''Two Gentlemen of Verona'' is one of Shakespeare's earliest comedies, and perhaps even his earliest play period. The two gentlemen in the title, Proteus and Valentine, are sent by their fathers to the imperial court at Milan, where they both fall in love with the emperor's daughter Sylvia. Unfortunately, Proteus was already in love with his childhood friend Julia. Proteus contrives to have Valentine banished by the emperor (or Duke, the play is just a bit inconsistent) so he can have Sylvia all to himself, but she is repulsed by his treachery. Meanwhile Julia has come to Milan disguised as a boy to try to reunite with Proteus, and Valentine has become the leader of a band of lovable rogues.

''Two Gents'' is a controversial play for many reasons, not the least of which is Proteus' attempted rape of Sylvia near the end and his ''very'' quick forgiveness. Many see it as one of Shakespeare's weaker plays, and the hasty ending seems to indicate a fledgling playwright. However, a lot of the tropes Shakespeare would use several times over throughout the course of his career first show up here: the clownish servant, the girl disguised as a boy, etc.

Has nothing to do with [[Theatre/RomeoAndJuliet that other play]], which is also set in Verona.
!!Tropes featured in ''Two Gentlemen of Verona'' include:
* AbsenceMakesTheHeartGoYonder: It doesn't take long for Proteus to forget his vows of eternal love to Julia after he sees Sylvia.
* AmbiguouslyGay: Despite the play's basically heterosexual LoveDodecahedron, it's not hard for Valentine and Proteus to come off as this to modern viewers. In Shakespeare's day, male friendship was seen as a higher ideal than romantic love between a man and a woman.
* ArrangedMarriage / ParentalMarriageVeto: Sylvia's father wants her to marry Tyrio, and banishes Valentine when he learns that Valentine's in love with her.
* ArtisticLicenseGeography / CriticalResearchFailure: '''Averted''': while the gentlemen and their servants take a ship to get from Verona to Padua (or Milan, the script says both at different times), and all three cities do not have access to the sea, the three cities did have access to an extensive network of canals linking Verona to Padua and Milan. Some of these canals [[http://www.gwu.edu/~ieresgwu/assets/docs/CanalsofMilan.pdf are still around today]], though their transportation uses have been replaced by modern transportation methods.
%%* BeMyValentine
* BetaCouple: Valentine and Sylvia.
* CanineCompanion: Crab to Launce. With all the dysfunctional relationships going on elsewhere, Launce's love for Crab is widely regarded as the purest love in the entire play.
* CloudCuckoolander: Launce.
* CoupledCouples: The original couples of Valentine and Sylvia and Proteus and Julia end up together by the end of the play.
* DeusExMachina: The finale, in which all the play's conflicts are resolved because the people who were perpetuating them simultaneously get bored of doing so.
* EasilyForgiven: Proteus at the end of the play.
* FirstGirlWins: Proteus ends up realizing he's in love with Julia after all, and the ending implies that they're about to get married.
* HeterosexualLifePartners / VitriolicBestBuds: Proteus and Valentine, as well as their respective servants, Launce and Speed.
* IronicName: Speed. (Not entirely ironic. He's said to "have a quick wit"..."And yet I was last chidden for being too slow.")
* IWillWaitForYou: Julia for Proteus. Until she gets tired of waiting and goes after him.
* TheJeeves: Speed.
* LongDistanceRelationship: The one between Proteus and Julia doesn't work out so well...
* LoveMakesYouEvil: Proteus, big-time.
* {{Malaproper}}: Launce.
* MeaningfulName:
** [[BeMyValentine Valentine, the patron saint of lovers]].
** Proteus was named after a sea monster of mythology who could change its shape, indicating Proteus' inconstancy and treacherousness.
** The servant Speed is said to have a "quick wit". Doubles as an ironic name, since he's constantly running late and "chidden for being too slow".
** Crab the dog is probably named, not after the animal, but after a "crab-apple", commonly referred to simply as a "crab"--appropriate, since Launce calls him "the sourest-natured dog that lives".
* MisterMuffykins: The "little jewel" of a dog that Proteus attempted to send to Silvia is implied to have been this; Launce contemptuously refers to it as a "squirrel". It's stolen from Launce by a bunch of marketplace delinquents, at which point he attempts to give his own dog, Crab, to Silvia, the logic being that Crab is [[BiggerIsBetter ten times bigger than the other dog and therefore superior.]]
* TheMourningAfter: Eglamour apparently vowed perpetual chastity after the lady he loved died.
* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: Proteus' response toward the end of the play, after realizing just how far he's fallen.
* NearRapeExperience: Proteus' threatened rape of Sylvia in the finale.
* NiceToTheWaiter: Valentine, the NiceGuy, treats his servant, Speed, as a friend. Proteus treats his own servant, Launce, like dirt, and appropriately he turns out to be a heel.
* NobleFugitive: The bandits, and eventually Valentine as well.
* ThePiratesWhoDontDoAnything: We never see the bandits in the forest actually engage in banditry.
* PungeonMaster: Launce, and to a lesser extent Speed.
* SadClown: Launce.
-->"Nay, it will be this hour ere I have done weeping."
* ServileSnarker: Speed.
--> '''Proteus:''' Beshrew me, but you have a quick wit.
--> '''Speed:''' And yet it cannot overtake your slow purse.
* SpellMyNameWithAnS: So...is it "Lance" or "Launce"?
** For that matter, we've got either "Thurio," "Turio," or "Tyrio."
* StalkerWithACrush: Proteus to Sylvia.
* StrippingTheScarecrow: In the musical version, Julia and Lucetta sing about getting their SweetPollyOliver costumes from a scarecrow.
* SweetPollyOliver: Julia.
* UrineTrouble: In a monologue, Launce recounts a few humiliating experiences of this kind with Crab.
--> Nay, I remember the trick you served me when I took my leave of Madam Silvia: did not I bid thee still mark me and do as I do? when didst thou see me heave up my leg and make water against a gentlewoman's farthingale? didst thou ever see me do such a trick?