Two Gentlemen of Verona, Synopsis

2gentsphilipTwo friends. Two girls. Two servants. Two cities. One great story.

Lovesick Proteus stays in Verona to woo Julia while his best friend, Valentine, leaves for Milan to seek adventure. Not long after, Proteus’ father desires a similar experience for his son and packs him off to the Duke’s court in Milan amidst complaints from both Proteus and Julia. After many promises of continued love and an exchange of rings, Proteus reluctantly departs for Milan, where his friend Valentine has given his heart to the Duke’s daughter Silvia.

Nearly as soon as he steps ashore, Proteus too falls in love with Silvia—a situation that puts him in competition with his best friend for the lady’s hand. Unaware of this new rival, Valentine confesses all to Proteus: his love, the objection of Silvia’s father the Duke, and the couple’s plans to elope. Desperate to win Silvia’s affection, the treacherous Proteus alerts the Duke of the lovers’ plans while seeming to support his friend, and the enraged Duke banishes Valentine from the court.

Meanwhile, back in Verona, Julia decides to follow Proteus in order to be near him. Dressed as a page and calling herself Sebastian, she arrives in court just in time to see Proteus attempting to woo Silvia, who rebuffs him. Sebastian/Julia attaches herself to Silvia in order to keep an eye on the unfaithful Proteus.

Following his banishment, the languishing Valentine comes upon a group of outlaws who are themselves gentlemen cast out of court. They call for Valentine to be their king upon penalty of death. Back in Milan, Silvia enlists the help of Sir Eglamour to search for Valentine in the woods. The fugitive pair are attacked by the outlaw band when Proteus, the Duke, and Sebastian/Julia discover them. Proteus rescues Silvia from the outlaws and demands that Silvia repay him with her love. She flatly refuses just as Valentine arrives to inspect the outlaws’ captives. Humbled and genuinely sorry, Proteus apologizes for his rash behavior. Overcome by the situation, the page Sebastian faints; whereupon, the entire party recognizes Sebastian’s identity. Upon seeing her again, Proteus realizes that he truly loves Julia instead of Silvia. Witnessing the joy of the young lovers, the Duke assents to allow Valentine to marry Silvia and in the spirit of the day shows mercy to the outlaws. Valentine agrees to share his nuptials with his former rival and announces that they will also share, “One feast, one house, one mutual happiness!”


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