The Two Gentlemen of Verona
The Two Gentlemen of Verona Gender Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
LUCETTA Madam, Dinner is ready, and your father stays. (1.2.18)
In the previous passage, we saw how young noblemen are expected to travel the world in order to become well-rounded individuals. This theory does not apply to young women, who are expected to remain at home. When Lucetta informs Julia that her father has called her to dinner, this becomes even more apparent – Julia is called to the table while Proteus is sent abroad. But, Julia doesn't just sit around the house in the play. As we know, she dons a disguise and travels to Milan, which is a pretty gutsy thing for her to do.
VALENTINE I mean that her beauty is exquisite, but her favour infinite. SPEED That's because the one is painted and the other out of all count. (2.1.15)
According to Speed, the only reason Silvia looks like a "beauty" is because she covers her face with a "painted" mask. Speed's nasty little jab at women who wear makeup seems to suggest that all women who wear cosmetics are deceitful. The thing is, however, Silvia is most definitely not a deceitful woman. (Unless we count the part where she plans to elope with Valentine.) In fact, she remains loyal and true to Valentine throughout the play, despite Proteus's attempts to lure her away.
Brain Snack: We see Speed's attitude toward women and cosmetics in other plays like Hamlet, where, for example, King Claudius compares his "painted word[s]" (every lie he tells) to the way a "harlot" "plasters" her face with makeup:
The harlot's cheek, beautied with plastering art,
Is not more ugly to the thing that helps it
Than is my deed to my most painted word: (3.1.4)
Sir Valentine, my friend, This night intends to steal away your daughter: Myself am one made privy to the plot. I know you have determined to bestow her On Thurio, whom your gentle daughter hates; And should she thus be stol'n away from you, It would be much vexation to your age. (3.1.1)
When Proteus tattles to the Duke that Silvia and Valentine plan to elope, he uses the language of theft to get Silvia's dad riled up. Valentine, he says, is going to "steal" the Duke's daughter, which suggests that young women are their fathers' possessions. We see also this kind of attitude in plays like Othello, where Iago tells Brabantio that he has been "robb'd" by a thief after Othello and Desdemona (Brabantio's daughter) elope (Othello, 1.1.7).