The Two Gentlemen of Verona Lies and Deceit Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to the Norton edition.
The best way is to slander Valentine
With falsehood, cowardice and poor descent,
Three things that women highly hold in hate. (3.2.31-33)
We knew Proteus was bad before, but his deception just keeps getting worse. By this point, he's already arranged to get Valentine kicked out of Milan. Now, he's planning on talking trash about him to Silvia so she'll think he's a loser.
How many women would do such a message?
Alas, poor Proteus, thou hast entertain'd
A fox to be the shepherd of thy lambs.
Alas, poor fool, why do I pity him
And now am I, unhappy messenger,
To plead for that which I would not obtain,
To carry that which I would have refused,
To praise his faith which I would have dispraised.
I am my master's true confirmèd love,
But cannot be true servant to my master
Unless I prove false traitor to myself.
Yet will I woo for him, but yet so coldly
As—Heaven it knows!—I would not have him
speed. (4.4.95-98; 104-113)
Poor Julia. When Proteus asks "Sebastian" (Julia in disguise) to deliver her ring to another woman, she actually feels bad that she's deceiving Proteus by being in disguise. Then she comes to her senses (sort of) when she recognizes that he really doesn't deserve her "pity." In the end, Julia completes the errand but acknowledges that, by playing the part of the obedient "servant" (she's been hired as Proteus's page boy), she's being a "traitor" to herself.
JULIA, as Sebastian
When all our pageants of delight were played,
Our youth got me to play the woman's part,
And I was trimmed in Madam Julia's gown,
Which served me as fit, by all men's judgments,
As if the garment had been made for me;
Therefore I know she is about my height.
And at that time I made her weep agood,
For I did play a lamentable part;
Madam, 'twas Ariadne, passioning
For Theseus' perjury and unjust flight,
Which I so lively acted with my tears
That my poor mistress, movèd therewithal,
Wept bitterly; and would I might be dead
If I in thought felt not her very sorrow. (4.4.168-181)
The only way Julia can talk about her heartache is by pretending to be someone else. Here, she's disguised as "Sebastian" and she tells Silvia that she once borrowed Julia's clothes to plat the role of "Ariadne" in a church play. She goes on to fib that her performance of this "woman's part" was so good that it moved Julia to tears. "Ariadne" is a figure from Greek mythology – she's famous for hanging herself after her boyfriend, Theseus, breaks up with her. Now, we know that Julia/Sebastian never played the role of Ariadne in a play. This made up story is Julia's only way of expressing her sadness over the loss of Proteus.