The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1876 Tuesday, 2 November 1999.
Date: Tuesday, 02 Nov 1999 00:52:31 -0800
Subject: Re: Trivial Observation
Robin Hamilton wrote:
>>Has anyone discussed the point that +The Two Gentlemen of Verona+
>>(argued to be Shakespeare's first play) contains a "Duke of Milan", as
>>does +The Tempest+ (argued to be Shakespeare's last play).
Perhaps this reply is equally "trivial," but The Tempest almost
certainly was not Shakespeare's last play. I know about the scholarly
tradition regarding Shakespeare's supposed "farewell to the stage," but
most scholars who care about such things date both Henry VIII and Two
Noble Kinsmen as much as two years later than The Tempest. (Sorry, it's
a personal peeve-as someone who works on Fletcher, it just irks me that
scholars tend to drop those plays out of the canon when discussing the
"end" of Shakespeare's career.)
Of course, this quibble doesn't help much with your query about
Shakespeare's references to a Duke of Milan. I tend to chalk such
repetition up to coincidences stemming from Shakespeare's use of Italian
settings, but I'm sure someone else probably has a better answer.