The Two Gentlemen of Verona | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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The Two Gentlemen of Verona | Act 5, Scene 2 | Summary



Back at the Duke's palace Thurio is asking Proteus about his chances of successfully wooing Sylvia. Proteus shares that Sylvia has calmed down somewhat; she is "milder than she was" when Valentine was banished but still finds Thurio unappealing. Julia, present in disguise as Sebastian, listens to the exchange and makes sarcastic asides about Thurio's lack of charm and intelligence.

The Duke storms in looking for Eglamour and Sylvia. From the friars at the abbey he has learned of his daughter's escape and now summons Proteus and Thurio to join the search party. Thurio agrees in the hope of getting revenge on Eglamour, and Proteus follows to have one more chance at winning Sylvia's love. Julia goes along, too, hoping to "cross" Proteus in his attempt to woo Sylvia.


The events of Acts 3 and 4 have established a cold and unfeeling streak in Proteus's character. This scene shows him in a more pathetic light, still clinging to the remote hope of winning Sylvia's love. Although Proteus might despise Thurio and take advantage of him, his behavior in this scene shows a deep similarity between the two: both are desperate lovers who don't know when to quit or, to put it more troublingly, won't take no for an answer. Thurio spends his money on musicians and presents, neither of which do anything to mitigate Sylvia's hostility toward him. Proteus gives away not only material gifts but also his time and his dignity—all without effect. In fact his behavior is worse than ineffective; it's counterproductive. The more Proteus attempts to win Sylvia with presents, the less he resembles Valentine, the only suitor in whom Sylvia shows the least interest.

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