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The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Arden Shakespeare: Third Series) Paperback – March 18, 2004

3.8 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

William C. Carroll is Professor of English at Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts. His publications include The Great Feast of Language in 'Love's Labour's Lost', The Metamorphoses of Shakespearean Comedy, and Fat King, Lean Beggar: Representations of Poverty in the Age of Shakespeare. In addition, he has edited Thomas Middleton's Women Beware Women for the New Mermaid series and Macbeth: Texts and Contexts for the Bedford Shakespeare.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Arden Shakespeare; 3rd edition (March 18, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1903436958
  • ISBN-13: 978-1903436950
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #132,099 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Inspiring all of his other comedies that basically fit into the exact same plot structure and storyline, TWO GENTLEMEN is a fun, predictable romp through Verona's streets. As with all of his other romcoms, Shakespeare sets out to tell a tale of misplaced love, unwanted affection, crossdressing, and simple twists of fate that lead our characters astray, and then together once more by the end. There is a silly villain, letters that never reach their intended, and disguises, all coming together to build comedy using situational and dramatic irony.

I read this as an undergraduate in college, and found it to be fun, but now as an adult and having read all of Shakespeare's works (and even other author's interpretations of Shakespeare's work such as The Tragedy of Arthur and Macbeth II: The Seed Of Banquo) I find the work to be mediocre and predictable. That isn't to say it isn't good - but as the Reduced Shakespeare Company says, "Why Did You Write Sixteen Comedies, When You Could've Written Just 1?"

It's true. This play is the same as TAMING, MIDSUMMER, MERRY WIVES, and others (well, not really the Tempest - but none of his plays are like the Tempest), and it really is the formulaic inspiration that is copied in the other comedy texts. It is effective in one major place - the fact that it made Mr. Shakespeare money, and he was well aware of what his audiences liked.

That is not to say it is a bad play - it isn't at all. There are some genuinely funny places in it (my favorite, "...but you are so without these follies that these follies are within you, and shine through you like the water in an urinal").
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I always get the Arden editions of Shakespeare. They are very detailed and user friendly.

Being one of Shakespeare's early plays the plot is a little inconsistant. It seems in the last scene that shakespeare just wanted to finish the play and therefore everything happens in a few pages that makes it a little unrealistic.

The play does have some lovely speeches though, and is quite comical and an easy story to follow.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I am strictly a Shakespeare amateur. I am trying to become "well read" by self education.

According to my studies, it is generally believed that this is an early work of Shakespeare, maybe his first "comedy" and maybe his first play. It is seldom performed. And for me, reading Shakespeare is not as enjoyable as watching a good performance.

If it is correct that this is an early Shakespeare play, and I think that it is, one of the most valuable aspects of the play is reading it and comparing it to his later work. There is a gentleman named Harold Bloom who writes about literature. Mr. Bloom has observed if one reads an early Shakespeare play and compare it to some of his contemporaries, such as Christopher Marlowe, Shakespeare is more or less just another decent playwright. I have followed Mr. Bloom's advice and done this. I agree with Mr. Bloom.

Shakespeare evolves and emerges as a unique playwright in later plays. I think that is why an early play like this is seldom performed. I mean, when is the last time you saw a performance of a play by Christerpher Marlowe? Anyway this, to me, is the true value of Two Gentlemen of Verona.

Also, this play is classified as a "comedy". This does not mean this is slapstick such as a prime time network sitcom. As best I can tell it means the play has a happy ending. There are parts of this play that makes me cringe. I have read several Shakespeare "comedies". I have never read one that did not make me cringe at some point.

Shakespeare also seems to write stories that trivialize women. That may have been normal at this time in history, despite the fact that the ruler of England was Queen Elizabeth I.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I love the history and the footnotes really helped my teen actors understand the context if their lines. The only negative thing about the book itself was that the pages were not glued in as well as others we had used and we often had pages flying around the stage.
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The influence of love, and the question, what is love, that's a perennial focus of literature, and changes with the times, as values change, is the focus of this comedy. Shakespeare has such insight into character, and is so clever with language and able to pinpoint the effect of different characters upon each other, in a funny and skillful way, offering actors parts to die for..
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Some say this was Shakespeare's first play and it was very well written. In fact some of the speeches were jaw-droopingly beautiful and within them, I imagined Shakespeare then moving on to write Romeo & Julliet and Hamlet.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am a great fan of classical literature and when I discovered Kindles Free Books I went bonkers with happiness. Two Gentlemen of Verona Is a very good book, slightly slow to read, but that is only because of the old style of dialect. Even if it is not the hard knowledge of a real book I encourage you to grab this now, its worth it.
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