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The Two Gentlemen of Verona

The Two Gentlemen of Verona tells the story of two devoted friends, Valentine and Proteus. Valentine leaves their home city of Verona for Milan, but Proteus, in love with Julia, stays behind. Then Proteus's father sends him to Milan, too. Before leaving, Proteus pledges his love to Julia.

In Milan, Valentine and the duke's daughter, Sylvia, are in love. Proteus, on arriving, falls in love with Sylvia at first sight. He reveals to the duke that Sylvia and Valentine plan to elope, and Valentine is banished. Meanwhile, Proteus's earlier love, Julia, assumes a male disguise and travels to Milan.

The banished Valentine meets outlaws and becomes their leader. Sylvia, in search of Valentine, is seized by his outlaws. Proteus rescues her and then, when she spurns him, tries to rape her. Valentine stops the rape, but out of friendship offers to yield Sylvia to Proteus. Julia, however, reveals her identity, regaining Proteus's love. Two weddings are planned: Valentine with Sylvia, and Proteus with Julia.

Early printed texts

The Two Gentlemen of Verona appeared in print for the first time in the 1623 First Folio, and that text serves as the basis for all subsequent editions.

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Item Title: 
Works. 1623] Mr. William Shakespeares comedies, histories, & tragedies : published according to the true originall copies.
Item Call Number: 
STC 22273 Fo.1 no.68
Item Creator: 
Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616.
Item Date: 
1623

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Item Title: 
Mr. VVilliam Shakespeares comedies, histories, and tragedies. : Published according to the true originall copies.
Item Call Number: 
STC 22274 Fo.2 no.07
Item Creator: 
Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616.
Item Date: 
1632

Picturing The Two Gentlemen of Verona

As part of an NEH-funded project, the Folger digitized thousands of 18th-, 19th-, and early 20th-century images representing Shakespeare’s plays. Some of these images show actors in character, while others show the plays as if they were real-life events—telling the difference isn't always easy. A selection of images related to The Two Gentlemen of Verona is shown below, with links to our digital image collection.

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Walter Crane illustration of Julia and Lucetta with Proteus's letter (Act 1, scene 2; late 19th or early 20th century)

Item Title: 
Julia: "To Julia, ...Say, from whom?" Lucetta: "That the contents will show", act 1, sc. 2 [graphic] / C.
Item Call Number: 
ART Box C891 no.4 (size S)
Item Creator: 
Crane, Walter, 1845-1915, artist.
Item Date: 
[19th century or early 20th century]

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Julia (Act 4, scene 4; 1850)

Item Title: 
Julia, Two gentlemen of Verona, act 4, sc. 4 [graphic] / J.J. Jenkins ; B. Eyles.
Item Call Number: 
ART File S528t7 no.52 copy 3 (size XS)
Item Creator: 
Eyles, B., printmaker.
Item Date: 
[S.l. : s.n., ca. 1850]

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Eglamour and Silvia leave the abbey (Act 5, scene 1; 19th century)

Item Title: 
[Two gentlemen of Verona, V, 1, Eglamour and Silvia leave the abbey] [graphic] / [Alexandre Bida].
Item Call Number: 
ART Box B584 no.20 (size S)
Item Creator: 
Bida, Alexandre, 1813-1895, artist.
Item Date: 
[19th century]

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Valentine rescues Silvia from Proteus (Act 5, scene 4; late 18th or 19th century)

Item Title: 
Two gentlemen of Verona, act V, scene IV, Ruffian, let go that rude uncivil touch [graphic] / T. Stothard, R.A. pinxt. ; J. Thompson sc.
Item Call Number: 
ART File S528t7 no.24 (size XS)
Item Creator: 
Thompson, John, 1785-1866, printmaker.
Item Date: 
[S.l. : s.n., late 18th cent. or 19th cent.]

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John Quick as Launce (late 18th century)

Item Title: 
Mr. Quick as Launce [in Shakespeare's Two gentlemen of Verona] [graphic].
Item Call Number: 
ART File Q6.4 no.2 (size XS)
Item Date: 
[Great Britain? s.n., late 18th century?]

More images of Two Gentlemen of Verona can be seen in our digital image collection. (Because of how they were cataloged, some images from other plays might appear in the image searches linked here, so always check the sidebar to see if the image is described as part of a larger group.)