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The Two Gentlemen of Verona - Study Questions and Answers

From Shakespeare Explained by Forrest Lunt. New York: Hearst's International Library.


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.


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.


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?"


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

How to cite this article:
Lunt, Forrest. Shakespeare Explained. New York: Hearst's International Library, 1915. Shakespeare Online. 2 Aug. 2011. (date when you accessed the information) < >.

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