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The Two Gentlemen of Verona Love Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to the Norton edition.

Quote #10

And why not death rather than living torment?
To die is to be banished from myself,
And Silvia is myself; banished from her
Is self from self—a deadly banishment.
What light is light, if Silvia be not seen?
What joy is joy, if Silvia be not by—
Unless it be to think that she is by
And feed upon the shadow of perfection?
Except I be by Silvia in the night,
There is no music in the nightingale.
Unless I look on Silvia in the day,
There is no day for me to look upon.
She is my essence, and I leave to be,
If I be not by her fair influence
Fostered, illumined, cherished, kept alive.
I fly not death, to fly his deadly doom;
Tarry I here, I but attend on death,
but, fly I hence, I fly away from life. (3.1.174-191)

This is one of the most famous speeches in the play. Here, Valentine laments that he's been banished from Milan and his beloved Silvia. In elevated terms, he declares that life is meaningless for him without her, so much so that fleeing from Milan is the same as "fly[ing] away from life." This reminds of the character "Juliet," who says that Romeo's banishment is like a death sentence (Romeo and Juliet, 3.2.10).

Quote #11

All that was mine in Silvia I give thee. (5.4.89)

After Proteus apologizes to Valentine for trying to steal his girlfriend, Valentine immediately forgives him and makes a peace offering. There seems to be a few ways to read this passage:

  1. Any claims I made to Silvia's love, I give thee. (He's going to step aside and let Proteus have her.
  2. All the love I gave to Silvia, I give thee. (Valentine loves Proteus more than he loves Silvia.
  3. All the love I gave to Silvia, I'll give to you too. (He'll love Proteus and Silvia equally.)
Either way, things aren't looking too good for Silvia, who was nearly raped by Proteus and is about to get formally engaged to a guy who doesn't place her first.

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