Valentine is a young gentleman of Verona. He thinks that men in love are foolish until he himself falls head-over-heels for the Duke of Milan’s daughter, Silvia.
Not the brightest, at least when it comes to women, he needs to have his servant Speed interpret Silvia’s actions to understand that she loves him back. He is delighted when his dear friend Proteus joins him at court, and immediately asks him for help in abducting Silvia. Asked by the Duke how best to woo a lady, he is too dense to realize that he is being led into a trap, and tells the Duke exactly what he has been planning with the Duke’s daughter. He is of noble aspect, which helps convince a band of outlaws to make him their leader, which he accepts to do; as he is honorable, however, he insists that they not attack women or the poor. While they agree, he has a hard time keeping them in line over the next few days. Walking through the forest, he sees his dear love Silvia about to be raped by his friend Proteus, and intervenes. Discovering that his friend betrayed him, he insults him, until Proteus apologizes, at which point Valentine is perfectly happy again and donates the love of his life to his childhood friend.