The Two Gentlemen of Verona: Plot Summary
From Stories of Shakespeare's Comedies by Helene Adeline Guerber. New York: Dodd, Mead and company.
This play opens in a square in Verona, where Valentine, talking to his friend Proteus, announces he is about to depart for Milan, where he
would fain have his friend accompany him were not the latter Love's slave. Although it is impossible for him to leave Verona, Proteus ironically promises to pray for his friend, who retorts a lover's risks are as great as those of travellers.
After Valentine has gone, promising to let his friend hear from him, Proteus avers that, whereas
Valentine is evidently hunting for honours, he is wholly absorbed in his passion for Julia, who has
made him forget everything else. His soliloquy is interrupted by the arrival of Valentine's servant, inquiring for his master. Before answering, Proteus tries to find out from this man, whom he had employed as messenger to Julia, whether he has delivered his letter, rewarding him for his witty remarks by a tip. But, the servant gone, Proteus begins to doubt whether his missive were delivered,
and concludes to send another messenger to make sure that Julia doesn't remain without news.
We next behold Julia's garden, where she is interviewing her maid, Lucetta, of whom she takes advice in her love affairs. After her mistress has
enumerated her various suitors, Lucetta comments upon each, shrewdly noticing, however, that Julia reserves all mention of Proteus to the last. She, therefore, gives a favourable verdict in regard to this swain, ere proffering the letter brought by Valentine's man. Having pretended indifference all along, Julia scornfully refuses to accept Proteus' letter, but no sooner has the maid carried it off than
she longs to call her back, ruefully admitting that
girls in love often act contrary to their feelings.
She, therefore, summons Lucetta under some futile
pretext, and when the maid ostentatiously drops the
missive at her feet, angrily bids her cease annoying
her. Then, as the servant, whose remarks exasperate her, is about to remove the offending paper,
Julia suddenly snatches it and tears it to pieces,
ordering Lucetta to leave the fragments on the
Left alone, the fickle Julia bewails having torn
her lover's letter, and, longing to discover what it
contains, pieces the bits together. Although unable
to restore it entirely, she discovers a few scraps bearing affectionate words, which she hides away in her
bosom, ere Lucetta summons her to join her father
at dinner. In passing off the stage, Julia carelessly
mentions the papers on the floor, knowing there is
nothing more among them she cares to see.
We are next transferred to Proteus' house, where, talking to a servant, his father learns people are
wondering his son should linger at home while other
youths of his age and station are sent abroad to
study. Not wishing Proteus to lack advantages
other young men enjoy, the father decides to send him off on the morrow to join Valentine, fancying
that at the Milanese court his son will soon learn
the accomplishments which will transform him into
a graceful cavalier.
It is at this moment that Proteus enters, pouring
over a letter he has just received from Julia in answer to his partly read epistle. But, when his
father inquires what he is reading, Proteus mendaciously replies that he has heard from Valentine,
now abroad. His father begging to see the letter,
Proteus refuses to show it, volunteering instead that
his friend is inviting him to come to Milan, too.
Thereupon the father announces Proteus may
go thither, and, although the youth tries to postpone the moment of departure, insists upon his
leaving the next day and hurries off with the
servant to make preparations for the journey.
Left alone, Proteus bitterly regrets the vain falsehood which now parts him from his beloved Julia,
but has little time to devote to remorse, as the servant soon returns, bidding him join his father.
The second act opens in the palace in
Milan, where Valentine is conversing with his
servant, who, by mistake, hands him a glove belonging to the Duke's daughter Silvia, with whom
Valentine has meantime fallen in love. Having discovered his master's passion, the servant ably describes love's symptoms, revealing plainly how he has watched his master stare at his lady-love. But
when Valentine rapturously vows the lady's attractions are such that no one can refrain from doing
so, his man wittily avoids being entrapped into the
admission that she is the most beautiful person on
Next Valentine confides to his man that Silvia
has bidden him write lines addressed to one beloved lines he has found difficult to compose. Just
then Silvia enters, and while Valentine greets her, his servant withdraws to the background, whence he
slyly comments on all his master says and does. He thus overhears Valentine explain that, although he
has composed the required poem, it fails to satisfy him, adding that, had he addressed one he loved, he
could have displayed far more eloquence.
After coolly glancing at the paper he proffers, Silvia admits the lines are quaintly written, but soon
after returns them, stating she would prefer something more spontaneous, and suggests he write from
his heart, since that will insure fluency.
When Silvia has gone after this criticism, the
servant remarks that the lady is teaching his master his duty, as she evidently expects him to write
her a love-letter. But, however welcome, these
tidings seem too incredible to Valentine, who displays all the diffidence of the true lover.
The next scene is played in Verona, in Julia's house, where Proteus is reluctantly bidding farewell to his lady-love, promising to return from Milan
as soon as possible, and exchanging keepsake rings
with her. When she has left, Proteus dwells with
intense satisfaction upon the emotion she has shown,
and the tears choking her voice, delightful
memories over which he gloats until his father's
servant summons him away.
In the same town, but out in the street, Proteus' servant is next seen giving vent to uncouth sorrow
at parting from the various members of his family,
whose farewells he describes. But, although every
one else sheds plentiful tears at his going, he sorrowfully remarks his dog remained stolid throughout the farewell scenes, which he reproduces in pantomime. At this point he is interrupted by a fellow servant, who bids him hasten to join his master, vowing that they will otherwise miss the tide.
In the course of their talk, these two men exchange
puns and indulge in a war of wit, they two being
the fun-makers in the play.
The curtain next rises in the Duke's palace at
Milan, where Silvia is talking to Valentine, although the fact that she does so enrages Sir Thurio,
the suitor her father favours. Even Valentine's servant notices his irritation ere leaving the room,
and, before many moments pass, the rival lovers begin twitting each other in the lady's presence. Seeing Sir Thurio finally change colour, Valentine pokes fun at him, but although he scores him, he nevertheless manages at the same time to compliment Silvia, whose favour he is anxious to win.
This three-cornered, bitter-sweet conversation is
interrupted by the arrival of the Duke, reporting
news has just come from Valentine's father, announcing Proteus' speedy arrival. On hearing his
friend is on the way, Valentine praises him as a
charming and well-informed young man; his encomiums becoming so enthusiastic that the Duke declares such a youth must be worthy of an empress'
affections. He therefore bids his daughter and Sir
Thurio welcome him cordially ere leaving the room.
Valentine then explains to Silvia that this is the
gentleman whose love affairs have afforded her so
much entertainment, before Proteus is ushered in
and presented to her. She admits him to the circle
of her followers, proving so gracious, that the youth,
who has hitherto been wrapped up in his Julia, suddenly forgets her, to fall madly in love with his
A summons from the Duke, forcing Silvia to
leave the apartment with Sir Thurio, she bids Valentine and Proteus use that opportunity to discuss
home news, knowing they have a great deal to say to each other. Almost immediately Valentine confesses that, whereas his friend's talk of love once bored him, he now cares to converse on no other
subject, having himself become victim to the tender
When Proteus inquires who the object of his devotion may be, Valentine not only admits he loves
Silvia, but that he is so beloved by her in return, adding that, as the Duke refuses to countenance any
suitor but Sir Thurio, they have decided to elope that very night. In reply to his friend's questions,
Valentine explains how he is to climb to his lady's bower by means of a rope ladder, and bear her away.
Then, having secured his friend's aid for the elopement, Valentine leaves the room; whereupon Proteus
wonders that one love should so soon have driven the other out of his head, his passion of Julia having
thawed 'like a waxen image 'gainst a fire,' until it now 'bears no impression of the thing it was.' Because he wishes to win Silvia himself, Proteus suddenly determines, 'If I can check my erring love, I
will; if not, to compass her I'll use my skill.'
Meantime, in the streets of Milan, the servants of Valentine and Proteus meet, exchanging welcomes, remarks, and comments on their masters' affairs. In the course of this conversation, the one
confides that his master took sad leave of Julia,
after exchanging rings with her, there having not
been time to marry, while the other propounds conundrums and makes puns, both servants evidently
deriving considerable entertainment from quizzing
The curtain again rises in the palace, where Proteus is still pondering how to supplant his friend in
Silvia's affections. Although fully realising he will
be foresworn should he forsake Julia and betray his
friend, the temptation proves too strong to resist.
After some specious reasoning, therefore, Proteus
persuades himself that charity begins at home, and
that, as Silvia so far surpasses Julia in attractions,
he must win her for his own.
He, therefore, decides to reveal Valentine's plot to
the Duke, knowing the latter will prove grateful for
such a warning, and will speedily banish the unwelcome suitor in hopes of forcing his daughter to
accept Sir Thurio, a rival who appears far less
dangerous than Valentine, and whom he can easily
The next scene is played in Verona, in Julia's
house, where, after calling Lucetta into council,
she bids her devise means whereby she can journey
to Milan, to rejoin the lover whom she misses so
sorely. Although the handmaiden offers sundry objections, Julia declares she 'hath Love's wings to
fly,' vowing that, unless the journey be undertaken
pretty soon, she will pine away for lack of her beloved.
As all objections only increase her ardour for the
journey, the servant finally ceases to oppose Julia,
and inquires what disguise she proposes to assume.
Having determined on a page's garb, Julia discusses
with her maid the cut and style of the costume she
is to wear. But even so interesting a subject as
this cannot long divert her attention from Proteus,
whom she praises to the skies, mentioning his tears
at the moment of parting as proof of his affection.
The maid, however, does not consider tears convincing, for she merely remarks she hopes her mistress may find Proteus as faithful in Milan as in
Verona, ere she departs to prepare for the journey.
The third act opens in the palace in
Milan, just as the Duke is dismissing Sir Thurio
to give audience to Proteus. Taking advantage of
his first private interview with the Duke, Proteus,
after sundry false protestations of fidelity to his
friend and of loyalty to his master, finally confesses
that duty forces him to reveal that Valentine plans
to elope with Silvia that very night; adding, sanctimoniously, that, although asked to become an accomplice in this deed, he cannot reconcile it to his
conscience to do so.
After expressing gratitude for Proteus' warning,
the Duke confesses his suspicions have been so roused
for some time past that his daughter now lodges in
a tower of which the key is always in his own custody. Although he, therefore, fancies Silvia safe,
Proteus proves how Love laughs at locksmiths by informing him of the rope-ladder scheme, which is to
enable the lady to escape. Having thus thoroughly
exposed his friend's plans, Proteus implores the Duke
not to betray him, and leaves the room, calling his
attention to Valentine's approach.
Turning to the new-comer, who endeavours to
steal past him, concealing a rope-ladder beneath his
cloak, the Duke inquires what he is carrying, only
to hear it is a parcel of letters. But Valentine displays considerable annoyance when the Duke detains him to discuss his daughter's projected alliance with Sir Thurio, although he tries to disguise his impatience by saying it would be a fine
match, and by inquiring how the lady views the swain.
Thereupon the Duke exclaims his daughter is undutiful, as she has refused to accept his choice. He
professes to be angry enough to cast her off, consoling himself for her loss by marrying again. When
Valentine inquires how he can serve the Duke in so
delicate a matter, this nobleman replies he is anxious
to learn the newest methods for courting. Valentine thereupon suggests that he woo his lady-love
with gifts, and when the Duke vows she scorns his
presents, assures him that no lady's refusals are to
be taken seriously. He winds up his lecture on
courtship by saying, 'That man that hath a tongue, I
say, is no man, if with his tongue he cannot win a
When the Duke describes how inaccessible this
lady is, Valentine suggests his visiting her by night,
bidding him use a rope-ladder to reach her. This
scheme appeals to his grace, who minutely inquires
what such a ladder may be, and where it can be
procured. Whereupon Valentine promises to supply him with one that very evening, advising him to
wear a cloak like his, so he can carry it unnoticed.
The Duke, who has been asking all these questions
with a purpose in view, now insists upon removing
the cloak from Valentine's shoulders to try it on;
thereby revealing the fact that the youth is carrying
a letter addressed to Silvia, and a rope-ladder such
as he has described. After taking possession of the
letter, the Duke reads it aloud, only to discover
that it contains eloquent protestations of affection,
and a promise to free Silvia that very night.
Turning upon Valentine, the Duke now reviles
him as an impudent wretch, who has presumed to
raise his eyes to his daughter, vowing he shall be
exiled from court and slain if caught within the limits of his territory!
After pronouncing this stern decree the Duke departs, while Valentine wails that to leave Silvia is
equivalent to death, and that no happiness remains
to him on earth if he cannot see her. Still, mindful
of the ducal threats he dares not tarry, and is about
to flee to save his life.
It is at this moment Proteus appears, calling to
his servant to find Valentine, whom he seems rejoiced to discover here. He announces, however,
that he is bearer of bad news, and when Valentine
anxiously inquires whether any harm has befallen
Silvia, replies that a recent ducal proclamation exiles
him from Milan. When Valentine asks whether Silvia is aware of this decree, Proteus describes her tears,
saying she fell at her father's feet and implored him
with clasped hands to spare her lover. Her grief
and intercession, however, only added fuel to the
Duke's wrath, making him decree her imprisonment,
which news adds bitterness to Valentine's sorrow.
In attempting to comfort his friend, Proteus bids
him remember that 'hope is a lover's staff,' ere he
urges him to depart, promising to transmit his letters
to Silvia. Thereupon Valentine bids his friend's
servant notify his own man to meet him at the north
gate, ere he leaves the stage arm in arm with Proteus. They have barely gone when the servant remarks that Proteus is a knave, having cheated his friend out of his lady-love. He, therefore, concludes it better not to tell any one of his own love
affairs, although immediately thereafter he begins
talking to himself of the milkmaid he is wooing,
whose perfections he has jotted down upon a paper.
It is while he is conning this list, that Valentine's
servant enters; so both men begin one of their sparring, punning conversations, in the course of which
Valentine's man snatches the paper from his companion's hand and rattles off the lady's faults and
virtues. Only when considerable time has been
wasted in this manner, does Proteus' man suddenly
remember to deliver his message, and Valentine's
man hurries off to join his master, while his companion gleefully comments that he will probably be
beaten for his delay.
The next scene is played in the palace, where the
Duke is interviewing Sir Thurio, assuring him that,
now Valentine is banished, he will soon be able to
win his daughter's favour. This reasoning does not,
however, convince Sir Thurio, who explains that,
since Valentine's departure, the lady has been most
unkind. Their conversation is interrupted by the
entrance of Proteus, from whom the Duke inquires
whether Valentine has gone, commenting on his
daughter's grief at his banishment.
When Proteus assures him this sorrow will soon
cease, the Duke gladly agrees, while Sir Thurio
continues despondent. Meantime, entirely deceived
by Proteus' pretended devotion to him and to his
daughter, the Duke pours out into the youth's ear
complaints in regard to Silvia's perversity in continuing to love a suitor of whom her father does not
approve. In hopes of changing the young lady's
mind, the Duke also begs Proteus to visit her frequently, slandering his friend whenever he has access
to her, so as to undermine her affection for Valentine.
It is under pretence of serving the Duke that
Proteus accepts this charge, being secretly delighted
with the opportunity it affords him to be with the
lady, press his own suit, and win her favour. Still, to
throw dust in the eyes of the father who deems him
safe because betrothed, Proteus bids Sir Thurio
compose sonnets in honour of his lady-love and serenade her. This advice is approved by the Duke,
who pronounces Proteus an expert lover, and Sir
Thurio gravely promises to carry it out, leaving the
room immediately in quest of musicians to serenade
Silvia that evening.
The fourth act opens on the frontiers
of Mantua, in a forest, where outlaws are watching all the paths to arrest travellers. When the
brigands, therefore, behold Valentine and his servant,
they challenge them to stand and deliver, although
their victims claim they have nothing save their
clothes, having just been exiled from Milan.
Having suffered a similar penalty, the outlaws
eagerly inquire for what cause Valentine has been
banished ; whereupon he pretends to have fought a
duel in which his opponent was fairly slain. As
such a murder seems perfectly legitimate to the
outlaws, they fraternally invite Valentine to join
them, explaining that they, too, have been exiled
for like offences. Next, they invite Valentine to
become their chief, threatening to kill him unless he
complies; so he determines to make a virtue of
necessity, provided they will pledge themselves
to 'do no outrages on silly women or poor passengers;' for, like Robin Hood, he is willing to
despoil the rich, but eager to protect the poor.
The next scene is played in Milan beneath Silvia's
window, where Proteus stands alone, commenting
upon his treachery to his friend and his proposed disloyalty to Sir Thurio, whose suit he is pretending to
further. He adds that, although granted free access to Silvia, he has not yet been able to undermine
her trust in his friend, and that she reproaches him
for disloyalty to Julia, his former sweetheart, whenever he tries to make love to her. Although Silvia
has been so unkind that any other suitor would feel discouraged, Proteus declares that, 'spaniel-like, the
more she spurns my love, the more it grows and
fawneth on her still.'
His soliloquy is interrupted by the arrival of Sir
Thurio with musicians to serenade Silvia, and it
is while the performers are tuning their instruments
that Julia, disguised as a page, is led into the background by the host, who has brought a despondent
guest into this garden, hoping to cheer him with
music. As they enter, the host declares the page
will here see the gentleman concerning whom he inquired. Then, after decrying the singing of a
dainty sonnet, the page asks whether Proteus ever
visits Silvia, only to learn that his servant reports
him madly in love with the Duke's daughter. Besides, the host volunteers, this servant has just been
sent to procure a dog, to be offered to the lady in
his master's name on the morrow.
The serenaders now leave, and Sir Thurio follows
them, promising to meet Proteus on the next day.
All have gone when Silvia opens her window, and
thus Proteus receives the thanks intended for the
serenader. When he fervently exclaims he is always anxious to fulfil her wishes, Silvia bids him
cease annoying her with attentions, and return to
his former lady-love. Thereupon, Proteus swears
Julia is dead a remark which Silvia answers indignantly, while Julia softly vows that, although
she may be dead, she is not yet buried. When Proteus ventures to assert that Valentine, too, has
passed away, Silvia refuses to believe him, but is
weak enough to yield to a flattering request for her
picture, vowing, however, that it will speak to him
in the same strain as she does herself.
After Silvia and Proteus have withdrawn, the
page rouses his nodding host to inquire where Proteus now lodges, as he wishes to visit him. Then,
all being quiet on the scene, Sir Eglamour, a knight-errant, steals near, having come to receive Silvia's
orders. At his call, the fair lady opens her window and begs him to escort her, when she leaves
home on the morrow to avoid marrying, the suitor her
father is forcing her to accept. She adds that she
can trust Sir Eglamour, knowing he has vowed fidelity to the memory of his beloved, and implores him
to take her to Mantua, where she hopes to rejoin
Valentine. She also agrees to meet Sir Eglamour at
the cell of a holy friar, where she often goes for confession, and all arrangements being completed, both
leave the stage.
A while later the scene is occupied by Sir Proteus' servant, with the dog he took to Silvia. It is
not, however, the choice animal his master wished
to bestow upon his lady-love, but his own cur, whose
training has little fitted him for a lady's drawingroom. A moment later Proteus comes upon the
scene, talking to the page, whom he fails to recognise, but whose appearance is so prepossessing that
he wishes to employ him as messenger to Silvia.
On discovering his servant's presence, Proteus inquires how the lady received his gift, only to be
told she refused the dog with scorn, a refusal quite
comprehensible to Proteus when he discovers that
his man offered her a cur in his name.
While the servant departs in quest of the valuable
animal which he claims was stolen from him, Proteus resumes his conversation with the page, bidding
him carry a ring to Silvia which was once given
him by one who loved him dearly. When the page
artlessly inquires whether the giver is dead, Proteus
denies it; so the page pities the lady, hinting she
may have loved him as passionately as he now
loves Silvia, remarks to which Proteus pays no heed.
Instead, he directs his emissary how to reach the
lady, bidding him claim, in exchange for the ring,
the promised picture.
When Proteus has gone, Julia comments upon
the strange fate which makes her the bearer of such
a message, and compels her to carry her own ring
to the person who has supplanted her in her lover's
affections. Instead of pleading Proteus' cause, as
has been enjoined upon her, Julia intends to do the
contrary, and, therefore, eagerly questions a lady
who steps upon the scene. On ascertaining it is Silvia, the page delivers both message and ring, claiming the picture which he is sent to procure. Silvia not only refuses to read Proteus' letter, but tears it
up contemptuously, declaring she has no respect for
the writer. Then she spurns the ring, knowing it
was given to him by a lovely lady he once loved, and
adding that she will never so wrong a fellow-woman.
At these words the page heartily thanks her, and
when Silvia wonderingly inquires whether it is because he knows the lady in question, vows he is as
well acquainted with Julia as with himself. He
adds that this lady was once dearly beloved by Proteus, and describes her beauty and figure, saying she
is exactly his height, for she once allowed him to
wear her garments to act a play. All this information proves vividly interesting to Silvia, who bestows a reward upon the page ere leaving the scene
with her attendants.
The page now has an occasion to comment upon
her generosity to a stranger, her gentle compassion
for a forsaken lady, and her loyalty to her own sex
and lover. Then, in the picture which has been
delivered to him, he studies Silvia's attractions,
ascertaining with delight that she is no better looking than Julia, who, he hopes, may some time recover Proteus' love.
The fifth act is begun in the friar's cell,
where Sir Eglamour is waiting at sunset for Silvia, who is to join him there. When he sees her
appear, he greets her eagerly, only to be told to
go and await her at the postern gate, as she fears
they may be spied upon. To reassure her, Sir Eglamour states the forest is near, and that, once within
its mazes, they will be safe from pursuit.
The next scene is played in the palace, where Sir
Thurio is questioning Proteus in regard to his prospects of winning Silvia. He seems delighted when
told he has made progress, the lady only criticising
certain defects in his person, which he proposes to remedy by altering his dress, although the page,
present in the background, saucily comments such
alterations will be of no avail.
After some more conversation, devoted to feeding
Sir Thurio's vanity, the Duke comes in, inquiring
whether Sir Eglamour and his daughter have been
seen. It soon becomes evident Silvia has fled with
the knight, a friar reporting having seen them both in
the forest, near the cell where Silvia goes for confession. In his indignation at his daughter's escape,
the Duke bids both young men accompany him in
pursuit of the fugitives, whom he hopes to overtake
before they cross the frontier.
The Duke having gone, Sir Thurio vows it is a
peevish girl who tries to escape such a suitor as
himself, and decides to join the pursuit only to
avenge the insult Sir Eglamour has put upon him.
Meantime, Proteus decides to join the expedition for
love of Silvia, and the page so as to outwit his
We next behold the forest on the frontier of Mantua, where outlaws have just seized Silvia, whom
they are leading away to their captain. By their
conversation we discover Sir Eglamour has managed to escape, and that, while two of their number
are pursuing him, the rest are accompanying the lady
to their chief's cave, where they promise her honourable treatment. Meantime, in another part of the
forest, Valentine is cogitating over his position in
this solitude, and dreaming of the lady whom he
loves so dearly, but cannot see. In spite of his abstraction, however, he soon becomes aware of some
commotion in the forest, and idly wonders what
travellers his companions have arrested.
Just then he beholds an advancing group, consisting of Proteus, Silvia, and Julia, still disguised as
a page. Having surprised the outlaws leading Silvia away, Proteus has boldly rescued her, and is now
claiming as reward some mark of her favour, which she still refuses to bestow upon him. Overhearing
this, Valentine can scarcely credit his ears, and listens intently when Silvia wails that she would
rather have been seized by a hungry lion than by so
false a man as Proteus. She adds that the love she
bears Valentine is so true she cannot but despise his
treacherous friend, who should be ashamed of forgetting the loyalty due to Valentine and his oaths
to Julia. Then, she concludes by urging Proteus
to show greater fidelity to both lady-love and friend,
paying no heed to his arguments in defence of his
passion. But, when Proteus attempts to lay forcible
hands upon Silvia to bend her to his will, Valentine
suddenly steps forward, bidding him desist, and reviling him for conduct he never would have credited.
Being thus confronted by Valentine's contempt,
Proteus, suddenly realising how deeply he has sinned,
makes an humble apology, which Valentine accepts,
being generous enough to pardon any injury done
him, and saying, 'Who by repentance is not satisfled is not of heaven nor earth.' Then, thinking
it possible Silvia may love his friend better than
himself, and that only virtue keeps her loyal, Valentine magnanimously offers to relinquish all rights
to her. Afraid this will prevent her recovering her lover, Julia now faints away, so both men
hasten to the rescue of the fainting page. On recovering his senses, the page exclaims he has been
very remiss, for he has not yet delivered the ring which Proteus bade him give Silvia. But Proteus
now perceives with surprise it is no longer the token he gave the page, but that which Julia received as
his parting gift. An explanation ensues, in the
course of which Proteus discovers the page is Julia,
who has assumed male garb only to follow him.
The devotion she has shown so touches him that
he declares himself cured of inconstancy, and glad
to return to his former allegiance.
This conclusion pleases Valentine, who bestows his blessing upon the reunited lovers, just as the
outlaws bring in the Duke and Sir Thurio, whom they have captured in the forest. The brigands
seem delighted to have secured such a prize, but Valentine no sooner recognises the Duke than he does
obeisance to him, bidding his men immediately set
Surprised to discover Valentine and his daughter
together, the Duke does not interfere when Valentine demands that Sir Thurio relinquish all rights
to Silvia or forfeit his life. When Sir Thurio
promptly acquiesces, asseverating 'I hold him but
a fool who will endanger his body for a girl that
loves him not' this statement proves to the Duke
that he is too much of a coward to strike a single
blow to defend his claim to Silvia. Besides, the
father is now so struck with admiration for Valentine, that he bids him marry his daughter and return to court, where, bygones being forgotten, they
can begin a new life.
This consent to his marriage charms Valentine,
who takes courage to beg another boon, which the
Duke graciously promises to grant, whatever it may
be. Then Valentine eloquently pleads in behalf of
the outlaws, all of w r hom are pardoned and reinstated, after promising to become good citizens.
This settled, all return to Milan, Valentine promising to shorten the way by an account of his adventures, and explaining that the youthful page is none other than the fair Julia, who has come hither
in quest of a recreant lover. The only punishment
inflicted upon Proteus consists in an exposition of
his treacherous plans, ere he is allowed to marry
Julia, while Valentine espouses Silvia, and all
thereafter enjoy 'one feast, one house, one mutual
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Shakespeare's Portrayals of Sleep
Quotations About William Shakespeare
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