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Themes

Little Words, Big Ideas

Friendship

Two Gentlemen of Verona is often described as a "celebration" of male friendship. In the play, male bonds are threatened by heterosexual romance and one man's capacity for betrayal. While some crit...

Love

Love makes men and women do some pretty strange things in Two Gentlemen of Verona. It turns men and women into fickle creatures and has the potential to transform men into unrecognizable and lovesi...

Transformation

Like a lot of Shakespeare plays, The Two Gentlemen of Verona toys with the common sixteenth-century notion that love can transform men and women (but mostly men) into something unrecognizable. Ulti...

Violence

Two Gentlemen of Verona culminates in an attempted rape that is narrowly averted and quickly forgiven. In fact, the threat of sexual violence seems to echo all throughout the play. Proteus's attemp...

Lies and Deceit

Deception, disguise, and betrayal are par for the course in Two Gentlemen of Verona. When characters disguise their identities and/or their true intentions, the result is a plot with the kinds of t...

Gender

In Two Gentlemen of Verona, we see some blatantly sexist attitudes that echo common sixteenth-century attitudes toward women. In the play, various characters suggest that women are fickle, deceptiv...

Marriage

Marriage between a man and a woman is the union that all of Shakespeare's comedies work toward. In order to achieve such a union, the characters in Two Gentlemen of Verona must overcome several obs...

Society and Class

While some earlier sixteenth-century plays portray servants as shadows of the main characters (minor characters and servants often mimicked their masters' behaviors), Shakespeare does something rel...
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