Two Gentlemen Of Verona: Summary & Characters

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  • 0:02 As the Play Begins
  • 1:38 Plot: Duke's Court,…
  • 3:27 Plot: Silvia is…
  • 4:30 Main Characters
  • 5:54 Supporting Characters
  • 6:38 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Patricia Vineski

Patricia has an MFA in Writing, an MS in Teaching and English Language Arts, and a BA in English.

In this lesson, you will learn about Shakespeare's play 'Two Gentlemen of Verona' and the relationships between the characters whose antics create the comically disturbing plot of the play. Meet the characters and follow the plot to the happy ending.

As the Play Begins

As the play Two Gentlemen of Verona begins, best friends Valentine and Proteus tearfully say good-bye to each other on a street in Verona. Valentine is out to see the world and to improve himself, while Proteus, in love with Julia, stays home. Once Valentine has left, his servant, Speed, enters the scene. Proteus asks Speed whether or not he has delivered his letter to Julia, and Speed replies that he has. But Proteus, knowing he is but one of Julia's many suitors, is fearful of the slightest thing going wrong and sends another messenger with a letter to Julia, just to make sure that she does, indeed, receive it.

In Julia's Garden

Meanwhile, in Julia's garden, Julia asks her maid, Lucetta, to whom she looks for advice about love, which one of her many suitors she should choose. Lucetta recommends Proteus and then admits that she has a letter for Julia from Proteus. Julia, although she loves Proteus and would gladly choose him, pretends to be indifferent and even scornfully refuses to accept his letter. But as soon as Lucetta has taken the letter away with her, Julia wants it back. She then summons back her maid, who, in frustration, tosses the letter at Julia's feet. Julia responds to this insolent behavior by picking up the letter and ripping it to shreds, only to regret this a moment later.

Back at Proteus' House

Back at Proteus' house, Antonio, Proteus' father, not wanting his son to lack the advantages other young men enjoy, decides to send him to join Valentine at the Duke's court in Milan. So, Julia and Proteus, fearful of being separated, exchange rings and promises of continuing love.

The Duke's Court

When Proteus arrives at the Duke's court, he falls in love with Silvia, the Duke's daughter, and vows to do anything he can to win her away from Valentine, who has also fallen in love with her. The Duke, however, has promised her to Sir Thurio, who is very rich. So, when Valentine tells Proteus that he and Silvia plan to elope, Proteus tells the Duke. The Duke then banishes Valentine, who is captured by a group of outlaws as he travels to Mantua. The outlaws, who have all been banished themselves, threaten to kill Valentine if he does not agree to be their king, so Valentine accepts.

Back in Verona, Julia, with the help of Lucetta, has come up with a plan to disguise herself as a man so that she can travel safely to Milan to be with Proteus.

Julia Arrives

When Julia arrives at the Duke's court, she sees Proteus wooing Silvia and decides to present herself to Proteus as a page named Sebastian. Proteus asks her to deliver the ring she gave him at their parting to his new love Silvia, and she agrees. But Silvia rejects the ring, knowing it was given to Proteus by a woman he once loved.

Silvia Runs Away

Silvia then asks her friend Sir Eglamour to help her find her love, Valentine, and to help her escape Proteus' attentions and her father's insistence that she marry Sir Thurio. However, while they are traveling through the forest, they are captured by some outlaws. Sir Eglamour runs away, leaving Silvia to fend for herself against them.

A Search Party Is Formed

When Sir Eglamour returns to the Duke's court, he tells the Duke a story of how Silvia was captured, in spite of his efforts to save her. The Duke, along with his best knights, Proteus, and Sebastian/Julia form a search party to find and rescue Silvia from the outlaws. Valentine and his gang of outlaws follow them, unnoticed within the thick shadows of the trees. Sir Eglamour remains behind.

Silva Is Rescued

Ironically, it is Proteus who rescues Silvia from the outlaws, and when he insists that she give him some sign of her gratitude for saving her, she refuses. He then tries to rape her, but Valentine, who has been watching from behind the trees, jumps out and stops him. Julia (dressed as Sebastian) watches all this from her hiding place among the trees. Proteus apologizes, and Valentine, with the Duke's permission, offers him Silvia as a token of their friendship and the Duke's good graces.

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