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Examples and Samples

Love and Friendship in The Two Gentlemen of Verona.

The Two Gentlemen of Verona is known to be the first play created by William Shakespeare. It was never staged while he was alive. Some critics say that, if compared to later works of the great Englishman, it looks a bit immature, but as in every work of the author, the eternal life questions are asked in the play.

The main problems, highlighted in the comedy, are those of friendship, love and fidelity. The conflict of the play lies in the question, which is topical nowadays – several centuries afterwards – what is more important, love or friendship? In the times of Shakespeare, even though Renaissance had already started its propaganda of the fact that a human being does have a body apart from its immortal soul, the attitude to friendship was more respectful and warm. In the play two best friends, Valentine and Proteus, are faced with the eternal problem – a woman between them, whom they both fall in love with. One of them forgets the years of friendly ties and, blinded by passion, betrays their friendship, which nearly kills his friend.

So, here comes the main question – is there everything fair in love and war? At the end of the play, Proteus, a friend-betrayer, admits that he was wrong and is forgiven by noble Valentine. But in his plays Shakespeare chanted the praises of human nobility and kindness, so he could not possibly direct the plot differently. Nevertheless, it is a good reason to pound on the problem of love and friendship and decide where those limits are, when even the deepest and the closest friendship can be ruined for the sake of love.

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