O Hateful Hands, to Tear Such Loving Words!

Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act I

Two Gentlemen is an early Shakespeare play.  It’s breezy in comparison to the tragedies and dramas, and fairly straightforward next to the other comedies – at least those I’ve covered so far.

Nevertheless, I’m fascinated by the wrinkle Shakespeare added to this simple courtship tale by creating a woman so self-contradictory that even she can’t figure out what she wants or why she acts the way she does.

Wait.  This is the 16th Century we’re talking about, right?  Yup.  Shakespeare has a way of highlighting character quirks that make us all human.  In this case, a girl tears up love letters from a man she may even love – or not.  But in the first act she repeatedly refuses to read them – for reasons she can’t explain.

It’s confounding and inspiring to have the story turn on such perplexing grounds – but that’s Shakespeare.   And now her potential lover is being sent away by his father.  So now there’s an additional obstacle.

I really, really like the setup and can’t wait to see what happens next.

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