Friendship in The Two Gentlemen of Verona
ヴェローナ ノ ニ シンシ ニオケル ユウジョウ
80 , 2015-10-01
The ideal friendship in Renaissance England was based on Cicero’s De Amicitia, where he claimed, “friendship cannot exist except in good men.”Humanists related the virtues of “good men” in friendship with the courtly advice, so that they restricted friendship within the learned. Education was only allowed to the aristocracy and the newly rising class including the humanists, so they could expect the idea of friendship to sustain their social identity and status.On the other hand, the learned had to compete with each other, and sometimes to fl atter their masters and rivals in order to achieve social success, though fl attery was defi nitely denounced in both Ciceronian and Renaissance friendship.The Two Gentlemen of Verona refl ects both the humanists’ ideal and problem in friendship. Valentine and Proteus develop their friendship through reciprocal advice giving. However, their friendship is testifi ed when they fall in love with the same lady named Silvia, a daughter whose father is their master, the Duke of Milan. The two young gentlemen have to develop the ideal relationship with their master, and simultaneously to compete with their rivals both as courtiers and as lovers. Valentin advises and fl atters the Duke, but he cannot be so evaluated as to achieve his love. On the other hand, Proteus advices and fl atter his master to achieve his favour and do the same things to his friend and rival in order to defeat them.Some humanists excluded women from their ideal friendship, but others did not. Elyot and Castiglione argued the court ladies whose virtues are not inferior to male courtiers’. According to them, the court ladies can modestly correct the error of men. Likewise in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, male to male friendship is corrected only through the female advice reinforced by their chastity and female to female friendship. Sexual difference does not matter in true friendship.In fact, regardless of any sexuality, all the friendships are referred to as love in the play. Moreover, the ideal counsel is regarded as “feminine” by the humanists,because it does not offend the listeners, but indirectly moves them.