DQ, Two Gentlemen of Verona

Featured Image, TGV, First Folio (1623)


Keep the following questions in mind as you read The Jew of Malta

Act 1

  • 1. Why does Proteus stay at home and why does Valentine prepare to travel to Milan?
  • 2. What request does Proteus make of Valentine before he leaves for Milan?
  • 3. How does love transform Proteus?
  • 4. How does this play define “love” in the first act? Why is love so hard to define?
  • 5. What’s going on with the letter that Proteus sends Julia? Why are Julia’s reading practices so fraught?
  • 6. Why does Proteus’s dad, Antonio, want to send him to the “Emperor”?
  • 7. What lie does Proteus make up about the letter Julia sends him? Why?

Acts 2-3

  • 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?
  • 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?

Acts 4-5

  • 1. What happens to Valentine after he is exiled from the court of Milan? What reason does he give when the outlaws ask why he was exiled? Why does he lie?
  • 2. Is the world out of doors different from the world inside? If yes, how?
  • 3. What techniques or actions does Proteus employ to woo Silvia once Valentine is exiled? How does Silvia respond?
  • 4. What’s your assessment of Julia? Why does she persist in her love for Proteus? Why does she “pity him/That with his very heart despiseth me?” (4.4.86-7)
  • 5. Is Silvia a good rhetorician? To answer this question, may want to look at how she persuaded Sir Eglamour to help her escape her father (4.3.11-36), or her response to Proteus (4.286-98).
  • 6. In 4.2, the Host perceives that Julia, who is disguised as Sebastian, does not like Proteus’s song. One reasons she gives for not liking the song is that the change in the music is the “spite” (4.2.64). Is this a play about the relative merits of change and constancy? If yes, what is your final assessment of the those concepts as they pertain to the play?  “O heaven, were man/But constant, he were perfect” (5.4.108-9).
  • 7. Who rescues Silvia from the Outlaws and what does her rescuer expect in return?
  • 8. How does Valentine respond to Proteus’s apology? Were you surprised?
  • 9. What sort of future does Valentine have planned according to the final five lines of the play?
  • 10. The Jew of Malta and The Two Gentlemen of Verona were both written, and maybe played, in 1589, so the plays share many staging/acting techniques unique to early modern drama. What are some techniques that the two plays share? What do those techniques help communicate to the audience?
  • 11. Is Silvia a good friend? In your final assessment, who are the best pair of friends we have seen so far this semester?

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