Sorry I dropped the ball yesterday. I had half an entry written when I realized, “I’m going to be late for work.” That’s not a fun feeling.
Regardless, I wasn’t expecting Valentine to become Robin Hood. I assumed he would meet Julia in the woods, or something to that effect, and they would somehow get back at Proteus. Remember, kids, don’t assume–or do, and you will always find yourself surprised.
After the dialogue between Julia-as-boy and Silvia, I would also like to recant my statement about the women in this play being weak. Silvia takes no malarkey from anyone, especially Proteus, so his plan falls to utter pieces right in front of him. I also love that Silvia has a large amount of sympathy for Julia, despite never meeting her. (None of this is actually insightful, but I want to make sure I’ve stated that I was wrong and why.)
So, we have a comedy, where everything gets tied up nicely into a little pink bow at the end. And this happens by way of Proteus’ penance–which at first, I was super skeptical if he was actual repentant, but after reading over the last scene again, I realized he was suffering from his own actions. “My shame and guilt confounds me./Forgive me, Valentine: if hearty sorrow/Be sufficient ransom for offence,/I tender’s here; I do as truly suffer,/As e’er I did commit” (V.iv.73-77). Proteus’ actions are the cause of his suffering now, and Valentine–what a hunk–is quick to forgive his offences, taking delight in the forgiving. A play about forgiveness and love? Hmmm…
The final point I would like to make regards the contrast between the court and the woods. Take two gentlemen into the woods, and their true colors are revealed. Proteus almost violates Silvia when he enters the woods, repents, and is forgiven. The Duke is able to see the true color of Thurio and the valor of Valentine when the decorum is shed and they’re in a world outside their own. The love of Valentine and Silvia are reunited. Proteus sees Julia for what she is, a constant and steadfast lover. The forest reveals all.