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    #1

    What does "that" refer to?

    The following in red is confusing.

    Of course, Booth was killed. There can be no doubt about it. The man who was shot in Garrett's tobacco barn used every argument he could think of to save his life; and he had a splendid imagination; but in his most desperate moments, it never occurred to him to deny that he was John Wilkes Booth. That was too absurd, too fantastic, to try even in the face of death.

    Does this mean "to try to deny that he was Booth when he is about to die was too absurd, too fantastic"? Is this saying "when someone is in the face of death, he or she usually doesn't try to deny his or her identity"?

    Thank you.

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    #2

    Re: What does "that" refer to?

    not a teacher

    That was too absurd, too fantastic, to try even in the face of death.
    Is this saying "when someone is in the face of death, he or she usually doesn't try to deny his or her identity"?

    No, it means that denying he was Booth, even to try and save his life, was ridiculous and unbelievable. They knew for certain he was Booth, and Booth was aware of that.

  1. probus's Avatar
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    #3
    I am agreeing with but amplifying slightly on what JMurray said. Even though Booth was a professional actor, he knew he could not pull off that deception.

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