The Two Gentlemen of Verona | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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The Two Gentlemen of Verona | Act 5, Scene 3 | Summary



In the forest outside Mantua Sylvia is captured by the trio of unnamed outlaws, who plan to take her to their leader. Eglamour evidently has escaped, but other bandits are on his trail. Despite her predicament, Sylvia retains her composure, having suffered "a thousand more mischances than this one." One of the outlaws reassures Sylvia their captain "bears an honorable mind / And will not use a woman lawlessly."


Sylvia's loyalty, like Julia's, stands in sharp contrast to the faithlessness of their male counterparts. Valentine, it's true, is neither cruel nor deceitful like Proteus, but as Act 5, Scene 4 will show he is still not as faithful to Sylvia as she is to him. He may—and will—lament about missing Sylvia, but for all his lovesickness he has made no attempt to escape from the forest and reunite with her. Sylvia, meanwhile, risks life and limb to find Valentine, despite having only a vague clue about his whereabouts. Her capture by the outlaws highlights the hazardous nature of her journey and the forest as a symbol of a place where rules of society are turned upside down.

This is the third of the three successive brief scenes opening Act 5. They move the plot along quickly and add a sense of drama to the story in the form of an escape, a search, and a capture by outlaws in a forest.

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