When we first meet Azdak he is a clever village clerk, who will soon
Surprised I didn't hand you over? But I couldn't hand over even a bedbug to that beast of a policeman! It goes against my grain. Don’t tremble at the sight of a policeman. So old and yet so cowardly! Finish your cheese, but eat it like a poor man, or else they'll still catch you. Do I even have to tell you how a poor man behaves? (He makes him sit down and then gives him back the cheese). The box is the table. Put your elbows on the table, and now surround the plate with your arms as though you expected the cheese to be snatched from you at any moment. What right have you to be safe? Now hold the knife as if it were a small sickle; and don't look so greedily at your cheese, look at it mournfully—because it's already disappearing—like all good things. (Azdak watches him). They're after you. That speaks in your favour. But how can I be sure they're not mistaken about you? In Tiflis they once hanged a landowner, a Turk. He could prove he quartered his peasants instead of merely cutting them in half, as is the custom. And he squeezed twice the usual amount of taxes out of them. His zeal was above all suspicion, and yet they hanged him like a common criminal. Why? Because he was a Turk—something he couldn’t do much about. An injustice! He got onto the gallows like Pontius Pilot into the Creed. In a word, I don’t trust you.
Brecht, Bertolt. John Willet, Ralph Manheim, eds., Collected Plays: Seven. London: Methuen Drama, 1994. pp. 203.
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