t strain belief at all. It sounds like something that people do all the time. Either because of pride, jealousy, or because sometimes lust can grip a guy and make him go completely crazy to the point of destroying his life.

    What sounds less believable, based on your summary, is Proteus turning himself around so quickly, while Sylvia is still in the picture. But even that isn’t without precedent, especially since Julia has now reappeared as well. I guess the believability will depend upon how it’s handled in the play.

    He does a lot of this in Midsummer Night’s dream, but there it’s with the help of magic. But even there, at the end Demetrius has about one line where he explains why he likes Helena after all even though he’s not under enchantment, and we just have to take his word. But, as other commenters have said, it becomes more believable when it’s delivered by a good actor.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think my biggest problem is that I approach these as novels, since that is what I read. They aren’t but are “close” and so I get my wires crossed.

      I probably wouldn’t have a lot of these issues if I’d watch the play first. But watching stuff is so low on my priority list, hence my “one” movie review a month…


  3. I do NOT like Shakespeare’s comedies, except for Much Ado About Nothing. I’ve tried, really I have, but I find them silly, sometimes confusing and more ridiculous than funny. However, I absolutely love most of his histories and tragedies. Hamlet is amazing, as is Othello, Richard II, etc.

    When I read anything by Shakespeare, I watch a play alongside. It’s amazing what a completely different experience it can be (or not). In any case, there are plays that I’ve like better in performance than on page. But it does take time …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am finding I am having a hard time with most of his comedies. Thankfully, since I am in the “T”s, I know I don’t have very many more before I get into either his tragedies or histories. We’ll see if I like those subjects any better 😀

      I keep thinking about trying to watch a play while reading one, but I just don’t have enough “care” to actually get around to it. My tv time is just pretty small…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I do hear you about reading plays- it’s a struggle, cos they’re not really meant to be experienced that way. It’s a shame you’re not enjoying so many of these (though I don’t think this a particularly great one imo). I hope you have/are having more luck with the tragedies though, because to me, those are the best.

    Liked by 1 person

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