The Two Gentlemen of Verona

by: William Shakespeare

Act IV, Scenes i-ii

The awkward organization of Act IV, scene ii is a good example of the weakness at staging scenes that plagued Shakespeare's early works. The action freezes on the side of the stage where Thurio, Proteus, and the musicians sing the ode to Silvia. As the music tinkles in the background and Thurio and Proteus stand silent, Julia, on the other side of the stage, laments to the host the fact that she is no longer the object of Proteus' affection. When Proteus begins to woo Silvia, Julia stands by passively, muttering asides to the audience instead of confronting Proteus. The artificial creation of unrealistically separate areas on the stage draws attention to the play's immature staging. At the time he wrote The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Shakespeare was still more comfortable with the dramatics of lyric poetry for one voice than with the dramatics of theater.


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