Why did Rassendyll think it would be impossible for him to replace the king in The Prisoner of Zenda?

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When Rudolf Rassendyll sets out to visit Ruritania for King Rudolph’s coronation, he does not realize that he is identical in appearance. When the two men meet, he is shocked to see the similarity. After they drink together, it seems that the king’s wine was drugged, as the next day...

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When Rudolf Rassendyll sets out to visit Ruritania for King Rudolph’s coronation, he does not realize that he is identical in appearance. When the two men meet, he is shocked to see the similarity. After they drink together, it seems that the king’s wine was drugged, as the next day the king remains unconscious.

Rassendyll learns from the king’s counselors, Fritz and Sapt, that Duke “Black” Michael is likely responsible for creating this interference with the coronation. However, he thinks their idea of his taking his place for ceremony is impossible. He thinks he will certainly be detected. Also, the counselors tell him that if he is found out, all three of them will be killed. They finally wave away his other objection—that the king would not forgive him—as Sapt asks: “Are we women? Who cares for his forgiveness?”

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