‘The Two Gentlemen of Verona’ (TGoV), was the first play to be ever written by Shakespeare, partly because it shares the plot elements of romantic narrative.
In this essay, I am going to show you the many ways in which Shakespeare entertains his audience in TGoV; in his time – then – and in our time – now.
I think one of the most entertaining features Shakespeare uses is dramatic irony. This is very effective as the audience may feel stressed or annoyed because they feel it is not right and that the characters should know. It also emphasizes the limited nature of human understanding, through the characters, and causes the reader to pause or reflect on a certain moment. The use of dramatic irony creates humour; this makes the play work well, allowing the characters relationship to work better.
One of the biggest of dramatic irony in this play is the fact that Julia is going undercover, dressed as a page called Sebastian. It was so that she could meet with Proteus, her love whom has sworn total devotion to her (“” – ). They, Julia and her beloved (Proteus), had also exchanged rings with each other to make sure they will always remember one another and swear they would stay together till the very end (“” – ).
Still dressed as a page, she discovers the secret Proteus has kept from her about loving Silvia (“” – ). Although, whilst knowing the truth, she still loves Proteus, remaining constant and still in love with him even when he betrays her (“” – ). She seems to be the most true to life character in the play because of this.
Julia is supposedly very courageous and foolish dressing up as a boy just to see her love – even if it kills her (“” – ). But, as the audience and now she now knows it: he didn’t keep that promise; because of his lust to Silvia (“” – ). The fact that Julia has to change from a woman to a man is entertaining when the play is in performance. Around Shakespeare’s time men played as women and Women as men. So when Julia changes into a man, it would be hard for the actor, costume change as he is already a man.
Other Examples of Shakespeare’s effective use of dramatic irony:
“Go, give your master this. Tell him from me, |One Julia, that his changing thoughts forget,
|Would better fit his chamber than this shadow.” (Silvia – 18.104.22.168)
This is an effective use dramatic irony because the audience know Julia is dressed as Sebastian the page, though Silvia doesn’t know this and that she is actually talking to Julia about her and how Proteus forgot her. During this, the audience may feel sympathy to Julia.
“Sir Valentine’s page; and sent, I think, from Proteus.” (Lucetta – 22.214.171.124)
This is a good use of dramatic irony because the audience know that speed gave that love letter (from Proteus) to Lucetta, thinking it was Julia (who he was supposed to give it to) and therefore he gave it to the wrong person. The way Lucetta acted when she received the letter from him wasn’t pleasing and so he thinks Julia is not a nice person because of the way Lucetta acted when she received the letter from him.
Dramatic ironies are also found in soliloquies as only the audience and the one character him/herself know what they’re thinking and the other characters don’t know what he/she thinks about, therefore they don’t know what they really want to do or know and their true character, causing dramatic irony effect.
Shakespeare’s effective use of dramatic irony in a soliloquy:
“To leave my Julia…to plot this drift!” (Proteus – Act 2.6 pg 39 – 41)
This is effective use of dramatic irony because the audience now knows that he loves Silvia more than he loves Julia (forgetting that she’s alive – “”) and his best friend Valentine (holding him an enemy – “”) plus is willing to do anything to get Silvia (“”) and they don’t know it.
This also shows Proteus isn’t very faithful; to both best friend (Valentine) and the love he swore total devotion to (Julia). It is also showing he can get bored very easily and he thinks love is much more precious than a good friend and will do anything to get what he wants (“”).