The moment is eggy for everyone. Julia has a tough swoon, Slivia has to bite her tongue, Valentine has to forgive the unforgivable, and Proteus has to be really, really, really sorry.
Let’s solve it. Here are the words in question:
PROTEUS In love
Who respects friend?
SILVIA All men but Proteus.
PROTEUS Nay, if the gentle spirit of moving words
Can no way change you to a milder form,
I’ll woo you like a soldier, at arms’ end,
And love you ‘gainst the nature of love,–force ye.
SILVIA O heaven!
PROTEUS I’ll force thee yield to my desire.
VALENTINE Ruffian, let go that rude uncivil touch,
Thou friend of an ill fashion!
VALENTINE Thou common friend, that’s without faith or love,
For such is a friend now; treacherous man!
Thou hast beguiled my hopes; nought but mine eye
Could have persuaded me: now I dare not say
I have one friend alive; thou wouldst disprove me.
Who should be trusted, when one’s own right hand
Is perjured to the bosom? Proteus,
I am sorry I must never trust thee more,
But count the world a stranger for thy sake.
The private wound is deepest: O time most accurst,
‘Mongst all foes that a friend should be the worst!
PROTEUS My shame and guilt confounds me.
Forgive me, Valentine: if hearty sorrow
Be a sufficient ransom for offence,
I tender ‘t here; I do as truly suffer
As e’er I did commit.
VALENTINE Then I am paid;
And once again I do receive thee honest.
Who by repentance is not satisfied
Is nor of heaven nor earth, for these are pleased.
By penitence the Eternal’s wrath’s appeased:
And, that my love may appear plain and free,
All that was mine in Silvia I give thee.
JULIA O me unhappy! [swoons]
Do you think Valentine means that he would actually give away Silvia to his erstwhile friend, after all that? Do you believe he means something else? The passage is hot in question and I think completely up for grabs. Which of these four characters can let us in on a side of the equation we may not be seeing in these lines to help explain them?