Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Character Thursday: Silvia

Another strong woman character from Shakespeare's Two Gentlemen of Verona. (I start wondering what kind of women Shakespeare knew or liked while he lived.)

Silvia is the daughter of Duke of Milan. She is beautiful and virtuous, but her father wants to marry her to Thurio, a man she doesn't like. Meanwhile, another boy, Valentine, that is, loves her as well, and she returns that love. But the father doesn't approve. Learning that Valentine is going to take Silvia away, the enraged Duke banishes Valentine.

Alfred Elmore, Scene from "The Two Gentlemen of Verona" (1857)
Proteus, Valentine's friend who is equally in love with Silvia, tells her that Valentine is dead. But the girl doesn't believe a bit of it, and decides to follow her beloved no matter what.

What I love from Silvia is her constancy and loyalty to Valentine. It's good to read about a girl whose “No” means “No” and not “try to get me” sort-of stuff. The way she reacts to Proteus' flirtatious comments is also very much to my liking. She makes it clear that she doesn't like him and that she abhors his infidelity towards his lover, Julia.

“You have your wish; my will is even this:
That presently you hie you home to bed.
Thou subtle, perjured, false, disloyal man!
Think'st thou I am so shallow, so conceitless,
To be seduced by thy flattery,
That hast deceived so many with thy vows?
Return, return, and make thy love amends.
For me, by this pale queen of night I swear,
I am so far from granting thy request
That I despise thee for thy wrongful suit,
And by and by intend to chide myself
Even for this time I spend in talking to thee.”

I like Silvia better than Julia. She is like a marble pillar to me. A little proud, perhaps, but she proves herself worthy of praise.

That's my character for this Thursday.

1 comment:

  1. Ah, her tough character is strongly reflected from what you've quoted.