2 March. TGV, Acts 2-3

Discussion Questions:

1.Why does Silvia trick Valentine into writing a letter to himself? How does her trick comment on the quality of his writing and his love for her?

2. What do you think of Silvia and Valentine’s relationship? How do they compare with Julia and Proteus?

3. Why dangers does the “cult of courtly love” pose to the larger social structures in TGV?

4. What are some examples from¬†that we’ve read so far in which¬†“love” shapes the lover’s perception of the beloved? Do tropes of “courtly love” suggest that perception always shapes objects we perceive (i.e. is beauty always in the eye of the beholder)?

5. Can we spend a minute with Lance, Crab, and the pantomime-with-in the larger play? What’s going on in the pantomime? Are we supposed to read the rest of the play against this moment? Who is the dog? Why does the answer to that question matter?

6. Who gets the best in the contest over Silvia, Thurio, Valentine, or neither man?

7. Are Proteus and Julia married?

8. Does Valentine really know Proteus?

9. How and why has Valentine changed since he left Verona?

10. Why does Proteus betray Valentine’s secret to the Duke?

11. How has Julia changed since we saw her last? Why does she plant to dress in “such weeds/As may beseem some well-reputed page” (2.742-3)?

12. How does the Duke trick Valentine into admitting to his plan to “enfranchise” (3.1.151) Silvia?

13. What’s your assessment of Valentine’s letter to Silvia:

My thoughts do harbor with my Silvia nightly,
And slaves they are to me, that send them flying.
O, could their master come and go as lightly,
Himself would lodge where, senseless, they are lying.
My herald thoughts in thy pure bosom rest them,
While I , their king, that thither them importune,
Do curse the grace that with such grace hath blessed them,
Because myself do want my servants fortune.
I curse myself for they are sent by me,
that they should harbor where their lord should be. (3.1.140-49)

14. How does Lance’s inventory of his ideal woman comment on the Valentine and Proteus?

15. How do Thurio, the Duke, and Proteus plan to trick Silvia into falling out of love with Valentine?

16. Does this play advocate violence against women and sexual assault, OR is the play trying to think about systemic causes of rape culture?

17. How does the figure of the animal intersect with questions about gender and sexuality in this play?


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