Two Gentlemen of Verona Essay
Sorry, but copying text is forbidden on this website!
William Shakespeare is an interesting character that just happened to be one of the best play writes of not only his time, but even today. He was born in the year 1564 and died in 1616. Though there are not many records of his personal life, from what there is, he lived a sort of scandalize life. Moving to London and leaving his wife, Anne Hathaway, behind to write plays, act, and, it is said, have affairs with men and women. He is often called England’s national poet and the “Bard of Avon”.
Some people say that his earlier works were not so well written as his later plays, but he wrote about 38 plays in total and is said to have changed not only theater by his influences in other author’s, but the English language as well. Though he wrote many good plays, one of his earlier plays, “Two Gentlemen of Verona” will be discussed in greater detail in this essay. Shakespeare, did many things for the first time in theater and his plays that no other other had done before him. One of his most obvious achievements include language.
It is said that he had created about over 1700 of our common words by changing nouns into verbs, changing verbs into adjectives, connecting words never before used together, adding prefixes and suffixes, and making up words that are completely original. Language is a big part of theater. In many plays, as well as life, people play with worlds and sentence structures to portray many different types of emotions. In Two Gentlemen of Verona, many scenes were funnier because of the wordplay they used. For example, in Act III scene i.
Speed, the servant of the main character Valentine, had asked Launce, the servant of Proteus, “How now Signior Launce, what news with your mastership? ” Launce replied with, “With my mastership? Why, it is at sea. ” Like many other parts in the book, this dialogue shows Shakespeare creativeness and wordplay. When Valentine asks about the “mastership” what he really is talking about is Proteus because he is Launce’s “master”. Proteus is “set out to see” because he left Verona, but it is also referring to the “ship” that Speed was joking about.
Many other examples of this are in all of William Shakespeare’s plays; because it is in old English, it can sometimes be seen when acted easier than just read. In addition, all plays must have a character that has inner conflicts; Shakespeare figured out how to make soliloquies explore a character’s inner motivations and conflict. Up until Shakespeare, soliloquies were often used by playwrights to “introduce (characters), convey information, provide an exposition or reveal plans”. This can probably be more more apparent in plays such as Hamlet, hi the big, and famous “To be, or not to be” soliloquy.
Though, in Act I scene ii Julia, Proteus’ first love, has a soliloquy where shes does just that. It occurs right after she receives a love letter from her servant that Proteus had sent with his servant, Speed. Right before her soliloquy she had tared up the letter into pieces and kicked her servant out of the room. The first line in her soliloquy, “Oh hateful hands, to tear such loving words! ” demonstrates how Shakespeare’s characters can show their inner motivations within their soliloquies. Though she had destroyed the letter, and acted as though she was annoyed by it and by her servant, her true motives, and inner feelings are revealed.
Another influence William Shakespeare had in the culture of theater is the way that Shakespeare mixed tragedy and comedy together to create a new romantic tragedy genre. Before Shakespeare, romance had not been considered a worthy topic for tragedy. While this can be more easily seen in a play like Romeo and Juliet. Two Gentlemen of Verona is also a comedy that involves some romanticism and tragic events. For example, Proteus, character almost like Romeo, in Romeo and Juliet, is young and falls in love too easily.
Like Romeo, Proteus falls in and out of love by the beauty of a woman versus her intellect, or thoughts. Though it is a comedy, some traumatic events occur towards the end cause by love and the betrayal. Proteus falls out of love with Julia, and in love with Sylvia. The flip to this story is that Sylvia was supposed to get married to Valentine, which is Proteus’ best friend. Proteus betrays Valentine and gets him kicked out of the city. He then attempts to rape Sylvia because she refused to give in to someone that will betray their own best friend by in such a way.
The play, Two Gentlemen of Verona, has a shocking ending that seems like it could have many different meanings. The scene begins with Valentine sitting alone in a bush where he hears that Proteus, Sylvia, and Julia (disguised as Sebastian) enter the forest scene. Proteus tells Sylvia that she should be thankful that he had saved her from the “outlaws”, but Sylvia’s love for Valentine and hatred for Proteus to betray his friend is too strong. When Proteus is about to rape Julia, Valentine jumps out and stops him.
In the end, Julia reveals who she is and the Thurio, the man who was supposed to marry Sylvia from the beginning, enters the scene saying that he will not marry Sylvia because he never really loved her. When Proteus decides he does loves Julia after all, the Duke, Sylvia’s father, says both men will get married on the same day to both women. This scene proves Federico Garcia Lorca’s view that “the theater is a school of pain and laughter, a free tribunal where we can question norms that are outmoded or mistaken and explain with living examples the eternal norms of the human heart.
The whole play involves pain and laughter, in this comedy, we as the audience laugh at Proteus’ thinking that he loves any girl that is beautiful. Though we laugh at it, there are other mixtures of pain and laughter. It is comical that Valentine, such a noble man, is hiding in the bushes waiting for his best friend to do something bad to his girlfriend; Julia is dressed as a man and no one can see it, but at the same time she is in pain because the love of her life is about to rape someone else; and there is more pain and laughter irony in this one scene.
It is definitely a “tribunal where we can question norms that are outmoded” because the Duke comes into the scene unexpectedly and lets the two men get married without asking the women. This is an outmoded norm that men are superior to women, and men do not need to ask the women permission or what they would like. What if Julia no longer wanted to marry Proteus after all she saw? What if Sylvia did not want to get married on the same day of the man who tried to rape her.
The norms can also be “mistaken” because there is a line where Valentine forgives Proteus for almost raping his lover and he concludes by saying, “All that was mine in Sylvia I give thee” (Act V, Scene iiii). This line, among many others, is up to interpretation. The line could mean that Valentine decided to give away Sylvia to Valentine in the end, or it could mean something completely different and the audience could be “mistaking” Shakespeare’s meaning of what is said.
The finale, everyone getting married, shows “the eternal norms of the human heart”, even in Shakespeare’s time a happy ending is seems more complete. The audience in that time, and today would rather hear that everything resolved in the end for these characters. Although some people may argue that Shakespeares plays were not so well writen in the beginning of his career, there can be much said about his earlier plays like The Two Gentlemen of Verona.
It is also clear that Shakespeare has changed and influenced theater greatly. He had changed various things like the English language, characters development within soliloquies, and even created new genres. There can be so much to be said about all his novels, in one scene, like the one above there can be much to debate, laugh, and feel pain about. In this on scene proved Federico Garcia Lorca’s quote about theater to be true. If analyzing another scene, the same could be said.