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The Two Gentlemen of Verona

The Two Gentlemen of Verona


by William Shakespeare

The Two Gentlemen of Verona Act 2, Scene 1 Summary

  • Back in Milan, Speed helps Proteus put on his gloves and finds a third glove that belongs to Silvia – the girl with whom Valentine has recently fallen head over heels in love.
  • Speed teases Valentine about his crush and says that Valentine's been moping around like a lovesick puppy: sighing, folding his arms, singing love songs, refusing to eat, and crying like a girl weeping over her dead grandmother (he seriously says that).
  • Then Speed proceeds to insult Valentine and Silvia by implying that Silvia is ugly but Valentine thinks she's beautiful because he's wearing love goggles.
  • Silvia enters and lovelorn Valentine proceeds to shower her with compliments.
  • Silvia refers to Valentine as her "servant" and then proceeds to treat him like one.
  • Brain Snack: We see this kind of thing all the time in "courtly love" literature (like Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde, c. 1350), where guys devote themselves to their lady-loves and call themselves "servants." Shakespeare is sort of poking fun of Valentine and the whole courtly love convention here, even as he participates in it.
  • We find out that Silvia has recently asked Valentine to write a love letter to an unnamed "friend" of Silvia's. Valentine, who doesn't understand that Silvia really meant she wanted him to write a love letter to her, hands over the note and is all "I hope your friend likes it. It's not very good because I don't know anything about the person I was writing to."
  • Silvia is peeved at the generic contents of the letter and shoves it back at Valentine, telling him to try again – this time, the letter should be more passionate.
  • Poor Valentine is baffled by Silvia's behavior until Speed explains why Silvia is so upset.
  • Speed announces it's dinner time and Valentine says something like "I'm not hungry. I've already dined on love."

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