The Two Gentlemen of Verona Study Guide

The Two Gentlemen of Verona Study Guide

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The Two Gentlemen of Verona

Two Gentlemen of Verona by William Shakespeare is considered one of the best comedies of the Bard, but from the modern point of view this comedy has rather dark undertones. Despite some classical plot turns used in it like cross-dressing and double wedding in the end, Two Gentlemen of Verona takes the theme of love, friendship and betrayal much more serious than most of the comedies by Shakespeare.

The story of the aforementioned gentlemen is a classical bromance that could be considered homoerotical if not their clear affection to the young women in Verona and Mantua. The romantic love leads to the betrayal of friendship when the two fall for the same girl.

This play shows us some clearly misogynistic aspects of the Shakespearean society. Proteus abandoning his fiancée and almost raping the beloved of his friend is easily pardoned, but the scene of him begging his former friend for forgiveness is one of the most dramatic in all the play. Women in this setting are the property of their parents and then husbands, and the only way to break free is either dressing up as a man or running away to a wild forest full of thugs.

Another interesting aspect of this play is deep personalities of the secondary characters. Despite the servants are usually portrayed as comic relief and just reflections of their masters, here they are adult and experienced people who seem to know life better than their masters and look very skeptical at their plans and wild ideas.

Two Gentlemen of Verona is a comedy by Shakespearean standards, but for the modern audience it borders with drama. Despite the eloquent wordplay and funny episodes, the main story tells us about the wild emotions that can drive people mad and the positive trait that becomes a fatal flaw, much as in the tragedies of Shakespeare. You will have a good laugh, we promise, but you’ll also have to sit and think about the different moral standards through the ages.

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