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com/2008/06/05/filipino-essay-what-is-an-educated-filipino/ Shakespeare's Fools: Launce and Speed in The Two Gentlemen of Verona From The Fools of Shakespeare by Frederick Warde. London: McBride, Nast & company. There seems to be little doubt but that the comedy of "The Two Gentlemen of Verona" was one of the earliest of the poet's dramatic works. There is no authentic record of its first presentation, but it is the general impression among the commentators that it occurred in 1591 or 1592. Sidney Lee, probably the most accurate and reliable authority on Shakespeareana, places it second in order of production. It was not printed in the author's lifetime, nor was it published till it was included in the First Folio edition of collected plays that appeared in 1623, seven years after the poet's death. There is a crude conventionality in the construction of the plot, inexperience in the development of the characters, and immaturity in its deductive philosophy. These conditions confirm the view-point taken above, and are entirely consistent with the known facts. Shakespeare was at this time but twenty-seven years of age, had been in London but six or seven years, and though study and observation had given him some idea of dramatic composition, it was on conventional lines only; experience had not yet developed his powers or given him any marked individuality. Mrs. Cowden Clarke goes so far as to suggest that the comedy was probably one of the MSS. that Shakespeare took with him to London. This is disproved, I think, by his references in the play to historical and mythological characters, with which he would hardly be familiar before his advent into the metropolis. I doubt if Shakespeare did any literary work of a dramatic character before he went to London. It was his association with a company of professional actors, in a varied repertory of plays, with the environment of a regularly equipped theater, that revealed to him the possibilities of the drama, inspired his ambition, and developed his genius. There is no originality in the story of "The Two Gentlemen of Verona," nor in any of the incidents of the comedy. The characters are but prototypes of those which appear, elaborated and completed, in his later plays, after experience had matured his powers and given him a deeper insight into human nature. This is particularly true of Launce and Speed, the two clownish servants in the comedy, who are reproduced as the two Dromios, in "The Comedy of Errors"; as Peter, in "Romeo and Juliet," and as Launcelot Gobbo, in "The Merchant of Venice"; but with far more consistency of purpose and detail of character. Launce and Speed are servants: born to serve, contented to serve, with little or no ambition beyond it. They are personal attendants on Valentine and Proteus, two young noblemen, and accompany their respective masters on their travels, obeying their orders without question, accepting their wages with satisfaction, and submitting upon occasion to personal chastisement without resentment. They are young, full of humor, and fond of mischief. Their humor they exercise upon their masters, when they can do so with safety, and indulge in their mischief between themselves. Both are shrewd and keenly observant, particularly of the foibles and weaknesses of their masters. Speed is at times exuberant; Launce, who is apparently the elder, is more thoughtful and sententious, and with the egotism of a little learning patronizes and reproves the youth and ignorance of his comrade. Launce has some sentimentality in his nature which is shown in his affection for his dog. Crab, and his grief (not wholly unaffected) at the parting from his family. Launce does not, however, permit that sentimentality to affect his material interests at any time, or even influence his considerations in the selection of a wife. Both have the punning habit

to an abnormal degree, and vie with each other in amphibolous repartee. Of the two, Launce has the keener wit and deeper philosophy. He is also more resourceful when occasion demands; witness, his prompt acceptance of the punishment that had been imposed on his "ungentlemanlike" dog. Crab, which would have ended the career of that canine; and the substitution of the same ill-bred cur for the "little jewel" he was commissioned to carry to Mistress Sylvia, which had been stolen from him by the boys in the market-place. Speed is the first of these two worthies to appear in the play. It is in the first scene of the first act, and in his second speech he begins a corruption of words in a succession of the most atrocious puns and ingenious transliterations, that positively appall by their audacity: and he continues it throughout the scene. The play on the words. Ship and sheep, pound and pinfold, and the evolution from a nod of the head, and the exclamation "ay" to the word "Noddy," fully justifies the term Proteus applies to it, "silly." In fact, there is but one bit of repartee in the entire dialogue worthy of note: Proteus exclaims with obvious sarcasm: "Beshrew me, but you have a quick wit," to which Speed, who has been unable to extract a gratuity from him, replies: "And yet it cannot overtake your slow purse." The dialogue in Act 2, Scene 1, between Speed and Sir Valentine, is in the same vein as in the first act; but Speed seems to have some advantage in it, for travel appears to have sharpened the wit of the servant, while love has dulled the spirit of the master. In Speed there is evidence of more observation both of incidents and circumstances; a clearer and brighter expression of ideas, combined with a shrewdness that approaches wisdom, especially in his reflections on Sir Vallentine's love-lorn condition; while there is a dimness of comprehension that amounts almost to density in the lack of understanding displayed by his master. Speed's critical philosophy, however, never permits him to lose sight of the demands of his stomach, or the perquisites of his position. This scene is so admirable in its commingling of humor and satire, that I quote it at length: Val. Why, how know you that I am in love? Speed. Marry, by these special marks. First, you have learn'd, like Sir Proteus, to wreath your arms, like a malcontent; to relish a love-song, like a robin redbreast; to walk alone, like one that had the pestilence; to sigh, like a schoolboy that had lost his A B C; to weep, like a young wench that had buried her grandam; to fast, like one that takes diet; to watch, like one that fears robbing; to speak puling, like a beggar at Hallowmas. You were wont, when you laugh'd, to crow like a cock; when you walk'd, to walk like one of the lions; when you fasted, it was presently after dinner; when you look'd sadly, it was for want of money; and now you are metamorphosed with a mistress, that, when I look on you, I can hardly think you are my master. Val. Are all these things perceived in me? Speed. They are all perceived without ye. ... These follies are within you, and shine through you like the water ... that not an eye that sees you, but is a physician to comment on your malady. Later, in the same scene the dialogue is noteworthy, and again illustrates the shrewd observance of Speed, and the privilege of speech permitted him by his master. Speed. You never saw her since she was deform'd. Val. How long hath she been deform'd? Speed. Ever since you loved her. Val. I have loved her ever since I saw her, and still I see her beautiful.

Speed. If you love her, you cannot see her. Val. Why? Speed. Because Love is blind. O! that you had mine eyes; or your own eyes had the lights they were wont to have, when you chid at Sir Proteus for going ungartered! Val. What should I see then? Speed. Your own present folly, and her passing deformity; for he, being in love, could not see to garter his hose; and you, being in love, cannot see to put on your hose.

Sir Valentine, probably realizing the truth of Speed's remarks, and finding no adequate reply, attempts a reproof, which, however, does not faze his irrepressible follower: Val. Belike, boy, then you are in love; for last morning you could not see to wipe my shoes. Speed. True, sir; I was in love with my bed. I thank you, you swinged me for my love, which makes me the bolder to chide you for yours. Mistress Sylvia, the lady of Sir Valentine's love, now comes upon the scene, and Speed is a most attentive observer and listener to the interview between the lover and the lady. Sylvia has apparently commissioned Sir Valentine to write some appropriate lines for her to ''one she loves," a "secret nameless friend." Sir Valentine, having written the lines, in the form of a letter, now delivers it to the lady, who thereupon returns it to the writer, pointedly exclaiming: "They are for you." Sir Valentine, however, does not appreciate her meaning, looks bewildered and stands in great perplexity ; and the lady, disappointed at his lack of comprehension, abruptly takes her leave with considerable show of anger. Sir Valentine stands in speechless astonishment, but Speed, who has realized the full significance of the lady's device, exclaims: O jest unseen, inscrutable, invisible. As a nose on a man's face, or a weathercock on a steeple! My master sues to her, and she hath taught her suitor, He being her pupil, to become her tutor. O excellent device! was there ever heard a better. That my master being scribe, to himself should write the letter. Sir Valentine, still oblivious to the lady's design, and Speed's meaning, declares: Val. Why, she hath not writ to me? Speed. What need she when she hath made you write to yourself? Why, do you not perceive the jest? Val. No, believe me. Speed. Why, she hath given you a letter. Val. That's the letter I writ to her friend. Speed. And that letter hath she deliver'd, and there an end. Val. I would it were no worse!

Speed. I'll warrant you, 'tis as well: For often have you writ to her, and she, in modesty. Or else for want of idle time, could not again reply; Or fearing else some messenger, that might her mind discover. Herself hath taught her love himself to write unto her lover. Sir Valentine is still perplexed, he cannot see the jest, so Speed, seeing it impossible to make the matter clear, suggests: "'Tis dinner time." Sir Valentine replies: "I have dined," but Speed requires a more substantial diet than love, and concludes the scene with the following most earnestly delivered protest: "Ay, but hearken, sir: Though the chameleon Love can feed on air, I am one that am nourish' d by my victuals, and would fain have meat. O I be not like your mistress: be moved, be moved." Launce does not appear till the third scene of the second act, when he introduces himself, his sentiments, and his dog Crab, by whom he is accompanied, with much humor and, as with all of Shakespeare's characters, his mental, sentimental and social status is at once established; while the domestic drama played with a pair of old shoes, a hat, and a staff as representatives of the family of the Launces, gives us an introduction to them as effectively as if we had met them all in person. One can easily understand that Crab's failure to appreciate the importance of the journey, and the pathos of parting with such a family is a source of great disappointment to his master. The episode is described with so much delightful originality of expression and humorous detail, that the reader must be dull indeed who cannot see the scene enacted before his eyes: the weeping women, the wailing father, the howling maid, and the "perplexed" household; while the dog, unmoved, stolidly watches the entire proceedings with a bored expression of canine indifference. Nay, 'twill be this hour ere I have done weeping: all the kind of the Launces have this very fault. I have received my proportion, like the prodigious son, and am going with Sir Proteus to the imperial's court. I think Crab my dog be the sourest-natured dog that lives: my mother weeping, my father wailing, my sister crying, our maid howling, our cat wringing her hands, and all our house in great perplexity, yet did not this cruel-hearted cur shed one tear: he is a stone, a very pebble-stone, and has no more pity in him than a dog: a Jew would have wept to have seen our parting: why, my grandam, having no eyes, look you, wept herself blind at my parting. Nay, show you the manner of it: This shoe is my father; - no, this left shoe is my father; no, no, this left shoe is my mother: - that cannot be so neither: yes, it is so, it is so; it hath the worser sole. This shoe with a hole in it, is my mother, and this my father. A vengeance on't: there 't is : now, sir, this staff is my sister; for, look you, she is as white as a lily, and as small as a wand: this hat is Nan, our maid; I am the dog: - no, the dog is himself, and I am the dog, - O, the dog is me, and I am myself; ay, so, so. Now come I to my father; Father, your blessing; now should not the shoe speak a word for weeping; now should I kiss my father; well, he weeps on: - now come I to my mother, (O, that she could speak now, like a wood woman.) - well, I kiss her; why, there't is; here's my mother's breath up and down; now come I to my sister; mark the moan she makes: now the dog all this while sheds not a tear, nor speaks a word; but see how I lay the dust with my tears. The misuse of the words "prodigious" and "perplexity" has a most familiar sound, and may be readily recognized as a favorite comedy device of the poet, to provide humor for his clowns and serving-men. In an interesting work by Dr. A. O. Kellogg, of the State Lunatic Asylum, at Utica, New York, entitled "Shakespeare's Delineations of Insanity, Imbecility, and Suicide," that distinguished alienist places Launce among the imbeciles, and by way of preface to an able analysis of the character, in which is included Crab, the constant companion of the boy, he makes the following concrete summary: Another shade of mental obtuseness and imbecility has been exhibited by the poet in the character of Launce, the clown par excellence, in "The Two Gentlemen of Verona." Launce is not a character manufactured by the playwright, one of "Nature's journey-men," to serve a particular purpose, but is a product of Nature's own handiwork, and if not the most cunning, still none the less genuine. The close companionship which exists between him and his interesting dog. Crab, is evidently one based upon a moral and intellectual fitness in the characters of the two. The clown is such by natural organization, and no education or change of circumstances or condition could make him otherwise. So the dog Crab, is ... the cur that nature made him; and we can scarcely conceive that even the cultivation of three generations ... would suffice to make either a courtier of the one, or "a

gentleman-like dog" of the other. ... The spirits of the two are so "married in conjunction" by mutual intercourse, that the one has come to conduct himself in all companies, as a currish clown, and the other as a clownish cur. As I have stated in the preface, I do not presume to differentiate between folly and imbecility. I quote the foregoing as the indorsement of a scientist to the accuracy of the poet's conception and treatment of the character. In reference to the habit of punning, which is one of the characteristics of Launce, to which I have before alluded in this article, as well as to the same practice by similar characters in previous chapters, I again quote Dr. Kellogg: His humorous punning and play upon words is also quite characteristic, and shows that this faculty may be possessed in quite an eminent degree by those of very inferior mental caliber, like Launce. How completely Shakespeare realized this condition is evidenced, not only by the countrymen and clowns in his comedies, but also by the characters of inferior rank and humble station in his tragedies: notably, Peter, in "Romeo and Juliet"; the Citizens, in "Julius Caesar"; the Grave-diggers, in "Hamlet"; and the drunker Porter, in "Macbeth." "The Two Gentlemen of Verona" is unfortunately seldom presented on the stage, but Mr. Augustin Daly made a production of the comedy in his series of Shakespearean revivals at Daly's Theater, New York, some years ago. Mr. James Lewis played Launce, and while I cannot recall the entire performance in detail, I distinctly remember his first appearance on the scene. He came upon the stage slowly, with an expression of extreme disgust on his face, leading his dog Crab by a cord. The property man who had procured the dog for the production had been most fortunate in his selection, for a more complete specimen of a "low-down cur" I never saw. It would have puzzled the most experienced dog fancier to name his breed or trace his ancestry. Most animals, when they appear upon the stage, become frightened by the glare of the footlights, and startled by any applause that may come from the audience, but this dog that played Crab was absolutely oblivious to his surroundings. Crab received even a more cordial greeting than his popular master, but while the latter acknowledged the compliment gracefully, the dog looked on with complete indifference as if the entire proceedings bored him. Launce began his first speech, which included a mild reproach of Crab's lack of sympathy, but it made no impression on the cur: he then led the dog to the base of a statue, or fountain on the scene, seated himself on the steps, the cur by his side, and enacted the domestic scene described in the text with a droll humor that the audience found irresistible, but it had no effect on Crab, who sat upon his haunches, looked at Mr. Lewis' manipulation of the shoes, and listened to his detailed description of the parting of the family of the Launces as if, like Baron Grog, in "The Grand Duchess," he had always been taught "to observe an impassive countenance." I regret that I cannot remember more of the performance of Mr. Lewis, for everything he did was worthy of memory: but the picture of the dog. Crab, is indelibly impressed on my mind, and the memory of that frowsy cur that was such an appropriate companion to his master, tempts me again to quote Dr. Kellogg: Next to the human associates whom a man takes into his confidence, nothing seems to furnish a more correct index to his character than the species of the canine race which he selects as his companions. The grim-looking, fighting bulldog is found at the heels of the bully and prize-fighter. The dignified mastiff and gentlemanly Newfoundland, guard ... the stately banker. The gaunt hound is found in the train of the active, vigorous, foxhunting squire. The poodle or spaniel ... is the combed, washed, and petted companion of my lady, but the cur, who seems to be a combination of the evil qualities of all these, your "yaller dog," is found at the heels of the clown, and the nature of the relationship is nowhere so admirably depicted as by the poet in his delineations of Launce and his dog Crab. The play upon the words "tide" and "tied" in the brief dialogue with Panthino, that concludes the scene is another capital illustration of the quality of wit possessed by Launce. It is amusing, harmless and characteristic. Pan. You'll lose the tide, if you tarry any longer.

Launce. It is no matter if the tied were lost; for it is the unkindest tied that ever any man tied. Pan. What's the unkindest tide? Launce. Why, he that's tied here. Crab, my dog. Scene 5, of Act 2, is entirely occupied by a dialogue between Launce and Speed. The scene does not advance the plot or develop the characters, but is marked by the same quality of wit to which I have before referred; a brief example of which will suffice. Speed. I understand thee not. Launce. What a block art thou, that thou canst not. My staff understands me. Speed. What thou sayest? Launce. Ay, and what I do too: look thee, I'll but lean, and my staff understands me. Speed. It stands under thee, indeed. Launce. Why, stand-under and under-stand is all one. In the first scene of act third a new phase of the character of Launce is developed. He is in love. We have his own admission of the fact, with the addenda: "But a team of horse shall not pluck that from me; not who 'tis I love, and yet 'tis a woman: but what woman, I will not tell myself; and yet 'tis a milkmaid." Launce does not give us his reasons for the secrecy that he so ingeniously negatives, and we might attribute it to the bashful modesty of a lover, but this is again negatived by his subsequent interview with Speed. The name of the lady is withheld, but we are frankly informed of "The cate-log of her conditions." Launce is a man of method and has carefully collated both the virtues and vices of the lady, and set them down in a sort of debtor and creditor arrangement, which he not only carefully considers himself, but on a convenient opportunity submits to the judgment of his friend Speed, reserving, however, the privilege of making the final decision himself. The merits of the lady are set down somewhat as follows: She can fetch and carry. She can milk. She brews good ale. She can sew. She can knit. She can wash and scour. She can spin. She hath many nameless virtues. And her demerits: She is not to be kissed fasting. She hath a sweet mouth. She doth talk in her sleep. She is slow in words. She is proud. She hath no teeth. She is curst. She will often praise her liquor. She is liberal. She hath more hair than wit, and more faults than hairs, and more wealth than faults.

One can easily imagine the sapient and judicial air assumed by Launce, as Speed reads the "catelog" to him; but I shrewdly suspect that the decision of the judge had been made before the trial began, or the evidence was presented. The virtues he appreciates at their practical value, the vices he ingeniously transforms into virtues, and like many in real life of far greater social and intellectual pretensions, finally permits the possession of money to be the deciding factor in his choice. With Launce, wealth appears to have been a cloak whose ample folds are sufficient to cover a multitude of vices, for though she have "more faults than hairs" her wealth was all powerful "to make the faults gracious." I am very much inclined, however, to think that the affectation of prudence was another of the practical jests of this exuberant youth with his friend Speed; that he himself concocted the "cate-log," and the entire matter had its existence only in the vivid and picturesque imagination of our friend Launce; for later we learn that the boy has voluntarily taken upon himself both the blame and the punishment for the sins of his dog Crab. He hath "sat in the stocks for puddings he hath stolen"; "stood in the pillory for geese he hath killed"; and taken a whipping to save that ill-bred cur from the consequences of his "ungentleman-like conduct" at the Duke's table. Now it is but reasonable to assume that a man, however humble his station in life, who would sacrifice himself so completely for the sake of a dumb animal, would have some sentimentality in the choice of a wife, and however mercenary he might assume to be, his selection would not be influenced by wealth alone, but be governed by the feelings of his heart, rather than by the calculations of his head. Be that as it may, there is a good deal of sound common sense, even if it was assumed, in the method of selecting a wife as affected by Launce, that might be adopted with advantage by some of our modern young men who so heedlessly assume the responsibilities of marriage. A little more prudence and consideration of their respective qualifications for what should be a life-long union, might avert many an unhappy marriage, and considerably diminish the congestion in our courts of law. The brief dialogue concluding the scene bears out the above suggestion. Speed, whose name by the way appears to be a misnomer, is waited for by his master at the north gate of the city. Launce knows this, and out of sheer mischief, as he inferentially admits, is detaining him. This would seem to indicate that the milkmaid with her "cate-log of conditions" is pure imagination on the part of Launce, and his apparent indecision a mere device to detain the already dilatory Speed. The solo and exit speech of Launce on the hasty departure of Speed, accentuates the view: "Now will he be swing'd for reading my letter. An unmannerly slave, that will thrust himself into secrets. I'll after, to rejoice in the boy's correction." Scene 4 of Act 4 in the comedy brings the charactor of Launce to its conclusion. Crab seems to be as incorrigible as impenitent, and Launce entertains us with a most diverting account of the dog's misdeeds and his own selfsacrifice in the cur's behalf. To appreciate thoroughly the humor of the scene, I commend the reader to a full perusal of the same in the play itself. By the irony of fate, Crab seems to be the factor in his master's undoing. Launce has been commissioned by his master, Sir Proteus, to deliver "a little jewel" of a dog to Mistress Sylvia as a present. Launce loses the little jewel, and in this dilemma substitutes his own dog Crab. The lady indignantly rejects such a present, and returns a most sarcastic response to the advances of the amorous Sir Proteus, whose anger on learning the details of the adventure may be better imagined than described. The explanation of Launce is characteristic of the boy, while his humor, love of mischief, and his "old vice" of punning is sustained to the last. Pro. Where have you been these two days loitering? Launce. Marry, sir, I carried Mistress Sylvia the dog you bade me. Pro. And what says she to my little jewel?

Launce. Marry, she says, your dog was a cur, and tells you, currish thanks is good enough for such a present. Pro. But she received my dog? Launce. No, indeed, did she not: here have I brought him back again. Pro. What, didst thou offer her this from me? Launce. Ay, sir; the other squirrel was stolen from me by the hangman's boys in the market-place: and then I offered her mine own, who is a dog as big as ten of yours, and therefore the gift the greater. Poor Launce narrowly escapes the whip at the hands of his outraged master, and is angrily dismissed from his presence. The future of the boy is left to our conjecture. Did he lose his place? Did his master restore him to favor? and did he wed the lady whose qualifications were the source of so much careful calculation? The author does not tell us. Let us, however, express the hope that an indulgent master forgave the exuberant humor of his youthful servant, and permitted Launce and his dog Crab, with possibly the lady Launce has chosen, to share in his own felicity so completely expressed in the concluding lines of the comedy, "One feast, one house, one mutual happiness." The Two Gentlemen of Verona - Early Experimentation in Plotting From The Development of Shakespeare as a Dramatist by George Pierce Baker. New York: Macmillan. In The Two Gentlemen of Verona, first printed in the folio of 1623, but mentioned by Meres in hisPalladis Tamia in 1598, we have a play evidently written for the public stage. It is placed by the critics at various dates between 1591 and 1595, with a preference for 1591-1593. What makes it likely thatThe Two Gentlemen of Verona is, in date of composition, closely related to Love's Labour's Lost, is that in it, too, the love story is both the chief interest and the thread which binds all the incidents together, and that, as we shall see in a moment, its advance beyond Love's Labour's Lost in technique is not great. The slight advance, however, and the decrease in the tendency to quibble and to overemphasize speech at the expense of action show that The Two Gentlemen of Verona followedLove's Labour's Lost. The Two Gentlemen of Verona is indebted to the story of Felismena as told in the Diana Enamoradaof Jorge de Montemayor. This book was not printed in English till 1598, but an English manuscript was in circulation from 1582. Possibly, too, Shakespeare knew and used a play acted before the Queen in 1584 entitled Felix and Philiomena. In the Diana Felismena is a maiden destined by Venus and Minerva to be unfortunate in love, but successful in war. She was wooed by a neighbor, Don Felix, and gave him her love after much affected scorn. His father discovered their love and sent Felix to Court to prevent the match. Thither Felismena followed him disguised as a page. On her first night in the city and before she has sought Felix out, she hears him passionately serenading some Court lady in the same street in which she lodges, and learns from her hostess that he is openly paying his addresses to this lady. Next day she sees him at Court, a splendid figure in white and yellow, the colors of the lady Celia. Felismena maintains her disguise as the page Valerius, enters the service of Felix in order to be near him, and carries his tokens and messages to Celia with earnest pleadings of her own for the happiness of her false iover. Celia, still cold to Felix, waxes warm to Valerius, and when she cannot move him dies of unrequited love. Then Felix disappears and people suppose him dead of grief. Felismena in despair becomes a shepherdess. After a time she chances upon a knight in the forest, hard pressed by three foes. She delivers him by her skill in archery and discovers that he is Don Felix. His old love for her returns, and she forgives the past. This outline of the original story shows that when Shakespeare wrote The Two Gentlemen of Verona he had

waked to a fact constantly demonstrated by his later plays, namely, that the Elizabethan audience of the public theatres liked a crowded and complicated story. To meet this desire, Shakespeare provides not only the figures of the purely comic scenes, but also Valentine, Thurio, and Eglamour. Taking a hint from a portion of the story which he discards, he adds the outlaw scenes. But though he provides more material for his proposed plot, his whole treatment of it proves that he is yet at the beginning of the acquirement of his technique. He feels strongly now the value of contrast in drama, and therefore frankly opposes Valentine to Proteus, Silvia to Julia, as characters, and alternates his scenes of pure exposition or of emotion with scenes of comedy. Sometimes he even splits a scene midway, as in the first scene of Act I, to get this sort of contrast. He has discerned one of the permanent essentials of dramatic composition, contrast, but as yet his art is not sufficient to conceal his methods. It is, however, in his exposition and plotting that he is weakest. It takes this dramatist, who by 1596 at latest has gained a wonderful combination of swiftness and clearness in opening his plays, [See the opening scene of Romeo and Juliet] two acts, including some ten scenes, to state the relations of Proteus, Valentine, Silvia, and Julia; to bring the first three together at the Court; to prepare us for the coming of the fourth; and to introduce us to Launce and Speed. He would have done all this in at most three scenes a few years later: one, as now, showing the planning of Julia with Lucetta to leave Verona and go to the Court in search of Proteus; one preceding scene for Launce and Speed; and a longer scene, now Scene 4 of Act II, in Milan at the Duke's palace, where the coming of Proteus to the Court would bring out clearly his previous relations with Valentine and Julia, the love of Valentine for Silvia, the sudden infatuation of Proteus for her, and the place of Thurio in the story. The movement in these two acts is still closely akin to the slow movement of Love's Labour's Lost.

From the beginning of Act III the play moves with constantly increasing suspense for the spectator, but the use of this suspense proves that Shakespeare could not yet handle it perfectly. In Act III, Scene 1, Proteus basely betrays to the Duke the secret of Valentine's love for Silvia. There follow the dramatic banishment of Valentine by the Duke, the perfidy of Proteus as he counsels Valentine to flee, and the amusing dialogue of Speed and Launce. Act III, then, contains at least one good dramatic situation, moves with relative swiftness, and shows especially well the sharp contrasting of serious and comic which Shakespeare delighted in at this time. Moreover, it urges us on to the other acts in order that we may know the outcome of the complications for Valentine and of the perfidy of Proteus. The second scene of this act shows us more perfidy on the part of Proteus when, agreeing to be false to Valentine, he seems to favor Sir Thurio's plan in regard to Silvia, but really schemes only for his own ends. It is, however, a transitional scene preparing us for complications to follow. In the fourth act the first scene simply shows us the taking of Valentine by the outlaws and their choice of him as captain. Scene 2 is probably the most human and charming of the play. It is the serenade of Silvia by Thurio, Proteus, and the musicians which the lovelorn Julia watches from her hiding-place. Even it, however, points forward to scenes seemingly sure to result because Julia now knows that Proteus is false to her. Scene 3, again transitional, shows us Silvia arranging with Eglamour to aid her escape from Milan in search of Valentine. Scene 4, after the opening between Launce and his dog, gives us the second strongly human scene of the play in the talk between Proteus and Julia, still disguised as a page, and her charming interview with Silvia, the latter a kind of preliminary sketch for the scene of Viola and Olivia in Twelfth Night. Yet this complication of the relations of Silvia, Julia, and Proteus reaches no settlement in the act and we turn to the fifth, sure that there, in a series of dramatic scenes or in one long scene, the very complicated relations of the four young people will be worked out. Scene 1, merely transitional, only shows us Eglamour and Silvia leaving Milan. In Scene 2 the Duke, discovering the flight, starts with Proteus and Thurio in pursuit. The very brief third scene shows the capture of Silvia by the outlaws. Now but one scene is left in which to unravel all the complications and satisfy at last our long suspense.

Could there be a more complete confession of dramatic ineptitude than that last scene? It fails to do everything for which we have been looking. Valentine, after communing with himself in a way that foreshadows the banished Duke in As You Like It, withdraws as he sees strangers coming through the forest. Proteus, who is accompanied by the faithful Julia, still disguised as a page, has found Silvia and is trying to force his love upon her. Valentine, overhearing, bursts forth and denounces his friend. If Shakespeare did not wish to "hold" the scene of the avowal of his love by Proteus through letting Julia take some part in it, or by prolonging the play of emotion between Proteus and Silvia, he had, on the reappearance of Valentine, an opportunity for a strong scene in which the play and interplay of the feelings of the four characters might lead at last to a happy solution. Yet this is his weak handling of the situation : Valentine. Now I dare not say I have one friend alive; thou would 'st disprove me. Who should be trusted now, when one's right hand Is perjured to the bosom? Proteus, I am sorry I must never trust thee more, But count the world a stranger for thy sake. The private wound is deepest; time most accursed, 'Mongst all foes that friends should be the worst! Proteus. My shame and guilt confounds me. Forgive me, Valentine: if hearty sorrow Be a sufficient ransom for an offence, I tender 't here: I do as truly suffer As e'er I did commit. Valentine. Then I am paid; And once again I do receive thee honest Who by repentance is not satisfied, Is nor of heaven nor earth, for these are pleased. By penitence the Eternal wrath's appeased : And, that my love may appear plain and free, All that was mine in Silvia, I give thee. It is hard enough to believe that Valentine would forgive so promptly, but that he would go as far as to offer to yield up Silvia is preposterous. That touch came simply to motivate the sudden swooning of Julia at the news. Only a little less absurd is the sudden swerve into rightmindedness of Proteus when Julia has revealed herself. After all these startling surprises, however, perhaps one is ready to agree to Julia's glad acceptance of the changeable affections of so worthless a person as Proteus. Is it not clear that in this scene the momentary effect, the start of surprise, mean far more to the dramatist than truth to life and probability? Having lured his audience on by writing scenes which constantly promised complicated action ahead, when the closing in of the afternoon at last drives him to bay, he gets out of his difficulties in the swiftest possible fashion, but with complete sacrifice of good dramatic art, the rich possibilities of his material, and truth to life. Here, then, is a play which shows in Julia and Launce, and in Scenes 2 and 4 of Act IV, that Shakespeare can now do far more in characterization than he had in Love's Labour's Lost. In it, too, his medium of expression is gradually changing its mannered literary quality for genuine dramatic effectiveness. Yet the same play proves that, though he now recognizes the value of complicated plot and of creating suspense in the minds of his hearers, he can neither proportion nor develop firmly the story he has complicated nor properly satisfy the suspense which he has created. Does not the young Shakespeare's omission of Celia's fatal love for the disguised Felismena suggest that, feeling sure comedy must end pleasantly, he did not as yet see how to keep the amusing complication without letting it strike far too serious a note and end fatally? A few years later, in Twelfth Night, Shakespeare finds in just this complication not only the cause for much amusement, but much poetry, and a delicate contrast of grave and gay. In The Two Gentlemen of Verona, as in Love's Labour's Lost, Shakespeare passes swiftly over the graver

suggestions of his story. As yet he did not know how to throw his comedy into the finest relief by letting the serious cast slight shadows here and there. Does not this comparison of his accomplishment in these two plays with what he had done in Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece demonstrate that his superiority at first was poetic and literary rather than dramatic; and that the distinction between dramatic ability, in the sense of projecting character by means of dialogue, and theatrical ability, the power of deriving for a special audience from particular material the largest amount of emotional result, was an art which must be learned even in Shakespeare's day? Famous Quotations from The Two Gentlemen of Verona I have no other but a woman's reason; I think him so, because I think him so. (1.2) That man that hath a tongue, I say, is no man, If with his tongue he cannot win a woman. (3.1) To make a virtue of necessity. (4.1) Is she not passing fair? (4.4) The Two Gentlemen of Verona - Study Questions and Answers From Shakespeare Explained by Forrest Lunt. New York: Hearst's International Library. ACT I - SCENE I 1. What does Shakespeare tell about the characters Proteus and Valentine, lines 63-68? Valentine is shown to be a man of action, generous, unemotional, true; Proteus is a man of reflection, selfish, emotional, false. 2. Is this scene humorous? Why? Yes. See lines 20, 23-40, 70-158. The play upon words in the scene between Valentine and Proteus; the play upon words in the scene between Speed and Proteus; and Speed himself make the humor. SCENE II 3. Compare the first 50 lines of this scene with The Merchant of Venice Act I, Scene ii, lines 37-140. Note the similarity in the speeches of Lucetta and Portia; Julia and Nerissa. 4. What are your conclusions? That Shakespeare liked the scene in the earlier play and therefore developed the same situation when he wrote The Merchant of Venice. That Shakespeare used whatever he liked or whatever "took" more than once. SCENE III 5. Why is this an important scene?

Because it tells the audience that Proteus, the devotee of love, is to be separated from the woman he loves and, therefore, raises the questions, "How will he act?" "What will he do?" ACT II - SCENE I 6. What shows you that Valentine's love for Silvia is genuine? Valentine's failure to see through Silvia's device (see lines 121-140) suggests that his love for her is genuine. SCENE II 7. What is the reason for giving this short scene? In order to show Proteus and Julia together. After hearing his speech, lines 8-12, an audience would be further interested in the questions raised at the end of Act I, Scene iii. SCENE III 8. What kind of humor is found in this scene? 9. Do you enjoy it? Natural, homely nonsense. If one sees the clown leading his dog by a string onto the stage, the quibbling wit of the speeches will probably cause laughter. SCENE IV 10. How does Thurio reveal his character, lines 10-42? By his speeches, especially lines 12, 20 and 30. In the first he shows jealousy; in the second, stupidity; in the third, anger. SCENE V 11. Would comedy of this kind interest a modern audience? It would depend upon the way it was played. The words read probably seem uninteresting but the action which goes with the words on the stage would cause laughter. This scene shows the absolute necessity of visualizing a play.

ACT III 12. Which character is the more interesting, Valentine or Proteus? The answer will depend upon the reader; whether he is more interested in seeing treachery punished or honesty and love rewarded. Both are interesting.

ACT IV - SCENE I 13. How does Shakespeare make Valentine's willingness to become an outlaw less objectionable, lines 71-76? By a reference to the romantic robber Robin Hood, by the statement of the Third Outlaw that some of the band are gentlemen (lines 44-61), and by the agreement to ". . . do not outrages On silly women or poor passengers." (Lines 71-73.) 14. Summarize the ways by which the story is complicated. The introduction of Thurio as the chosen suitor of Silvia; the arrival at Milan of Proteus, and his immediate determination to supplant Valentine; Julia's trip to Milan in search of Proteus; Thurio's appeal to Proteus for aid in his wooing; Proteus's failure to recognize Julia and his giving her a position as his page ; Silvia's escape from her father's court, her capture by the outlaws, and her rescue by Proteus; these events make up the complications. SCENE II 16. What feelings are aroused by lines 68-112? Satisfaction and sympathy. Satisfaction, because Silvia tells Proteus what she thinks of him and his actions; sympathy, because Julia hears the man she loves declare his love for another, and because she also hears Silvia tell Proteus what he is. ACT V 16. Does Proteus deserve the reward he receives? No. The mere statement of repentance is not sufficient punishment. 17. Will Julia he happy with Proteus? Probably not. At least, one cannot be certain that Proteus will treat her well; but perhaps she would be happy with Proteus under any circumstances. GENERAL 18. Do you like the way in which Shakespeare ends the play? Many do not; to them the end seems to be forced and weak. 19. Are there any scenes or characters which seem unnatural?

Some of Valentine's actions seem unnatural, see Act III, Scene i; Act V, Scene iv, lines 78-83; the Outlaws all seem unnatural; Eglamour does not live up to the reputation given him in Act IV, Scene iii, lines 11-13. Act III, Scene ii; Act IV, Scene i, seem unnatural. The Two Gentlemen of Verona the play by William Shakespeare Text - script of Two Gentlemen of Verona the play by William Shakespeare Cast and characters in The Two Gentlemen of Verona play by William Shakespeare Index of plays by William Shakespeare Summary of the plot or story Shakespeare's plot centres around Valentine and Proteus, two gentlemen of Verona, who travel to Milan and learn about the world of courtship. They are best friends. But love for the same woman comes between them. The women in the play are Sylvia and Julia. Using the ploy of disguises, as in other Shakespeare plays, true love prevails and the friends are reconciled and look to share 'one mutual happiness' Information provided about the play William Shakespeare never published any of his plays and therefore none of the original manuscripts have survived. Eighteen unauthorised versions of his plays were, however, published during his lifetime in quarto editions by unscrupulous publishers (there were no copyright laws protecting Shakespeare and his works during the Elizabethan era). A collection of his works did not appear until 1623 (a full seven years after Shakespeare's death on April 23, 1616) when two of his fellow actors, John Hemminges and Henry Condell, posthumously recorded his work and published 36 of Williams plays in the First Folio. Some dates are therefore approximate other dates are substantiated by historical events, records of performances and the dates plays appeared in print. Date first performed It is believed that The Two Gentlemen of Verona was first performed between 1594 and 1595. In the Elizabethan era there was a huge demand for new entertainment and The Two Gentlemen of Verona would have been produced immediately following the completion of the play. Date first printed It is believed that the script was first printed in 1623 in the First Folio. As William Shakespeare clearly did not want his work published details of the play would have therefore been noted, and often pirated without his consent, following a performance. The settings for the drama The settings for The Two Gentlemen of Verona are Verona, Milan and a forest near Mantua in Italy. The theme of the play The play is categorised as a Comedy. Number of words in the script The number of words in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, according to the Complete Public Domain Text is 18,368. Most important characters The most important characters in the play are: Valentine, Proteus, Julia and Sylvia.

Famous Quotes / Quotations The quotes from the Two Gentlemen of Verona are amongst Shakespeare's most famous including 'Who is Sylvia?'. Details of this famous quote, which is in a poem, follows, complete with information regarding the Act and the Scene, allowing a quick reference to the section of the play that this quotation can be found in. Please click here for the full text of the script of the play. Summary Bosom buddies Valentine and Proteus bid a tearful farewell on a street in Verona. Valentine is off to improve himself, venturing out to see the world, while Proteus stays home in Verona, tied by his love for Julia. After Valentine departs, his servant, Speed, enters. Proteus inquires whether or not Speed delivered a letter to Julia, to which Speed replies affirmatively. Julia, meanwhile, asks her maid, Lucetta, with which man she should fall in love, and Lucetta recommends Proteus. Lucetta admits that she has a letter for Julia from Proteus. After much bickering, Julia tears up the letter, only to regret this act an instant later.

Antonio decides to send Proteus, his son, to the Duke's court in Milan, a decision with which neither Proteus nor Julia is particularly happy. They exchange rings and promises to keep loving each other. Meanwhile, Valentine has fallen in love with the Duke's feisty daughter, Silvia. When Proteus arrives at court, he too falls in love with Silvia, and vows to do anything he can to win her away from Valentine. When Valentine confesses that he and Silvia plan to elope, Proteus notifies the Duke of their plans, gaining favor for himself and effecting Valentine's banishment from court. Back in Verona, Julia has hatched a plan to disguise herself as a man so that she can journey to Milan to be reunited with Proteus. Upon arriving at court, she witnesses Proteus and Thurio wooing Silvia. The banished Valentine, while traveling to Mantua, is apprehended by a group of outlaws. The outlaws, all of whom are banished gentlemen as well, demand Valentine to become their king. Since they threaten to kill him if he refuses, Valentine accepts. Silvia and Julia, who is disguised as the page Sebastian, meet when Julia delivers the ring Proteus had given her to Silvia on behalf of Proteus. Julia does not reveal her identity. Silvia calls on her friend Sir Eglamour to help her escape her father's oppressive will (he wants her to marry Thurio) and to find Valentine. However, while traveling through the forest, she and Eglamour are overtaken by a band of outlaws. Eglamour runs away, leaving Silvia to fend for herself against the outlaws. By this time, the Duke, Proteus, and Thurio, with Sebastian/Julia in tow, have organized a search party for Silvia. Proteus wrests Silvia away from the outlaws. Valentine watches the interaction unseen. Proteus demands that Silvia give him some sign of her favor for freeing her, but she refuses. He tries to rape her for her resistance, but Valentine jumps out and stops him. Proteus immediately apologizes, and Valentine offers to give him Silvia as a token of their friendship. At this moment, Sebastian faints and his true identity becomes clear. Proteus decides that he really loves Julia better than Silvia, and takes her instead. The Duke realizes that Thurio is a thug and says that Valentine is far nobler and can marry Silvia. Valentine asks for clemency for the outlaws, and suggests that his marriage to Silvia and Proteus' marriage to Julia should take place on the same day.

The Two Gentlemen of Verona A Study Guide Proteus Character Analysis Proteus is a young nobleman from Verona. He's supposed to be Valentine's best friend and Julia's sweetie, but after he falls for Valentine's girlfriend, he stabs his BFF in the back and tries to rape Silvia. When he's confronted,

he undergoes a sudden and miraculous transformation, which prompts him to make up with Valentine and fall back in love with Julia. Like the shape-shifting sea god he shares his name with, Proteus is pretty erratic and changeable, don't you think? He falls in and out of love (with women and his best friend) as often as some people change clothes, and he's also pretty crafty and deceptive. He has no trouble being two-faced as he betrays his best friend and he lies to just about everyone he knows. Male Friendship OK, Proteus sounds like a pretty bad guy. So why is his horrible behavior forgiven at the play's end? Well, we're not quite sure the sequence of events in the final scene is pretty bizarre. Still, we can try to understand why Valentine and Julia forgive Proteus by thinking about the play's themes of male friendship and transformation. First things first. Let's think about the importance of male friendship in the play. At the beginning of Two Gentlemen, Proteus and Valentine are best buds. Check out how sweet Proteus is when Valentine sets out for Milan: "Wilt thou be gone? Sweet Valentine, adieu!/ Think on thy Proteus" when you're away (1.1.1). It's pretty clear that Valentine also feels the same way about his BFF. When the Duke of Milan asks about Proteus's character, Valentine says, "I know him as myself; for from our infancy/ We have conversed and spent our hours together" (2.4.20). According to Valentine, the guys have known each other since they were babies and have spent their entire lives together. When Proteus says, "I know him as myself," he means to suggest that he knows Proteus as well as he knows himself. At the same time, the phrase "I know him as myself" also suggests that Proteus and Valentine are like two halves of the same being. This idea echoes a common sixteenth-century idea made famous by Thomas Elyot's The Book Named the Governor. In Book 2, Chapter 11, Elyot says that friendship makes "two persons one in having and suffering. And therefore a friend is properly named of philosophers the other I. For that in them is but one mind and one possession" (2.11). In Shakespeare's day, male friendship was considered one of the most sacred and important bonds. So, when Valentine catches Proteus trying to rape Silvia, Valentine is outraged that his friend would betray him. For Valentine, Proteus's violation of Silvia is less important than Proteus's violation of the bonds of friendship. When Proteus apologizes, he says he's sorry for being a bad friend, not for the attempted rape: My shame and guilt confounds me. Forgive me, Valentine: if hearty sorrow Be a sufficient ransom for offence, I tender 't here; I do as truly suffer As e'er I did commit. (5.4.4) Proteus never expresses remorse for his crime against Silvia. He feels bad because he hurt Valentine's feelings and betrayed his friend's trust. When Valentine forgives him without a lot of fuss, the play seems to suggest that mending male friendship is more important than anything else. Proteus's Final Transformation? OK, so we can begin to understand Valentine's motivation to forgive Proteus, but why does Julia forgive him? There are no easy answers to this question, but, again, we try to understand by taking a close look at the play. Here's what Julia says after Proteus assaults Silvia: O Proteus, let this habit make thee blush!

Be thou ashamed that I have took upon me Such an immodest raiment, if shame live In a disguise of love: It is the lesser blot, modesty finds, Women to change their shapes than men their minds. (5.4.7) Again, there's no mention of Silvia. Julia is irate because 1) she's embarrassed that she had to dress as a boy ("Sebastian") in order to chase down Proteus, and 2) because Proteus has been unfaithful and "change[d]" his mind about loving her. How does Proteus respond to this? Than men their minds! 'tis true. O heaven! were man But constant, he were perfect. (5.4.7) Here, Proteus suddenly realizes that Julia is right about his behavior he's been falling in and out of love and his disloyalty and inconstancy makes him flawed. (Yet, there's still no recognition that his attempt to rape Silvia is problematic.) What's going on here? Literary scholar Marjorie Garber points out that, at this moment in the play, Proteus's true nature is "unmasked" at the exact same time that Julia's true identity has been revealed (Shakespeare After All, 46). The point may be that, while human beings can be fickle, changeable, and unstable, they are also capable of self-revelation and change (for the better). At the same time, the abruptness of Proteus's seeming transformation leaves us skeptical at best. Check out "What's Up With the Ending?" if you want to think about this some more. Proteus Timeline Valentine Character Analysis The most important thing to know about Valentine is that he is Proteus's BFF. At least we're pretty sure that's what Valentine would want us to say. (If you haven't already read our analysis of Proteus, you should do that now because these guys are like two peas in a pod they're the Batman and Robin of sixteenth-century literature, the Han Solo and Chewbacca of Shakespearean comedy, the Captain Kirk and Spock of Renaissance drama. You catch our drift?) Valentine and Romance This young gentleman from Verona is guilty of some pretty bizarre behavior in the play after catching his best friend trying to rape his girlfriend Silvia, he forgives Proteus and then offers to "give" Silvia over to Proteus as a gesture of friendship. We know you're just dying to know more about Valentine's oh-so generous offer to his friend, but first we need to think about Valentine's attitude toward love. At the beginning of the play, Valentine seems like a hater he mocks Proteus for being in love with Julia and claims that romance has transformed Proteus into a "fool" (1.1.8). If haply won, perhaps a hapless gain; If lost, why then a grievous labour won; However, but a folly bought with wit, Or else a wit by folly vanquished. (1.1.6)

According to Valentine, if a man succeeds in winning a woman's heart, it is a "hapless gain." On the other hand, if a man loses in love, it's a "labour won." Pretty cynical, don't you think? Valentine Meets Silvia Enter Silvia. When Valentine meets the Duke of Milan's sassy daughter, everything changes. He falls in love and proceeds to play the part of the male lover in a courtly romance. This basically means that Valentine places Silvia on a pedestal while Silvia treats Valentine like her "servant." (That's how guys and girls flirt in "courtly romance" literature like Chaucer's "The Knight's Tale." And yes, Shakespeare is totally making fun of courtly romance. Chaucer, by the way, made fun of it too. Just read "The Miller's Tale" if you don't believe us.) Valentine is so smitten with Silvia that he literally risks his neck to be with her. When Silvia's dad banishes Valentine from Milan, Valentine gets pretty dramatic. Check out what he has to say in the play's most famous monologue: To die is to be banish'd from myself; And Silvia is myself: banish'd from her Is self from self: a deadly banishment! What light is light, if Silvia be not seen? What joy is joy, if Silvia be not by? (3.1.15) In elevated terms, Valentine declares that life is meaningless for him without Silvia, so much so that fleeing from Milan is as good as dying. Valentine seems like he's pretty crazy about Silvia, right? There's just one thing. His big speech about Silvia is way over the top. We might say that it's a little too over the top. When Valentine elevates Silvia in an unrealistic way, we wonder if his love is really genuine. Valentine's Offer to Proteus Even if we question Valentine's devotion to Silvia, we're still pretty shocked when Valentine offers to "give" her over to his best friend, especially since Valentine's offer comes on the heels of Proteus's attempt to rape Silvia (5.4). Here's how it goes down: After Proteus apologizes to Valentine for being a lousy friend (there's no apology for assaulting Silvia), Valentine forgives him immediately and says, "All that was mine in Silvia I give thee" (5.4.5). There are a few ways to read this: 1. Any claims I made to Silvia's love, I give thee. (He's going to step aside and let Proteus have her.) 2. All the love I gave to Silvia, I give thee. (He loves Proteus more than he loves Silvia.) 3. All the love I gave to Silvia, I'll give to you too. (He'll love Proteus and Silvia equally.) Most literary critics tend to agree that Valentine is making a peace offering here, which implies that he values his friendship with Proteus more than any other relationship. Does this also mean that the play values friendship more than anything? We'll leave that for you to decide. Be sure to check out the "Theme" of "Friendship" if you want to think about this some more. Julia Julia is a young noblewoman from Verona. In the play, she disguises herself as a boy and follows her boyfriend, Proteus, to Milan, where she catches him trying to hook up with another woman.

Julia and Love At the beginning of the play, Julia seems like she's just as fickle as some of the other characters she can't seem to make up her mind about whether or not she'll allow herself to fall in love, so she asks her serving woman, "But say, Lucetta, now we are alone,/ Wouldst thou then counsel me to fall in love?" (1.2.1). Just a few lines later, she wonders who should be the lucky guy: "Of all the fair resort of gentlemen/ That every day with parle encounter me,/ In thy opinion which is worthiest love?" (1.2.2). OK, Julia is obviously a very popular girl she's got suitors coming out of the woodwork just to talk with her. We soon find out that Julia's had her sights set on Proteus all along. Julia slyly asks Lucetta's opinion of Proteus and, when Lucetta suggests the guy's a clown, Julia is furious: "How now! what means this passion at his name?" (1.2.6). Julia's fickle behavior continues throughout the scene, where she works reallyhard to conceal her true feelings for Proteus (by sending back a love letter, changing her mind, and then proceeding to tear it up to prove that she doesn't care about love) (1.2). Julia's not the only character to behave strangely. Shakespeare's point seems to be that love makes us do strange things, especially when we try to conceal our feelings. The thing about Julia, however, is that she turns out to be pretty steadfast in her devotion to her boyfriend, Proteus. After Proteus leaves for Milan, she's determined to be with him and risks everything (including potential unwanted encounters with "lascivious men") by traveling to Milan. Shakespeare's First Cross-Dressing Heroine Julia is also pretty clever. In order to travel safely, she disguises herself as a boy, "Sebastian." This is pretty gutsy, don't you think? But then Julia doesn't something pretty strange when she arrives in Milan and catches Proteus hitting on Silvia. Instead of revealing her identity, she takes a job as Proteus's pageboy and then proceeds to run a painful errand delivering a ring to Silvia on behalf of Proteus. Why would she do this? Is she a glutton for punishment? Is she hoping to size up the competition? We're not exactly sure but we do know this Julia's not the only character to behave this way. In Twelfth Night, Viola falls in love with Duke Orsino after taking a job as his page boy (also named "Sebastian") and then agrees to delivers love letters to another woman, Olivia. Julia's Encounter with Silvia Julia's disguise is important for all sorts of reasons. First, it draws the audience's attention to the fact that we are watching (or reading) a play in which a male actor is playing the role of a woman who is disguised as a boy. (Women actors, as we know, weren't allowed on the Elizabethan stage, so the parts of women were played by men and boys.) Shakespeare has a lot of fun with Julia's "Sebastian" disguise. Check out what Julia says when Silvia asks "Sebastian" to tell her about Julia: Our youth got me to play the woman's part, And I was trimm'd in Madam Julia's gown, Which served me as fit, by all men's judgments, As if the garment had been made for me: Therefore I know she is about my height. And at that time I made her weep agood, For I did play a lamentable part: Madam, 'twas Ariadne passioning For Theseus' perjury and unjust flight; Which I so lively acted with my tears That my poor mistress, moved therewithal, Wept bitterly; and would I might be dead

If I in thought felt not her very sorrow! (4.4.18) Shakespeare loves this kind of artistic self-reference he's always letting us know that we're watching a play and he's always reminding us that the world of the stage is not the real world in which we live. At the same time, when "Sebastian" relates the story of how "his" acting role made Julia "weep," we're reminded of the theater's capacity to move us. For Shakespeare, the theater can also be a reflection of the kinds of emotions we experience in the real world. It's also interesting that "Sebastian" claims to have worn Julia's clothes when "he" played the role of Ariadne in a church play. "Sebastian's" performance of this "woman's part" was so good, "he" says, that it moved Julia to tears. Ariadne is a figure from Greek mythology. She's famous for hanging herself after her boyfriend, Theseus, breaks up with her. (Never a good idea.) Now, we know that "Sebastian" never played the role of Ariadne in a play. This made up story seems to be Julia's way of expressing her sadness over the loss of Proteus without revealing her true identity, which is kind of touching. Silvia Silvia is the spirited daughter of the Duke of Milan and Valentine's girlfriend. When she falls in love with Valentine, she rebels against her father's wishes and makes plans to elope. Silvia is so determined to be with Valentine that, when her father banishes Valentine from Milan, Silvia runs away to the forest, where Valentine has set up camp. Silvia's Loyalty Silvia is not only bold, she's also incredibly loyal, which is a pretty big deal in a play in which the two main characters (Proteus and Valentine, we're talking about you) are anything but. When Proteus stabs his best friend Valentine in the back and goes after Silvia, Silvia seems to be the only voice of morality and fidelity: PROTEUS In love Who respects friend? SILVIA All men but Proteus. (5.4.5) Silvia also demonstrates her capacity for kindness when she refuses to accept a gift from Proteus: The more shame for him that he sends it me; For I have heard him say a thousand times His Julia gave it him at his departure. Though his false finger have profaned the ring, Mine shall not do his Julia so much wrong. (4.4.4) Silvia refuses to accept the ring Proteus has sent her (by way of Julia, who is disguised as a page boy, "Sebastian"). She also insists that she would never do "Julia so much wrong," which gestures at Silvia's capacity for loyalty and solidarity with another woman (unlike Proteus, who is busy stabbing his best friend in the back). When we read this passage, we can't help but think that, despite the play's efforts to champion the bonds of male friendship, Silvia's behavior demonstrates how women are capable of friendship too.

What Happens to Silvia's Voice? Silvia is definitely a strong heroine, but it seems like Shakespeare drops the ball in the play's final scene. When Proteus threatens to rape her, Silvia screams "O heaven!" and this is the last we hear from her (5.4.6). We're relieved when Valentine prevents the rape, but we're baffled when Silvia remains silent on stage. When Valentine and Proteus make up, she says nothing. When Julia and Proteus get back together, she's silent. When her father arrives and gives her as a "gift" to Proteus, she says nothing. Is this a reflection of Shakespeare's inexperience as a playwright? We're not sure. What do you think? We also wonder what Silvia might utter if she did have a voice in the final moments of the play Tools of Characterization Character Analysis Names In Greek mythology, Proteus is a sea god who changes his shape at will. So, it seems pretty fitting that Shakespeare's fickle character, Proteus, shares the same name because the guy falls in and out of love like some people change outfits. Proteus is also pretty good at disguising his true intentions so we could also say that his lies and deceit also make him a kind of immoral shape-shifter. Valentine shares his name with St. Valentine, the patron saint of lovers. This seems ironic in the first scene because Valentine hates on love and makes fun of Proteus for being into Julia. The name begins to make more sense when Valentine falls for Silvia and hatches a plan to run away with her. The name "Crab" belongs to Lance's surly natured dog, so it might be a reference to "crab apples," which are kind of sour. Love and Romance Ever notice the way Valentine talks about romance? It's always in an elevated, over-the-top way. In a monologue about his girlfriend, Valentine asks "What light is light if Silvia be not seen?/ What joy is joy, if Silvia be not by?" (3.1.15). Pretty poetic, wouldn't you say? We might also say that this is a little too over the top. Valentine elevates Silvia in an unrealistic way so we might question whether or not his love is genuine, especially since he basically offers her to Proteus in the final scene. In contrast, when Lance falls in love with a girl, he explains that "She hath more qualities than a water-spaniel," before ticking off a laundry list of reasons why his new sweetie is so great: "She can fetch and carry. Why, a horse/ can do no more: nay, a horse cannot fetch, but only/ carry; therefore is she better than a jade." Plus, he says, "She can milk" a cow (3.1.6). Lance's ideas about love are practical he's obviously interested in qualities that would make for a good wife, which, in Lance's mind, seems to be nothing more than a servant.

Next Page: Analysis Foil Character Role Analysis

Lance to Proteus When Lance tells us about all the beatings he's taken for his dog Crab's bad behavior (stealing pudding, killing geese, "a pissing" under the Duke's table, etc.), it becomes pretty clear that he's more devoted to his dog than Proteus is loyal to Julia and Valentine (4.4.1). Read more about this by going to our "Characters" section. Antagonist Character Role Analysis Proteus When Proteus falls in love with Silvia, he decides that he's got to have her, even though his best friend is in love with her. His willingness to lie to his best bud and his relentless pursuit of Silvia (including his attempt to rape her) are major threats to the friendship.

Romance If we think of male friendship as the play's "protagonist," then it sort of follows that romance acts as an antagonist to that relationship. Proteus's love for Julia causes Proteus and Valentine to be separated (Proteus stays behind in Verona instead of travelling with his pal). Proteus and Valentine also fall for the same girl, Silvia, who comes between them. Is it fair to blame Silvia for Valentine and Proteus's problems? Absolutely not, but the play suggests that romantic relationships with women have the potential to breakup male friendships.

Proteus OK, if romance is the protagonist you're rooting for, then you're probably thinking Proteus is a major "antagonist," right? He's the one, after all, who chases after Silvia when she's dating his best friend and tries to rape her. This could definitely work because he's one of the major obstacles in the way of Valentine and Silvia's hook-up.

The Duke of Milan The Duke of Milan is another "antagonist" to romance, don't you think? He is the guy who banishes Valentine from Milan and prevents him from physically being with Silvia, no? A foil is a character that functions as a contrast to the main character, such as a comedian for a tragic hero or a cautious person for an impulsive hero

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