The Two Gentlemen of Verona Friendship Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to the Norton edition.
My shame and guilt confounds me.
Forgive me, Valentine. If hearty sorrow
Be a sufficient ransom for offense,
I tender 't here. I do as truly suffer
As e'er I did commit. (5.4.78-82)
After being caught red-handed trying to rape Silvia, Proteus immediately apologizes…to Valentine. Proteus never expresses remorse for his crime against Silvia. He feels bad because he hurt Valentine's feelings and betrayed his friend's trust. If you think that's bad, keep reading, because it gets even worse.
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. (5.4.83-89)
Valentine forgives Proteus for trying to rape Silvia pretty quickly. What's interesting about this passage is the way Valentine seems to offer to "give" Silvia to his friend as a peace offering and a gesture of friendship. Despite Proteus's behavior and despite Valentine's love for Silvia, Valentine prioritizes his friendship with Proteus over all else – especially his girlfriend.
This is similar to what happens in one of Shakespeare's main literary source for his play. In the story of Titus and Gisippus – related first by Boccaccio and later retold in Thomas Elyot's Book of the Governor (1531) – Gisippus gives his best friend, Titus, the woman he is supposed to marry after Titus falls in love with her (Book Named the Governor, 2.12).
Thou art a gentleman and well derived;
Take thou thy Silvia, for thou hast deserved her.
I thank your Grace, the gift hath made me happy.
I now beseech you, for your daughter's sake,
To grant one boom that I shall ask of you.
These banished men that I have kept withal,
Are men endued with worthy qualities.
Forgive them what they have committed here
And let them be recall'd from their exile: (5.4.158-162; 164-167)
Gosh. Valentine and the Duke sure are buddy-buddy in this passage. We also notice that when the Duke offers to let Valentine marry his daughter, Valentine seems more interested in helping out his new outlaw friends than in celebrating his engagement to Silvia.