William Shakespeare: The Two Gentlemen of Verona

(3018 words)
  • Rachel Willie (Bangor University)

One of Shakespeare’s earliest plays, The Two Gentlemen of Verona is a merry conceited comedy comprising clownish antics with a dog, outlaws, exile, an attempted rape, and betrayal of the bonds of love and friendship. Critics usually view its contrived and perhaps clunky handling of material as evidence of Shakespeare’s early style and of a writer beginning to understand the complexities of composing for the stage. Certainly, the play has been dated to c. 1590, but the first printed reference to it would seem to belie the idea that the play lacks compositional maturity:

Plautus and Seneca are accounted the best for Comedy and Tragedy among the Latines: so Shakespeare among ye English is the …
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Willie, Rachel. "The Two Gentlemen of Verona". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 24 August 2014
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=8000, accessed 28 September 2016.]