The Two Gentlemen of Verona | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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The Two Gentlemen of Verona | Act 2, Scene 3 | Summary



Elsewhere in Verona Proteus's servant, Lance, is lamenting his departure from his hometown. Everyone in the family, he reflects, cried when he left home—everyone but his dog. Crab, whom he now accuses of being "the sourest-natured dog that lives." Lance awkwardly attempts to recreate the scene using shoes and other props as stand-ins for his family members. As he busies himself with this little pantomime, Pantino arrives in a huff and urges Lance to hurry onward to Verona. After a brief exchange of comical insults, Lance agrees to depart.


Lance is the play's major source of comic relief, and this scene is one of his best. Like other Shakespearean clowns, his mode of speech mingles grand rhetorical gestures with goofy malapropisms—humorously misspoken phrases like "the Prodigious Son." Moreover it seems silly to chide Crab, the dog, for not weeping at Lance's departure since the dog is evidently going along with him to Milan. What Lance lacks in sophistication, however, he makes up for in kindheartedness and loyalty. He is, as later scenes will show, willing to suffer much on behalf of his beloved pet—even if Crab "has no more pity in him than a dog." As servants often show themselves wiser than their masters, they also show more loyalty. Lance is always faithful to Proteus and to Crab, the dog, whereas Proteus is deceitful to those who care most for him.

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