The Two Gentlemen of Verona
Transformation Quotes Page 2
How we cite our quotes:
What, angry, Sir Thurio! do you change colour?
Give him leave, madam; he is a kind of chameleon.
That hath more mind to feed on your blood than live
in your air. (2.4.3)
Thurio is so enraged by Valentine and Silvia's flirtatious relationship that his face turns red. Silvia, being the sassy girl that she is, makes fun of him and Valentine piles on the insults by calling Thurio a "chameleon," a creature with the capacity to change color. Is Valentine also suggesting that Thurio has a fickle personality? If so, he might be right because, later in the play, Thurio decides he's no longer interested in a "peevish" girl (5.2.33).
But in what habit will you go along?
Not like a woman; for I would prevent
The loose encounters of lascivious men:
Gentle Lucetta, fit me with such weeds
As may beseem some well-reputed page. (2.7.4)
Julia is determined to follow Proteus to Milan, but, as a woman, travelling alone is a big no-no. The solution? To transform her appearance by disguising herself as a boy.
She hath been fairer, madam, than she is:
When she did think my master loved her well,
She, in my judgment, was as fair as you:
But since she did neglect her looking-glass
And threw her sun-expelling mask away,
The air hath starved the roses in her cheeks
And pinch'd the lily-tincture of her face,
That now she is become as black as I. (4.4.17)
Disguised as "Sebastian," Julia reveals to Silvia that she feels her love for Proteus has physically transformed her. At one time, she was a beauty but, since Proteus betrayed her, Julia says she has neglected her appearances. Julia's remarks are a bit ironic, given that she's wearing a disguise that literally has changed her looks. At the same time, Julia's sense that she has become physically unattractive is probably a reflection of how heartache makes her feel on the inside.
We also want to point out that Julia's comments about no longer being fair (light-complexioned and good-looking) because she hasn't protected her skin from the sun's rays reflects a common sixteenth-century idea in England – that light skin is more attractive than dark skin. One of the clearest examples of this attitude can be seen in the words of several characters in Othello.