Alfred Ill Quotes in The Visit
Life has gone on, but I have forgotten nothing, Ill. Neither the woods of Konradsweil nor Petersen’s barn, neither Widow Boll’s bedroom nor your treachery. Now we have grown old, the two of us, you down at the heels and me cut to pieces by surgeons’ knives, and now I want us both to settle accounts: you chose your life and forced me into mine. You wanted time to be suspended, just a moment ago, in the woods of our youth, so full of impermanence. Now I have suspended it, and now I want justice, justice for a billion.
ILL: You’ve got new shoes. New yellow shoes.
SECOND MAN: So?
ILL: You, too, Hofbauer. You, too, are wearing new shoes. (He looks at the women, walks over to them slowly, horrified.) You too. New yellow shoes. New yellow shoes.
ILL: The customers I’ve had this morning. Usually there’s no one for the longest time, and now, for the past few days, they’re coming in droves.
FIRST MAN: It’s because we stand by you. We stick by our Ill. Firm as a rock.
MAYOR: You forget that you’re in Güllen. A town with a humanist tradition. Goethe slept here. Brahms composed a quartet. These values impose an obligation.
A man enters, left, with a typewriter.
MAN: The new typewriter, Your Honor. A Remington.
The temptation is too great and our poverty is too wretched. But I know something else. I too will take part in it. I can feel myself slowly turning into a murderer. My faith in humanity is powerless. And because I know this, I have turned into a drunk. I am scared, Ill, just as you have been scared. I still know that some day an old lady will visit us too, and that then what is happening to you now will happen to us, but soon, maybe in a few hours, I will no longer know it.
Your Honor! I’ve been through hell. I saw you all going into debt, and with every sign of prosperity I felt death creeping closer. If you had spared me that anguish, that horrible fear, it would have all been different, we could speak on different terms, I would take the rifle. For all of your sake. But then I shut myself in, conquered my fear. Alone. It was hard; now it’s done. There is no turning back. Now you must be my judges. I will submit to your decision, whatever it turns out to be. For me it will be justice; I don’t know what it will be for you. May God help you live with your judgment. You can kill me, I won’t complain, I won’t protest, I won’t defend myself, but your action is yours, and I can’t relieve you of it.
ILL: The town’s holding a meeting this evening. They’ll sentence me to death and one of them will kill me. I don’t know who he will be or where it will happen, I only know that I’m ending a meaningless life.
CLAIRE ZACHANASSIAN: I loved you. You betrayed me. But the dream of life, of love, of trust—this dream that was a reality once—I haven’t forgotten that. I want to rebuild it with my billions, I will change the past, by destroying you.
MAYOR: The Claire Zachanassian Endowment has been accepted. Unanimously. Not for the sake of the money—
THE COMMUNITY: Not for the sake of the money—
MAYOR: But for the sake of justice—
THE COMMUNITY: But for the sake of justice—
MAYOR: And to allay our conscience.
THE COMMUNITY: And to allay our conscience.
MAYOR: For we cannot live if we sanction a crime in our midst—
THE COMMUNITY: For we cannot live if we sanction a crime in our midst—