How we cite our quotes:
The face he beheld, for the moment one expressive of the agony of the strong, was to that officer, though a man of fifty, a startling revelation. That the condemned one suffered less than he who mainly had effected the condemnation was apparently indicated by the former's exclamation in the scene soon perforce to be touched upon. (22.4)
Here is our description of Captain Vere after he emerges from telling Billy that he will be executed. Has Captain Vere sinned? Does the phrase "the agony of the strong" seek to place Captain Vere's actions in an overly forgiving light? Try replacing this with "one who has sinned." How do your feelings about Captain Vere change if you do this?