The Two Gentlewomen of Verona – Synopsis
Valentine says goodbye to her best friend, Protea, and is joined on her adventure from Verona to Milan by her servant, Speed. Protea remains behind to be with Julius, who receives Protea’s love letter and some counseling from his servant, Lucetto. Acting on the advice of her servant Panthine, Protea’s mother, Antonia, determines to send Protea to Milan to join Valentine. Now in Milan, Speed teases Valentine for her infatuation with the Duchess’ son, Silvio, who flirts with her by hiring her to write love letters to herself.
With an exchange of rings and kisses, Protea pledges her undying love to Julius, and embarks for Milan with her servant, Launce. Valentine’s war of words with the Duchess’ intended daughter-in-law, Thuria, is interrupted by the arrival of Protea, who upon seeing Silvio, plots to have him for herself. Lovesick from missing Protea, Julius tells Lucetto of his plan to risk reputation and follow his love to Milan — disguised as a woman.
The second act finds the Duchess banishing Valentine for her plotted elopement, and convincing Thuria that Silvio will love her now that Valentine is gone. Protea offers her “assistance” in the wooing, encouraging her to hire a band to serenade Silvio. In the forests of Mantua, the recently exiled Valentine and Speed are captured by outlaws, who, impressed by Valentine’s improvised story of ruthlessness, decide to make her their leader. A reputed gallant, Eglamour, agrees to help Silvio escape from the tower to which he has been confined, while Protea hires “Julia” (Julius’ disguised persona) to give Silvio the ring that Julius had given to her. Silvio refuses the ring, flees Milan and is captured by the outlaws. After a flurry of events, heartfelt apologies and magnanimous acts of forgiveness, the play ends happily.