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MonkeyNotes-The Two Gentlemen of Verona by William Shakespeare
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Minor Theme

Appearance vs reality is a minor theme of the play that is closely linked to the main theme. Throughout the play, what appears to be is often not reality. Proteus appears to be Julia's faithful lover and Valentine's faithful friend. In reality, he betrays both of them without a second thought. Julia pretends to be a page to protect herself against lascivious men on the way to Milan. When she arrives and finds her true love not really true, she continues her appearance as a page in order to serve Proteus and hopefully steer him in the right direction. The reality of her identify is not revealed until late in the last scene.


Valentine appears to the bandits as a "tough" man who has been banished for killing a man; in truth, he is a meek and gentle soul who begs for kindness to women and poor people. The Duke appears to Valentine as a man desperately in love trying to make plans to elope; in reality, he is lying to entrap Valentine, which he successfully accomplishes. Since the audience or reader always understands the false appearance of the characters in the play, Shakespeare creates masterful dramatic irony. He also shows that a person cannot always be judged by appearances.

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MonkeyNotes-The Two Gentlemen of Verona by William Shakespeare
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