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Let me just talk about how amazing this line is…

… and why it might just be my favorite in the whole show. It uses something called chiastic, or ring, structure. Chiastic structure is when two words or ideas, A and B, are repeated and arranged symmetrically in a line. The most simple pattern is ABBA, and an example in English would be “I mean what I say, and I say what I mean.” It’s often used to draw comparison between A and B, while also putting emphasis on the innermost word or idea in the ring.

This line is remarkable because it’s actually in a more complex ABCDDCBA pattern with no filler words. It contrasts Hannibal’s current state of forgiveness and Will’s unknown state of forgiveness, while also emphasizing the future tense of Hannibal’s question. He’s not asking for Will’s forgiveness now; he’s asking if he will some day be able to forgive him. It suggests that Hannibal both expects Will to live, and is still awaiting Will’s answer.

Even the more simple lines in Hannibal are masterfully crafted. And just think, this wouldn’t work if Will had any other name. I like to imagine Bryan Fuller and Steve Lightfoot high-fiving each other in the writer’s room after coming up with this line.

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