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Quotes by Samuel Beckett

  • Irish playwright
  • Born April 13, 1906
  • Died December 22, 1989

Samuel Barclay Beckett (; 13 April 1906 – 22 December 1989) was an Irish avant-garde novelist, playwright, theatre director, poet, and literary translator who lived in Paris for most of his adult life. He wrote in both English and French. Beckett's work offers a bleak, tragicomic outlook on human existence, often coupled with black comedy and gallows humor, and became increasingly minimalist in his later career. He is considered one of the last modernist writers, and one of the key figures in what Martin Esslin called the "Theatre of the Absurd".


What do I know of man's destiny? I could tell you more about radishes.




You're on earth. There's no cure for that.


If you do not love me I shall not be loved If I do not love you I shall not love.




It is right that he too should have his little chronicle, his memories, his reason, and be able to recognize the good in the bad, the bad in the worst, and so grow gently old down all the unchanging days, and die one day like any other day, only shorter.




There's man all over for you, blaming on his boots the fault of his feet.




No, I regret nothing, all I regret is having been born, dying is such a long tiresome business I always found.




The tears of the world are a constant quality. For each one who begins to weep, somewhere else another stops. The same is true of the laugh.




Birth was the death of him.




Let me go to hell, that's all I ask, and go on cursing them there, and them look down and hear me, that might take some of the shine off their bliss.




Every word is like an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness.




Do we mean love, when we say love?


Just under the surface I shall be, all together at first, then separate and drift, through all the earth and perhaps in the end through a cliff into the sea, something of me. A ton of worms in an acre, that is a wonderful thought, a ton of worms, I believe it.




Where I am, I don't know, I'll never know, in the silence you don't know, you must go on, I can't go on, I'll go on.




All I know is what the words know, and dead things, and that makes a handsome little sum, with a beginning and a middle and an end, as in the well-built phrase and the long sonata of the dead.




Words are all we have.




I have my faults, but changing my tune is not one of them.




I can't go on. I'll go on.




We are all born mad. Some remain so.


To find a form that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now.




If I had the use of my body, I would throw it out the window.




Poets are the sense, philosophers the intelligence of humanity.




Dublin university contains the cream of Ireland: Rich and thick.




Personally I have no bone to pick with graveyards.




Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.




We are not saints, but we have kept our appointment. How many people can boast as much?




Habit is a great deadener.


In the landscape of extinction, precision is next to godliness.




Nothing matters but the writing. There has been nothing else worthwhile... a stain upon the silence.




I shall state silences more competently than ever a better man spangled the butterflies of vertigo.




I write about myself with the same pencil and in the same exercise book as about him. It is no longer I, but another whose life is just beginning.



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