„If you wish to discover the guilty person, first find out to whom the crime might be useful.“

Source: The Count of Monte Cristo

Last update June 3, 2021. History
Alexandre Dumas photo
Alexandre Dumas122
French writer and dramatist, father of the homonym writer a… 1802 - 1870

Related quotes

Cyril Connolly photo

„Whom the Gods wish to destroy, they first call promising.“

—  Cyril Connolly, book Enemies of Promise

Source: Enemies of Promise (1938), Part 2: The Charlock’s Shade, Ch. 13: The Poppies (p. 109-110)
Context: Whom the Gods wish to destroy, they first call promising.
Young writers if they are to mature require a period of between three and seven years in which to live down their promise. Promise is like the mediaeval hangman who after settling the noose, pushed his victim off the platform and jumped on his back, his weight acting a drop while his jockeying arms prevented the unfortunate from loosening the rope. When he judged him dead he dropped to the ground.

Chris Hedges photo

„To be judged by the state as an innocent, is to be guilty. It is to sanction, through passivity and obedience, the array of crimes carried out by the state.“

—  Chris Hedges American journalist 1956

“Happy as a Hangman,” truthdig.com http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/happy_as_a_hangman_20101206/, December 6, 2010

Ian Fleming photo

„Those whom the Gods wish to destroy, they first make bored.“

—  Ian Fleming, book From Russia, with Love

Source: From Russia with Love (1957), Ch. 11 : The Soft Life

Euripidés photo

„Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad.“

—  Euripidés ancient Athenian playwright -480 - -406 BC

Anonymous ancient proverb, wrongly attributed to Euripides. The version here is quoted as a "heathen proverb" in Daniel, a Model for Young Men (1854) by William Anderson Scott. The origin of the misattribution to Euripides is unknown. Several variants are quoted in ancient texts, as follows.
Variants and derived paraphrases:
For cunningly of old
was the celebrated saying revealed:
evil sometimes seems good
to a man whose mind
a god leads to destruction.
Sophocles, Antigone 620-3, a play pre-dating any of Euripides' surviving plays. An ancient commentary explains the passage as a paraphrase of the following, from another, earlier poet.
When a god plans harm against a man,
he first damages the mind of the man he is plotting against.
Quoted in the scholia vetera to Sophocles' Antigone 620ff., without attribution. The meter (iambic trimeter) suggests that the source of the quotation is a tragic play.
For whenever the anger of divine spirits harms someone,
it first does this: it steals away his mind
and good sense, and turns his thought to foolishness,
so that he should know nothing of his mistakes.
Attributed to "some of the old poets" by Lycurgus of Athens in his Oratio In Leocratem [Oration Against Leocrates], section 92. Again, the meter suggests that the source is a tragic play. These lines are misattributed to the much earlier semi-mythical statesman Lycurgus of Sparta in a footnote of recent editions of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations and other works.
The gods do nothing until they have blinded the minds of the wicked.
Variant in 'Dictionary of Quotations (Classical) (1906), compiled by Thomas Benfield Harbottle, p. 433.
Whom Fortune wishes to destroy she first makes mad.
Publilius Syrus, Maxim 911
The devil when he purports any evil against man, first perverts his mind.
As quoted by Athenagoras of Athens [citation needed]
quem Iuppiter vult perdere, dementat prius.
"Whom Jupiter wishes to destroy, he first sends mad"; neo-Latin version. Similar wording is found in James Duport's Homeri Gnomologia (1660), p. 234. "A maxim of obscure origin which may have been invented in Cambridge about 1640" -- Taylor, The Proverb (1931). Probably a variant of the line "He whom the gods love dies young", derived from Menander's play The Double Deceiver via Plautus (Bacchides 816-7).
quem (or quos) Deus perdere vult, dementat prius.
Whom God wishes to destroy, he first sends mad.
Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.
This variant is spoken by Prometheus, in The Masque of Pandora (1875) by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.
As quoted in George Fox Interpreted: The Religion, Revelations, Motives and Mission of George Fox (1881) by Thomas Ellwood Longshore, p. 154
Those whom God wishes to destroy, he first makes mad.
As quoted in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations 16th edition (1992)
Nor do the gods appear in warrior's armour clad
To strike them down with sword and spear
Those whom they would destroy
They first make mad.
Bhartṛhari, 7th c. AD; as quoted in John Brough,Poems from the Sanskrit, (1968), p, 67
vināśakāle viparītabuddhiḥ
Sanskrit Saying (also in Jatak katha): "When a man is to be destroyed, his intelligence becomes self-destructive."
Modern derivatives:
The proverb's meaning is changed in many English versions from the 20th and 21st centuries that start with the proverb's first half (through "they") and then end with a phrase that replaces "first make mad" or "make mad." Such versions can be found at Internet search engines by using either of the two keyword phrases that are on Page 2 and Page 4 of the webpage " Pick any Wrong Card http://www.bu.edu/av/celop2/not_ESL/pick_any_wrong_card.pdf." The rest of that webpage is frameworks that induce a reader to compose new variations on this proverb.
Misattributed

Blaise Pascal photo

„It is necessary to have regard to the person whom we wish to persuade, of whom we must know the mind and the heart“

—  Blaise Pascal French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer, and Christian philosopher 1623 - 1662

The Art of Persuasion
Context: It is necessary to have regard to the person whom we wish to persuade, of whom we must know the mind and the heart, what principles he acknowledges, what things he loves; and then observe in the thing in question what affinity it has with the acknowledged principles, or with the objects so delightful by the pleasure which they give him.

„Whom Fortune wishes to destroy she first makes mad.“

—  Publilio Siro Latin writer

Maxim 911; one of the most famous renditions of the ancient Greek proverb (which is anonymous and dates to the 5th century BCE or earlier). The provenance of the proverb and its English versions is at Wikiquote's Euripides page, under the heading "Misattributed".
Sentences
Original: (la) Stultum facit fortuna, quem vult perdere.

Mark Twain photo

„We do not need to go out and find love; rather, we need to be still and let love discover us.“

—  John O'Donohue Irish writer, priest and philosopher 1956 - 2008

Source: Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

Lois McMaster Bujold photo
Nassim Nicholas Taleb photo
Brandon Sanderson photo
Clive Staples Lewis photo
Confucius photo

„The ancients who wished to illustrate illustrious virtue throughout the Kingdom, first ordered well their own states. Wishing to order well their states, they first regulated their families. Wishing to regulate their families, they first cultivated their persons. Wishing to cultivate their persons, they first rectified their hearts. Wishing to rectify their hearts, they first sought to be sincere in their thoughts. Wishing to be sincere in their thoughts, they first extended to the utmost their knowledge. Such extension of knowledge lay in the investigation of things.“

—  Confucius Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher -551 - -479 BC

The Analects, The Great Learning
Context: The ancients who wished to illustrate illustrious virtue throughout the Kingdom, first ordered well their own states. Wishing to order well their states, they first regulated their families. Wishing to regulate their families, they first cultivated their persons. Wishing to cultivate their persons, they first rectified their hearts. Wishing to rectify their hearts, they first sought to be sincere in their thoughts. Wishing to be sincere in their thoughts, they first extended to the utmost their knowledge. Such extension of knowledge lay in the investigation of things.
Things being investigated, knowledge became complete. Their knowledge being complete, their thoughts were sincere. Their thoughts being sincere, their hearts were then rectified. Their hearts being rectified, their persons were cultivated. Their persons being cultivated, their families were regulated. Their families being regulated, their states were rightly governed. Their states being rightly governed, the whole kingdom was made tranquil and happy.
From the Son of Heaven down to the mass of the people, all must consider the cultivation of the person the root of everything besides.

Mobutu Sésé Seko photo

„We are seeking our own authenticity, and we will find it because we wish, in the innermost fibers of our being to discover it.“

—  Mobutu Sésé Seko President of Zaïre 1930 - 1997

Sean Kelly, America's Tyrant: The CIA and Mobutu of Zaire, p. 194

„If there is any person to whom you feel a dislike, that is the person of whom you ought never to speak.“

—  Richard Cecil (clergyman) British Evangelical Anglican priest and social reformer 1748 - 1810

Source: Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 214.

Horace Walpole photo

„… Why, I'll swear I see no difference between a country gentleman and a sirloin; whenever the first laughs, or the latter is cut, there run out just the same streams of gravy! … Oh! my dear Sir, don't you find that nine parts in ten of the world are of no use but to make you wish yourself with that tenth part? …“

—  Horace Walpole English art historian, man of letters, antiquarian and Whig politician 1717 - 1797

Letter to John Chute, from Houghton, 20 Aug. 1743 https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo1.ark:/13960/t5p84vt55;view=1up;seq=425, p. 265, The Letter of Horace Walpole, ed. P. Cunnighham, vol. 1

„It's impossible to discover who you really are if you limit what you are willing to find out about yourself to only what you want to know.“

—  Guy Finley American self-help writer, philosopher, and spiritual teacher, and former professional songwriter and musician 1949

The Secret Way of Wonder

Marcus Annaeus Lucanus photo

„Crime levels those whom it pollutes.“

—  Marcus Annaeus Lucanus, book Pharsalia

Book V, line 290 (tr. J. D. Duff).
Pharsalia
Original: (la) Facinus quos inquinat aequat.

Walther Funk photo

„But ignorance of the law is no excuse. A person is guilty even if he breaks the law unknowingly. I shall be perhaps the first of the defendants to get up on that stand and admit that I am at least partly guilty.“

—  Walther Funk German economist and politician 1890 - 1960

To Leon Goldensohn, March 31, 1946 from "The Nuremberg Interviews" by Leon Goldensohn, Robert Gellately - History - 2004

Related topics