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The Two Gentlemen of Verona

William Shakespeare

Act V, scenes i-iii

Act IV, scenes iii-iv

Act V, scene iv

Summary

Eglamour and Silvia rendezvous at Friar Patrick's cell. Proteus is interrogating Sebastian about his interaction with Silvia when the Duke interrupts them, announcing Silvia's disappearance. Proteus, Sebastian, and the Duke form a search party with Thurio and ride off to find Silvia.

Meanwhile, Silvia is captured by the outlaws as she rides through the forest. Her chaperone, Eglamour, flees, too fearful for his own safety to protect the young maiden. As the outlaws bring Silvia to their captain, she wails, "O Valentine! This I endure for thee" (V.iii.15).

Commentary

Eglamour's flight is another example of the failure of men to treat women with respect. Initially, Eglamour shows himself a kind and trustworthy character. The instant the bandits appear, however, he abandons Silvia to the outlaws' clutches. In using the French word for love (amour) in the noble's name, Shakespeare casts another barb in the direction of idealized love: a love that changes so quickly in the face of adversity is no real love at all. Additionally, Shakespeare again creates a disconnect between a character's social status and his actions: supposedly a gentleman and the embodiment of a superior, spiritual, chaste love, Eglamour proves quite a ninny.

The Duke tells the assembled search party that Silvia has gone to "Friar Laurence" (V.ii.35). Shakespeare most likely intended to write "Friar Patrick," who is mentioned in the preceding scene, yet this mistake is interesting because it casts the friar in The Two Gentlemen of Verona as the predecessor to Friar Laurence in Romeo and Juliet .

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