The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Not enjoying this one very much so far. Is it just me, or is Shakespeare kinda dirty? Like, and love is the worst, right? At least, that’s the point of this book… right?
This book is pulling me back into my original cynicism for “love”, or worldly love (lust?) I suppose. It’s this sort of description that always turned me off of the whole idea. Proteus and Julia and Valentine and Silvia’s love seems so superficial, all sorts of passionate, but it doesn’t sound pleasant at all! First, Valentine calls Proteus a fool for his passionate love, saying that “Love is your master, for he masters you;/ And he that is so yoked by a fool/ Methinks should not be chronicled for wise” (1.1.40).
Then, Valentine goes off and falls for the “painted” Silvia, who wears makeup “to make her fair”, but “no man counts of her beauty” (11.1.58). But, as servants Lucetta and Speed say, “Love is blind” (11.1.68). Speed describes the moodiness and odd behavior Valentine has fallen into since falling in love (“to walk alone”, “to sigh”, “to fast”, to “whine like a beggar”.) Seriously, love sounds awful! Who would want that?!
Proteus seems to be a man of good esteem and reputation. And yet, love makes him blind and a fool. This love is uncertain, as Proteus says, comparing it to “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” (11.1.84).
Perhaps Shakespeare is just trying to warn against immature love, and all the woes that come with “the most forward bud/ [which] is eaten by the canker ere is blow/ even so by love the young and tender wit/ Is turned to folly, blasting in the bud/ Losing his verdure even in the prime / And all fair effects of future hopes” (11.1.46).
I’ve seen people get into trouble after getting too tied up in a youthful “love” that isn’t love at all, and suddenly “losing . . . All fair effects of future hopes”. I have a feeling fickle Proteus is going to go after the superficial Silvia, as he’s already forgetting his passionate desire for Julia. Sheesh. So glad I didn’t date much during High School… cause it’s the worst, right?!