Emily Loney, Texts, Textiles and Agency: Gendered Performance in The Two Gentlemen of Verona
In Shakespeare's The Two Gentlemen of Verona, the heroine, Julia, starts the play as a modest maiden, but finds new agency when she looks toward the possibility of a romantic relationship. The promise of such a relationship removes from her some of the passivity of her maidenly role, while not yet fully incorporating her into the marriage plot as a wife. In this uncertain, liminal identity, Julia finds a space in which she can exercise a new sense of agency and perform a more active role in society. As she interacts with letters and even cross-dresses, Julia asserts an agency which she can reconcile with her femininity. Although some of her newfound agency is inevitably contained by the marriage plot, Julia's evolution from maid to wife allows the play to explore issues of how agency and gender intertwine in performance.