Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Two Gentlemen of Verona

The Two Gentlemen of Verona isn't going to win any awards, but it's a fun play. We used an entirely new format for this episode, focusing on character instead of doing a scene by scene analysis. Let us know what you think!

Next Episode: The First Folio

Episode outline after the break:

The Two Gentlemen of Verona

   1. Introduction
   2. Classification/Sources
         1. Comedy
         2. Possibly Shakey's first play, certainly one of the first.
         3. quite derivative of romantic comedies of the time
               1. specifically comes from a few plays of the time, including some of Romeus and Juliet, notably the mention of Friar Laurence.
         4. We see glimpses of what Shakespeare would do in later plays.
   3. Publications
         1. First appeared in the First Folio,
         2. mentioned in 1598 Meres, people guess somewhere about 1590
   4. Setting
         1. Could be anywhere, really, impossible to know
   5. Plot
         1. 60 second summary
               1. Proteus love Julia, Valentine goes off for adventure
               2. Proteus pretends that his love letter is from Valentine, not Julia, gets sent after Valentine, both Valentine and Proteus fall in love with Sylvia
               3. Julia follows Proteus dressed as a boy, becomes his servant type guy
               4. Proteus betrays Valentine's plan to elope with Sylvia to her father Duke of Milan, he's found out, and exiled to the forest
               5. Proteus tries to court Sylvia while pretending to help Thurio, Duke's choice of suitor, she rejects both
               6. Valentine meets some thieves/noblemen, and becomes their king
               7. Eglamore helps escape Sylvia into the woods, Proteus finds her there, where Valentine confronts him.
               8. The lovers pair off, Thurio is intimidated by Valentine Duke of Milan declares Thurio a wuss, and all is well.
         2. How to do the plot without taking forever?
               1. Characters!
         3. Proteus
                     1. Name comes from Ovid, the ever changing sea god. (Character is inconsistent)
                     1. Hard to come off as anything other than a jerk
                           1. wildly, passionately, devotedly, Hopelessly in love
                     2. Has a good speech about how his love changes in act 2 scene 4 and scene 6
               1. Julia
                     1. Dressses as a boy, so an adventurer, I guess. Loves love more than honour
                     2. Has a good speech to her letter
                     3. has some good irony in act II scene 7 talking about how constant proteus is, since he's already abandoned her.
         4. Valentine
                     1. Romantic and dopey
                     2. good bit where he delivers a letter to himself
                     3. good speech on love act II scene IV
                     4. when exiled, says that it's comparable to death, since it's being separated from self, ie sylvia
               1. Sylvia
                     1. just a target for love, I think
         5. Duke of Milan
                     1. Clever, tricks Valentine act III scene I

               1. Thurio
                     1. Stupid, boring
         6. Launce
                     1. Has some good speeches, most of the comedy is here
                           1. talking about leaving his family, with clothing as family members
                           2. punning contest act II scene 5
                                 1. staff understands him, stands under him, haha

               1. Crab
                     1. Act 4 Scene IV is Crab's time
               2. Speed
                     1. has duels of wits with folks. Sheep in scene one, where it holds him late,
                     2. later Launce's letter, which holds him late
   6. Themes
         1. Friendship and loyalty
   7. Evaluation
         1. Mainly used as a way for critics to think of clever ways to mock it
               1. The title is deceptive
               2. the dog is the best character
   8. Performances/Interpretations
         1. Is Valentine giving Silvia to Proteus, or giving his love to Proteus?
         2. modern version in two gents
         3. BBC version is legit
   9. Our thoughts
         1. Jeff- Decent play, Proteus should die though.
         2. decent play, but not something to seek out
  10. News
  11. Signing off
         1. Democracy isn't government by the people, it's government of those who speak out.


  1. Hey guys -
    Which films of King Lear would you recommend?

  2. I haven't seen any version of King Lear, other then Kurosawa's Ran, which is awesome. From what I understand, Laurence Olivier's 1983 version of King Lear is excellent, as is Ian McKellan's 2007 performance. Both should be available on video. It also appears that Al Pacino will be starring as King Lear in a version to be released later this year.

  3. The Ian McKellan version of "King Lear" is excellent, AND it is available on Netflix Instant Watch.

  4. Thanks for the suggestions!

    By the way, I like the analysis by character for this episode. I was confused during the 60-second summary because of all the characters, so going through by each one helped a lot with comprehension.

  5. The extended synopsis is the better one. The comments that draw it out are the crux of this excellent program.

  6. i like the other synopsis' more. seeing and meeting characters as they come and go. I like how you experiment though. i do like the sarcastic remarks about writing and undertones.

  7. The add to what I said, I think that character-by-character works better for some plays more than others (for this one I thought that it worked, and it would work with something like Midsummer with lots of different plot-lines).

    Also, I had a lovely discussion with an Oxfordian today and I'm still not convinced by her. Thanks again for the excellent breakdown of arguments (or lack of arguments...) regarding the authorship question - very useful. You might also find it pleasing to see that 0 people are fans of "Anti-Stratfordians" on Facebook. Yaay!!/pages/Anti-Stratfordians/114731325209755?ref=search&sid=1234440630.1716088224..1

  8. I much prefer the old version of the plot summary.

    To me, doing it by character made it more convoluted and difficult to follow.

    I understand how someone could think that straight up plot summaries are boring and long, but often the plots of Shakespeare's plays can be rather complex and therefore require a "longish" summary.

    Personally, I never found the old style of summary to be long or boring. I think that the conversational way in which you two present the material makes it highly digestible.

    Anyways, my vote is that you guys go back to the old format.

    Still liking the 60-second summary though! It's very helpful to have a general framework to put the pieces into as I listen to the full summary.

  9. Keep the scene by summary as it is, why change a concept that was clearly working and was logical for what is an introductory series?

    Can we please have Othello soon? With a seperate analysis of Iago a la Falstaff.

    David, UK, soon to be English teacher.

    PS: when u finish with Shakespeare, what will you do next?

  10. Man, something AFTER this? We don't even plan more than one episode ahead. I can't imagine what we'll do after 75 episodes of this, I can't even say that we'll get to the end of it.

  11. Just make sure you get all the plays done.

    David, UK