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.
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.
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.)