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Quotes

Quote #4

I had retreated from politics, but when asked to debate [Douglas] on the issue, I could not refuse. Those ghostly faces would not permit me to. (9.26)

Besides Henry and his talk of destiny, Abe is also driven by his sense of justice; for instance, here, after retiring from politics, he decides to get back on the bully pulpit in order to stop slavery from spreading. (This is around the time of the Kansas-Nebraska Act.) So maybe "destiny" isn't fate, so much as another word for "sense of justice" or duty. Notice how tightly connected justice, duty and destiny are, as in Henry's talk of Abe's fate to fight tyranny.

Quote #5

I had felt this, even as a child—the sense that I had been placed on a long, straight stretch of river from which there could be no deviation. Carried ever faster by the current... surrounded by wilderness on both sides... destined to collide with some unseen object far, far downstream. (9.59)

Though it sounds a bit like a log flume ride at a waterpark, Abe's sense of his destiny also sounds like a terrible time. He's rushing towards something he can't see, he's going to collide with it, and he can't change his direction. So all this talk of destiny makes it sound like his destiny is to be great, which is nice and all, but sure can be painful when he's colliding with history. No wonder he's so sad.

Quote #6

"Sic semper tyrann—"

The last word was cut off by the sound of the shot.

Abe awoke with a start. (10.42-44)

Henry may be crazy or lying when he tells Abe that he's destined to fight tyranny, but Abe himself has a couple of dreams that make it sound like he can tell the future (quick! check his teeth!). At the top of this list is Abe's dream of being assassinated at a theater and his vampire assassin yelling out "Sic semper tyrann—", which will be, uh, exactly what happens to him. The irony here is that Abe's destiny is to fight tyranny (vampire tyranny, to be exact), but his own death comes at the hands of a vampire who saw himself as fighting tyranny. If only Abe had seen that coming. Oh… wait.

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