William Shakespeare, The Two Gentlemen of Verona

Rachel Willie (Liverpool John Moores)
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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 most excellent in both kinds for the stage; for Comedy, witness his Gentlemen of Verona, his

3018 words

Citation: Willie, Rachel. "The Two Gentlemen of Verona". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 24 August 2014 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=8000, accessed 08 December 2023.]

8000 The Two Gentlemen of Verona 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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