The Two Gentlemen of Verona: by Shakespeare - Summary

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      The Two Gentlemen of Verona is a comedy by William Shakespeare, published in the First Folio of 1623. The source of the play is a story by Jorge de Monte-mayor, Diana Enamorada, but Shakespeare may have come upon it by way of a lost play. The History of Felix and Philomena, known to have been acted at court in 1585.

      Valentine leaves Verona and his friend Proteus and sets out for Milan. There he falls in love with the duke’s daughter Silvia, whom the duke wishes to marry to the foolish Thurio. Proteus is sent by his father to Milan, and takes a solemn farewell of Julia, with whom he exchanges rings as a token of love. Welcomed by Valentine and Silvia, Proteus too becomes enamored of Silvia and betrays to the duke the couple’s intention of eloping. Valentine is banished.

      Disguised as a boy, Julia has followed Proteus to Milan, where she enters his service. To her dismay, Proteus sends her - with the ring she had given him in Verona - to press his claims on Silvia. Heartily sick of both Thurio and Proteus, Silvia runs away to find Valentine and is captured by robbers. She does not know that Wlentine has become the leader of a band of honorable outlaws. When Proteus rescues Silvia, Valentine is at hand to observe his former friend’s treacherous attempts to force his love on her. The disguised Julia faints when Proteus asks Valentine’s forgiveness, revealing the ring that: Proteus had given her in Verona. The couples are reconciled, the duke willing to recognize the superior claims of Valentine as a match for his ‘daughter and all return to Milan to celebrate a double wedding.

      The Two Gentlemen of Verona is a charming romantic comedy, without the emotional of imaginative range of Shakespeare’s mature work in the genre. Proteus’s servant launce, much troubled by his dog, has some of the best theoretical opportunities. The part was probably witted for Will Kemp.

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