Comments by Bob Corbett
General Note: In January 2009 I decided that I’d like to go back and read all the plays of William Shakespeare, perhaps one a month if that works out. I hadn’t read a Shakespeare play since 1959, 50 years ago! But I had read nearly all of them in college. I wanted to go back, start with something not too serious or challenging, and work my way through the whole corpus. Thus I began with The Two Gentlemen of Verona. At this time I have no idea how the project will go, nor if it will actually lead me through the entire corpus of Shakespeare’s plays. However, I will keep a separate page listing each play I’ve read with links to any comments I would make of that particular play. See: List of Shakespeare’s play’s I’ve read and commented on
This is a typical romp in Shakespeare’s comedies. There is a girl dressing as a boy, and then a brother whom she thinks dead who looks like her, so the two are confused by others. There are lies and pranks “for fun” which get way out of hand and cause great misery for some. There are people believed dead who are really alive and all the confusions get resolved in the end.
It is a fun romp and silly. I didn’t find the level of insight into human character in this play that I tend to find in Shakespeare’s less comedic plays, and even in some of the comedies.
Further, this play isn’t graced by many really memorable lines and the one set, used several times in the play has a bit ironic history as it comes into modern times.
The famous lines are:
The irony is that the quote has come down to us as some great wisdom. However, in the play it is part of a rather terrible joke played on a pompous servant of Countess Olivia. I did like that tidbit as much as anything else in the play.
Twelfth Night is a quick read, fun in the main, mean in places, but not one of Shakespeare’s more exceptional works.Bob Corbett email@example.com
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