Essay about Loyalty in Shakespeare's Two Gentleman of Verona

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Loyalty in Shakespeare's Two Gentleman of Verona

In Webster's Dictionary, loyalty is defined as the quality or state or an instance of being loyal and loyal is defined as an unswerving in allegiance. In Elizabethan England, loyalty was believed to be the ultimate test of a gentleman's character, that only those who passed this test could be considered the perfect Elizabethan gentleman. Shakespeare believed this too. In, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, loyalty is a very prevalent theme throughout the comedy.
In Act I, the friendship of Proteus and Valentine is quickly established. Valentine is leaving Verona to continue his education in the court of the Duke of Milan, leaving his friend behind. Proteus' passion for Julia has caused him
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Scene IV. Lines 69-74).In this Valentine has demonstrated his unconditional loyalty to Proteus. Unfortunately, loyalty does not seem to mean the same to Proteus. When he first sees Silvia, Proteus falls immediately in love. His dual disloyalty is revealed when he express, "She is [Silvia] fair; and so is Julia that I love, - That I did love, for now my love is thawed, Which, like a waxen image 'gainst a fire, Bears no impression of the thing it was. Methinks my zeal to Valentine is cold, And that I love him not as I was wont. O, but I love his lady too too much; And that's the reason I love him so little" (Act II. Scene IV. Lines 209-216).
Loyalty to others, for Proteus, seems to be little more than a shallow emotion, which he manipulates for the sake of appearances. Clearly, the only loyalty, which sufficiently motivates Proteus, is to himself. Unaware of Proteus' desire for Silvia, Valentine confides to him that because the Duke will not sanction their marriage, the two lovers have decided to elope. Rather than honor his friendship, Proteus chooses to inform the Duke of the
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