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MonkeyNotes-The Two Gentlemen of Verona by William Shakespeare
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Act I, Scene 3

Panthino advises his master Antonio to send his son Proteus to serve the Duke of Milan, in order to give him a taste of worldly experience. Antonio accepts the advice and resolves to send Proteus to the Duke's palace, so that he will be "tried and tutored in the world."

When the scene shifts to Proteus, he is seen mooning over a letter from Julia, clutching it to his breast. His father interrupts him and asks his son who has written the letter. Proteus lies and says it is from Valentine, who is well in Milan and who wishes Proteus to be "the partner of his fortune". Antonio, knowing no better time than now to make his own wish known to his son, says, "My will is something sorted with his wish." Proteus is surprised by his father's demand, but does not make any objection about visiting Milan, where he will be able to see his good friend Valentine. When he asks for some time to prepare for the trip, his request is denied. Proteus is told to leave the very next day for the court of the Duke of Milan.


Notes

Antonio, like Valentine, is convinced that travel broadens the mind and decides that his son Proteus should go and stay at the court of the Duke of Milan to gain some education. Antonio obviously has control over his son, for he does not plan even to discuss the matter with Proteus. Proteus proves he is not as free thinking as Valentine, for he simply accepts his father's wishes.

The immaturity and fickleness of Proteus are hinted at in this scene. He appears like a lovesick puppy when he reads Julia's letter. He directly lies to his father about the letter, not once but twice. Then when his father tells him the plan of going to Milan, Proteus does not offer one word of protest. He is sad to leave Julia behind, but not strong enough to fight to stay with her.

It is important to note that in most Elizabethan romantic comedies, parents (and particularly fathers) usually stand in the way of their children's love affairs. This play follows that pattern. Without knowing it, Antonio, by sending his son away to Milan, is standing in the way of Proteus' affair with Julia.

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