The Two Gentlemen of Verona Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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Please explain this sentence: "Now can I break my fast, dine, sup and sleep, / Upon the very naked name of love.." from Shakespeare's The Two Gentleman From Verona.

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booboosmoosh eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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As Valentine speaks to Proteus in Act II, scene iv, of Shakespeare's Two Gentlemen of Verona, he is admitting that he has rejected love in the past. He says that he has paid the price for such actions. In fact, the man who at one time had no time for love (Valentine) has been punished for acting far too superior to love—with a lack of appetite, groans, tears, sighs of sadness; he also could not sleep but in his wakefulness, he could only observe his sorrow for not being in love.

With bitter fasts, with penitential groans,

With nightly tears, and daily heart-sore sighs;

For, in revenge of my contempt of love,

Love hath chas'd sleep from my enthralled eyes

And made them watchers of mine own heart's sorrow

Valentine admits that love is so strong that he is now humbled, but is not sad in learning of love. There is nothing more joyous that he could do than to serve love. Because he has found contentment in his heart, all the punishments of the past have vanished: he now has an appetite—he can eat and sleep—all for love when he says:

Now can I break my fast, dine, sup and sleep,

Upon the very naked name of love.


heatherm1969 | Student

When the name of the loved one is heard, the world stops for this speaker,