The Two Gentlemen of Verona
How we cite our quotes:
O, that our fathers would applaud our loves,
To seal our happiness with their consents!
O heavenly Julia! (1.3.6)
When Proteus complains that he and Julia can't wed without their fathers' permission, we're alerted to the fact that fathers are the ones who stand in the way of their children's happiness in the world of the play. This has major implications for Valentine and Silvia, who try to elope because Silvia's father wants her to marry Thurio.
A woman sometimes scorns what best contents her.
Send her another; never give her o'er;
For scorn at first makes after-love the more.
If she do frown, 'tis not in hate of you,
But rather to beget more love in you:
If she do chide, 'tis not to have you gone;
For why, the fools are mad, if left alone.
Take no repulse, whatever she doth say;
For 'get you gone,' she doth not mean 'away!'
Flatter and praise, commend, extol their graces;
Though ne'er so black, say they have angels' faces.
That man that hath a tongue, I say, is no man,
If with his tongue he cannot win a woman. (3.1.6)
According to Valentine, the only way for a man to "win a woman" is by using his tongue to flatter and woo her. On the one hand, this seems to be a condemnation of Proteus's tactics (resorting to rape when a woman refuses his advances). At the same time, however, Valentine is also insistent that if a woman is unresponsive to a man's overtures, she's just playing games. He says that if a woman tells a guy to get lost, she doesn't really mean it. This kind of attitude toward "winning" a woman is pretty dangerous, don't you think? We wonder if Valentine's advice is really that different from Proteus's approach, which is also to disregard the wishes of the woman he wants.
I now am full resolved to take a wife
And turn her out to who will take her in:
Then let her beauty be her wedding-dower;
For me and my possessions she esteems not. (3.1.7)
This is a strange moment in the play. Here, the unmarried Duke tells Valentine that he's decided to "take a wife," which means that he's ready to boot Silvia out of the house without a "wedding-dower" (because she's a disrespectful daughter). Is the Duke just trying to scare off Valentine? Maybe he's hoping Valentine will lose interest in Silvia if he thinks she has no dowry? If so, why doesn't the Duke just say that he's going to kick Silvia out of the house? What does his so-called interest in finding a new wife have to do with his daughter living at home?