Last summer, XY Canada contributor Craig Macbride read every one of Shakespeare’s plays – so that you don’t have to. And now, monthly, he’s going to provide you with a quick and useful summary of each play, and what it teaches you about women. For teaching you about women, as we all know, was Shakespeare’s intent. This week: Shakespeare’s first play – one that’s all about loyalty versus love. It’s a bit of a weird story, so read on.
TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA:
If you’re a Jerry Springer viewer – and if you are we advise you to never admit it – you’ve probably seen an episode in which a woman has cheated on her husband with one of his friends.
During the ensuing argument, the husband will say, “Bros before hoes, man, bros before hoes,” and the friend will lower his head and know he has broken an important rule.
Like Springer guests, the rule is simple.
In Two Gentleman of Verona, which most scholars believe to be Shakespeare’s first play, the two gents, Valentine and Proteus, both fall for the same woman, Sylvia.
Proteus ranks hoes above bros and gets his friend banished to the forest, which of course makes Sylvia chase after the banished guy. (Bad idea, dude.) Proteus then chases Sylvia, then tries to rape her, then repents, and is then offered Sylvia by Valentine, who believes bros more important than hoes. Proteus says thank, bro, but no thanks, and he goes back to his old girlfriend, Julia.
Inexplicably, everyone lives happily ever after.
Now, if this play ever does come up in conversation, we recommend you avoid using the bros and hoes terminology. Instead, focus on how strong yet underappreciated the women in the play are: Sylvia takes to the dangerous forest to get her man; Julia dresses in drag to follow her boyfriend. Shakespeare loved strong women, and yet these aristocratic guys seem to get off remarkably easily for trading them around like so many hockey cards.
Lesson from Shakespeare: Avoid trouble – call dibs.