Proteus is a young gentleman of Verona whose emotions are extremely changeable and lacks self-control.
Utterly in love with Julia, he forgets her immediately and becomes even more utterly in love with Silvia the moment he arrives in Milan and sees her. The fact that this is trampling on his best friend Valentine’s territory causes him only a little angst. Ruled by his passion, he betrays his best friend, lies to the Duke, pretends to be working on Thurio’s behalf, swears that Julia is dead, and perseveres in wooing Silvia even when she makes it clear that she is disgusted by his actions. He does not recognize Julia when she is disguised as a boy, and employs her to get the painting Silvia has promised him. Following Silvia to the forest when she runs away, he is so overcome by his desire for her that he attempts to rape her, only being stopped by Valentine’s arrival and intervention. He is overcome with remorse, though has no objection when Valentine offers to let him have Silvia anyway. Discovering that the boy Sebastian is actually Julia, he immediately falls for her again, quite forgetting Silvia.