In The Two Gentlemen of Verona Shakespeare reconstitutes Ovidian elegy to examine early modern ideas of eroticism and friendship. Shakespeare crafts characters in The Two Gents from Ovidian personae, putting their elegiac collections in contrast. Valentine’s brief stint as “love’s tutor” follows Ovid’s in the Ars Amatoria, for example. This role and his pursuit of the Duke’s daughter, Julia, leads to his exile, just as Ovid’s Ars and supposed pursuit of Augustus’s daughter, Julia, supposedly led to the exile of his Tristia. However, Shakespeare also adapts Ovid’s “learned women” and heroines for Julia and Silvia as a means to subvert the misogynist values presented through the characters of Proteus and Valentine. I argue that The Two Gents, ultimately, is a play that meditates on the casual abandonment of women, asking the audience to sympathize with these women, as Shakespeare himself was trained to do in ethopoeia exercises of the schoolroom, even in the final scene.
Olson, A. D.
""A Lamentable Part": Elegiac Characters in Shakespeare's The Two Gentlemen of Verona,"
Criticism: Vol. 62:
1, Article 3.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/criticism/vol62/iss1/3