Book #48: The Two Gentlemen of Verona

The sum total of what I knew about Two Gentlemen of Verona was that it is Shakespeare’s shortest comedy.  I listened to an interesting audio about it, though it wasn’t a summary, so I went into it with fresh eyes.

Wow, it was so misogynistic.  Shakespeare usually writes pretty strong female characters, but this play was the worst in that department.  Also, I know that during this time male friendships were idealized and held in higher esteem than romantic love, which made Proteus’ utter lack of loyalty to his friend, Valentine, astounding.  Proteus was just the worst, and he didn’t even really get his comeuppance, like Shakespeare is usually good at doing.  The whole play just left a bad taste in my mouth.

The best part of the whole play was Launce, Proteus’ servant, and his faithful dog, Crab, who always gets a bad rap.  Every time he showed up, he made me laugh.  So there’s that.  There were also some fantastic lines, like:

“They do not love that do not show their love.”

“At first I did adore a twinkling star
But now I worship a celestial sun.”

“If the river were dry, I am able to fill it with my tears; if the wind were down, I could drive the boat with my sighs.”

Even if the story was frustrating and at times horrible (I’m looking at you, Proteus, in the last scene.  You utter scoundrel.), it was still beautifully written.  Darn you, Shakespeare.

Goodreads rating: 2 stars.  I just didn’t like it, even if it had some beautiful aspects.


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