Princess. Alas, poor Maccabeus, how hath he been baited!
(Love's Labour's Lost, 5.2.617, 619)
This passage practically leapt off the page at me, and Holofernes' accusation is, I think, probably one of the very most important lines in the whole play. Holofernes, a Latin-quoting schoolmaster, is playing the character of Judas Maccabeus in a sort of pageant of worthy and famous men. This pageant is meant as entertainment for the Princess and her waiting gentle-women, and as such was requested by the King and his men as part of their campaign to win the ladies. However, since that time their plans have been somewhat
This ridicule seems to have brought out the worst kind of desperate defensiveness in all the men, and they respond by savagely mocking these lower-class fellows who - at their bidding! - are attempting to please them with their acting. They are MEAN. And Holofernes, who has henceforth appeared as rather a foolish fellow, pulls himself together and straight-up rebukes these guys! He tells them the truth about their behavior and leaves with his dignity, at least in my eyes, restored by his bold and clear proclamation. And he gains the Princess' compassion. Perhaps Holofernes' moment of clarity helps the women to decide on a course of action, having seen the men's behavior as what it is - ugly, selfish, not generous, not gentle, not humble.