The historical period in which the dramatic action occurs is not specified—it may be the fifteenth or sixteenth century. The first act takes place in the Italian city of Verona. As the play begins, two young men—close friends since childhood— are bidding each other farewell. One of them, Valentine, is about to leave for Milan, to learn the sophisticated ways of courtly society. He says he regrets that his friend Proteus will not be going with him, though he understands that love keeps him in Verona. The setting shifts to a garden outside a villa, where Julia, the...
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