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Two Gentlemen of Verona

William Shakespeare

Summary and Analysis Act I: Scene 3


Proteus's father decides to send his son abroad to Milan, where Valentine has gone, to gain experience of the world. When Proteus comes onto the stage, he is obviously in a daydream, clutching a love letter and warbling ("O heavenly Julia") in such a way as to make his father even more determined to "make a man of him." Proteus lies about the letter, saying it is from Valentine. Antonio will not listen to his son's plea for a short reprieve to prepare for his trip: "For what I will, I will, and there an end."


Fathers traditionally block the paths of lovers in romantic comedy, and so it is at this moment of The Two Gentlemen of Verona. The blow to Proteus, however, spurs him to utter some of the finest lines of poetry in the play:

O, how this spring of love resembleth
The uncertain glory of an April day,
Which now shows all the beauty of the sun,
And by and by a cloud takes all away! (84–87)