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Two Gentlemen of Verona is one of Shakespeare's earliest comedies. The two gentlemen in the title, Proteus and Valentine, are sent by their fathers to the imperial court at Milan, where they both fall in love with the emperor's daughter Sylvia. Unfortunately, Proteus was already in love with his childhood friend Julia...
Tropes featured in Two Gentlemen of Verona include:
- Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder
- Ambiguously Gay: Despite the play's basically heterosexual Love Dodecahedron, it's not hard for Valentine and Proteus to come off as this.
- Arranged Marriage / Parental Marriage Veto: Sylvia's father wants her to marry Tyrio, and banishes Valentine when he learns that Valentine's in love with her.
- Artistic License Geography / Critical Research Failure: Averted: while the gentlemen and their servants take a ship to get from Verona to Padua (or Milan, the script says both at different times), and all three cities do not have access to the sea, the three cities did have access to an extensive network of canals linking Verona to Padua and Milan. Some of these canals are still around today, though their transportation uses have been replaced by modern transportation methods.
- Be My Valentine
- Beta Couple: Valentine and Sylvia.
- Canine Companion: Crab to Launce. With all the dysfunctional relationships going on elsewhere, Launce's love for Crab is widely regarded as the purest love in the entire play.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Launce
- Deus Ex Machina: The finale, in which all the play's conflicts are resolved because the people who were perpetuating them simultaneously get bored of doing so.
- Easily Forgiven: Proteus at the end of the play.
- First Girl Wins: Proteus ends up realizing he's in love with Julia after all, and the ending implies that they're about to get married.
- Heterosexual Life Partners / Vitriolic Best Buds: Proteus and Valentine, as well as their respective servants, Launce and Speed.
- Ironic Name: Speed. (Not entirely ironic. He's said to "have a quick wit"..."And yet I was last chidden for being too slow.")
- I Will Wait for You: Julia for Proteus. Until she gets tired of waiting and goes after him.
- The Jeeves: Speed.
- Long-Distance Relationship: The one between Proteus and Julia doesn't work out so well...
- Love Makes You Evil: Proteus, big-time.
- Malaproper: Launce.
- Meaningful Name:
- Valentine, the patron saint of lovers.
- Proteus was named after a sea monster of mythology who could change its shape, indicating Proteus' inconstancy and treacherousness.
- The servant Speed is said to have a "quick wit". Doubles as an ironic name, since he's constantly running late and "chidden for being too slow".
- Crab the dog is probably named, not after the animal, but after a "crab-apple", commonly referred to simply as a "crab"--appropriate, since Launce calls him "the sourest-natured dog that lives".
- Mister Muffykins: The "little jewel" of a dog that Proteus attempted to send to Silvia is implied to have been this; Launce contemptuously refers to it as a "squirrel". It's stolen from Launce by a bunch of marketplace delinquents, at which point he attempts to give his own dog, Crab, to Silvia, the logic being that Crab is ten times bigger than the other dog and therefore superior.
- The Mourning After: Eglamour apparently vowed perpetual chastity after the lady he loved died.
- Near-Rape Experience: Proteus' threatened rape of Sylvia in the finale.
- Nice to the Waiter: Valentine, the Nice Guy, treats his servant, Speed, as a friend. Proteus treats his own servant, Launce, like dirt, and appropriately he turns out to be a heel.
- Noble Fugitive: The bandits, and eventually Valentine as well.
- ~The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything~: We never see the bandits in the forest actually engage in banditry.
- Pungeon Master: Launce, and to a lesser extent Speed.
- Servile Snarker: Speed.
Proteus: Beshrew me, but you have a quick wit.
Speed: And yet it cannot overtake your slow purse.
- Spell My Name with an "S": So...is it "Lance" or "Launce"?
- Stalker with a Crush: Proteus to Sylvia.
- Sweet Polly Oliver: Julia.
- Urine Trouble: In a monologue, Launce recounts a few humiliating experiences of this kind with Crab.
Nay, I remember the trick you served me when I took my leave of Madam Silvia: did not I bid thee still mark me and do as I do? when didst thou see me heave up my leg and make water against a gentlewoman's farthingale? didst thou ever see me do such a trick?