A-Z Shakespeare: The Two Gentlemen of Verona

“How use doth breed a habit in a man! ”

William Shakespeare

Awesomeness: 7/10

Because…straightforward story, weird ending.

Colour: Red

Date: c.1591

Events: Gentleman Valentine sails to Milan, where he falls in love, and gets engaged to, the Duke’s daughter Silvia. Proteus, Valentine’s BFF, is then sent by his father to Milan, leaving behind Julia, the woman he claims to love; in Milan, however, he also falls in love with Silvia and betrays Valentine’s plan to rescue her from odious suitor Thurio by informing her father. Valentine is banished, but Proteus gets nowhere with Silvia, who hates him for his unfaithfulness. Meanwhile, Julia rocks up disguised as Sebastian, a page, to witness Proteus’ dishonesty. Much weeping is had by all. Silvia cooks up a plan to escape on her own, but is captured by some outlaws, whose leader turns out to be the banished Valentine. Proteus threatens to rape Silvia, then apologises, says he loves Julia, returns Silvia to Valentine, and everything is somehow Magically Better.

First line: “Cease to persuade, my loving Proteus”

Genre: Comedy (apparently)

High point: Act 3, Scene 1, where the Duke tricks Valentine into revealing his escape plan for Silvia.

Interesting fact: The Two Gentlemen of Verona may well be Shakespeare’s earliest surviving play.

Joke: “Home-keeping youth have ever homely wits.”

Killed: No-one.

Laughed at: Lance, rustic servant to Proteus, and his dog Crab.

Musical: Yes: Julia learns of Proteus’ unfaithfulness through a song.

Number of scenes: 20 spread over 5 acts.

Obscurity: 5/10

Place: Milan and Verona

Quote: “They love least that let men know their love.”

Role I’d play: Julia – again, the best of a bad lot.

Stolen from Jorge de Montemayor’s Seven Books of the Diana. Obscure enough for you?

Time: Around Shakespeare’s.


Voiced in my head by: Alexander Siddig as the Duke.

Would I see it in a theatre? Probably not.

X: The Tenth Line: “Even as I would, when I to love begin.”

“Yes? Hello? What?” (The Snappy Quip): “I to myself am dearer than a friend.”

Z: The Last Line: “One feast, one house, one mutual happiness.”


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