William of Baskerville
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Quotes for
William of Baskerville (Character)
from The Name of the Rose (1986)

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The Name of the Rose (1986)
William of Baskerville: Adso, if I knew the answers to everything, I would be teaching theology in Paris.

The Abbot: We found the body after a hailstorm, horribly mutilated, dashed against a rock at the foot of the tower, under a window which was, uh, how shall I say this? I trust...
William of Baskerville: Which was found closed.
The Abbot: Somebody told you?
William of Baskerville: Had it been found open, you would not have spoken of spiritual unease - you would have concluded that he'd fallen.
The Abbot: Brother William, the window cannot be opened! Nor was the glass shattered, nor is there any access to the roof above.

William of Baskerville: My dear Adso, we must not allow ourselves to be influenced by irrational rumors of the Antichrist, hmm? Let us instead exercise our brains and try to solve this tantalizing conundrum.

Jorge de Burgos: Laughter is a devilish wind which deforms, uh, the lineaments of the face and makes men look like monkeys.
William of Baskerville: Monkeys do not laugh. Laughter is particular to men.
Jorge de Burgos: As is sin. Christ never laughed.
William of Baskerville: Can we be so sure?
Jorge de Burgos: There is nothing in the Scriptures to say that he did.
William of Baskerville: And there's nothing in the Scriptures to say that he did not. Why, even the saints have been known to employ comedy, to ridicule the enemies of the Faith. For example, when the pagans plunged St. Maurice into the boiling water, he complained that his bath was too cold. The Sultan put his hand in... scalded himself.

[after seeing a rat while searching for a secret route to the library]
William of Baskerville: The rats love parchment even more than scholars do. Let's follow him!

William of Baskerville: She is already burnt flesh, Adso. Bernardo Gui has spoken: she is a witch.
Adso of Melk: But that's not true, and you know it!
William of Baskerville: I know. I also know that anyone who disputes the verdict of an Inquisitor is guilty of heresy.

William of Baskerville: But what is so alarming about laughter?
Jorge de Burgos: Laughter kills fear, and without fear there can be no faith, because without fear of the Devil there is no more need of God.

William of Baskerville: I too was an Inquisitor, but in the early days, when the Inquisition strove to guide, not to punish. And once I had to preside at a trial of a man whose only crime was to have translated a Greek book that conflicted with the Holy Scriptures. Bernardo Gui wanted him condemned as a heretic; I - acquitted the man. Then Bernardo Gui accused *me* of heresy, for having defended him. I appealed to the Pope. I - I was put in prison, tortured, and... and I recanted.
Adso of Melk: What happened then?
William of Baskerville: The man was burned at the stake and I am still alive.

William of Baskerville: The only evidence I see of the antichrist here is everyones desire to see him at work.

William of Baskerville: I'm right.

Adso of Melk: Do you think that this is a place abandoned by God?
William of Baskerville: Have you ever known a place where God WOULD have felt at home?

Adso of Melk: And what was the word you both kept mentioning?
William of Baskerville: Penitenziagite.
Adso of Melk: What does it mean?
William of Baskerville: It means that the hunchback undoubtedly was once a heretic. Penitenziagite was a rallying cry of the dolcinites.
Adso of Melk: Dolcinites? Who were they, master?
William of Baskerville: Those who believed in the poverty of Christ.
Adso of Melk: So do we Franciscans.
William of Baskerville: But they also declared that everyone must be poor, so they slaughtered the rich. Ha! You see, Adso, the step between ecstatic vision and sinful frenzy is all too brief.
Adso of Melk: [looking at the Hunchback] Well, then, could he not have killed the translator?
William of Baskerville: No. No, fat bishops and wealthy priests were more to the taste of the dolcinites, hardly a specialist of Aristotle.

William of Baskerville: We are very fortunate to have such snowy ground here. It is often the parchment on which the criminal unwittingly writes his autograph. Now, what do you read from these footprints here?

Adso of Melk: Master? Have you ever been in love?
William of Baskerville: In love? Yeah, many times.
Adso of Melk: You were?
William of Baskerville: Yes, of course. Aristotle, Ovid, Vergil...
Adso of Melk: No, no, no. I meant with a...
William of Baskerville: Oh. Ah. Are you not confusing love with lust?
Adso of Melk: Am I? I don't know. I want only her own good. I want her to be happy. I want to save her from her poverty.
William of Baskerville: Oh, dear.
Adso of Melk: Why "oh dear"?
William of Baskerville: You *are* in love.
Adso of Melk: Is that bad?
William of Baskerville: For a monk, it does present certain problems.
Adso of Melk: But doesn't St. Thomas Aquinas praise love above all other virtues?
William of Baskerville: Yes, the love of God, Adso. The love of God.
Adso of Melk: Oh... And the love of woman?
William of Baskerville: Of woman? Thomas Aquinas knew precious little, but the scriptures are very clear. Proverbs warns us, "Woman takes possession of a man's precious soul", while Ecclesiastes tells us, "More bitter than death is woman".
Adso of Melk: Yes, but what do you think, Master?
William of Baskerville: Well, of course I don't have the benefit of your experience, but I find it difficult to convince myself that God would have introduced such a foul being into creation without endowing her with *some* virtures. Hmm? How peaceful life would be without love, Adso, how safe, how tranquil, and how dull.

William of Baskerville: [after finding the secret room of books in the tower] How many more rooms? Ah! How many more books? No one should be forbidden to consult these books freely.
Adso of Melk: Perhaps they are thought to be too precious, too fragile.
William of Baskerville: No, it's not that, Adso. It's because they often contain a wisdom that is different from ours and ideas that could encourage us to doubt the infallability of the word of God... And doubt, Adso, is the enemy of faith.

William of Baskerville: My venerable brother, there are many books that speak of comedy. Why does this one fill you with such fear?
Jorge de Burgos: Because it's by Aristotle.
William of Baskerville: [Chasing after Jorge who runs with the Second Book of Poetics by Aristotle intending to destroy it] But what is so alarming about laughter?
Jorge de Burgos: Laughter kills fear, and without fear there can be no faith because without fear of the Devil, there is no more need of God.
William of Baskerville: But you will not eliminate laughter by eliminating that book.
Jorge de Burgos: No, to be sure, laughter will remain the common man's recreation. But what will happen if, because of this book, learned men were to pronounce it admissable to laugh at everything? Can we laugh at God? The world would relapse into chaos! Therefore, I seal that which was not to be said.
[he eats the poisoned pages of the book]
Jorge de Burgos: In the tomb I become.
[he tosses the book at the candle, which ignites a fire that destroys all the books in the abbey tower]

William of Baskerville: Oh, you turnip, Adso.