The Two Gentlemen of Verona Act 5, Scene 4 Summary
In another part of the forest, Valentine is alone and contemplates the perks of forest living. He likes the solitude and the sounds of nature because he can think about his love for Silvia without being disturbed. Plus, he doesn't have to deal with the chaos of court life.
The only downside to this new lifestyle is that baby sitting his new outlaw buddies is hard work – he's always busy preventing them from robbing and assaulting hapless travelers.
Proteus, Silvia, and Julia (dressed as "Sebastian") enter the stage. Valentine sees them but they don't see him.
Proteus, who has apparently rescued Silvia from the outlaws, insists that Silvia should be grateful – if he hadn't come along, they would have ravaged her.
Silvia says she would have rather been eaten by a lion than rescued by the "false Proteus."
Silvia tells Proteus to go back to Julia. He should also be a better friend to Valentine.
Proteus replies that if Silvia won't love him, he'll "woo [her] like a soldier, at arms end,/ And love [her] 'gainst the nature of love: force [her]." Translation: he's going to rape her.
Before Proteus can assault Silvia, Valentine rushes over and stops him.
Instead of yelling at Proteus for trying to rape Silvia, Valentine lights him up for being a lousy friend. (We're not kidding. Valentine is more concerned about Proteus's betrayal of friendship than he is about the fact that his pal is a would-be rapist.)
Proteus apologizes for being a disloyal friend to Valentine and Valentine forgives him immediately.
To demonstrate his affection for Proteus, Valentine says "All that was mine in Silvia I give thee." There are a couple of 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.) or 2) All the love I gave to Silvia, I'll give to you too. (He'll love Proteus and Silvia equally.)
Brain Snack: In the story of Titus and Gisippus (related first by Boccaccio and later retold in Thomas Elyot's Book of the Governor (1531), Gisippus gives his best friend, Titus, the woman he is supposed to marry after Titus falls in love with her (Book Named the Governor, 2.12). This story, as you can guess, was a major literary influence on Shakespeare's play.
Before Proteus can respond, "Sebastian" faints.
"Sebastian" then snaps out of it and reveals that "he" is actually Julia. Plus, Julia has got the ring Proteus gave her to prove it.
Now that "Sebastian" is Julia again, Julia says "Ha! You're busted."
Proteus feels guilty for having strayed from Julia and says he doesn't know what he was thinking – now that he sees Julia again, he's back in love with her.
This, apparently, is enough for Julia to forgive Proteus. They join hands.
The outlaws burst onto the scene with a couple of prisoners – the Duke and Thurio.
Thurio tries to grab Silvia and Valentine threatens to kill him. (Gosh. Where were the death threats when Proteus had Silvia?)
Thurio is like, "Fine, you can have her because I don't want her."
The Duke is so impressed by Valentine that he lifts Valentine's banishment and announces that he can have his daughter – it'll be his "gift" to Valentine.
Valentine thanks the Duke for the generous "gift" and announces that the outlaws should be pardoned for all their past crimes.
Fine, says the Duke.
Now that that's settled, everyone sets off for the Duke's court in Milan. Valentine gets all buddy-buddy with his father-in-law to be by promising to tell the Duke a funny story about how Julia wound up dressed like a boy in the middle of the forest.
Valentine proposes to have a double wedding and everyone heads back to Milan for a big shindig.
Check out "What's Up With the Ending?" if you want to know more…