Inspiration and wisdom from divine felines

171 Inspiring Quotes by Samuel Beckett

Welcome to our collection of quotes by Samuel Beckett.

Wikipedia Summary for Samuel Beckett

Samuel Barclay Beckett (13 April 1906 – 22 December 1989) was an Irish novelist, playwright, short story writer, theatre director, poet, and literary translator. A resident of Paris for most of his adult life, he wrote in both French and English.

Beckett's idiosyncratic work offers a bleak, tragi-comic outlook on existence and experience, often coupled with black comedy and nonsense. It became increasingly minimalist in his later career, involving more aesthetic and linguistic experimentation. 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". His best-known work is his 1953 play Waiting for Godot.

Beckett was awarded the 1969 Nobel Prize in Literature "for his writing, which—in new forms for the novel and drama—in the destitution of modern man acquires its elevation". He was elected Saoi of Aosdána in 1984.



brown and white humming bird

How all becomes clear and simple when one opens an eye on the within, having of course previously exposed it to the without, in order to benefit by the contrast.

--Samuel Beckett

photography of burning camp fire

But what matter whether I was born or not, have lived or not, am dead or merely dying. I shall go on doing as I have always done, not knowing what it is I do, nor who I am, nor where I am, nor if I am.

--Samuel Beckett

closeup photo of bird beside purple petal flowers

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

--Samuel Beckett

sunflower with clear glass vase on gray table

Let us do something, while we have the chance! ... Let us make the most of it, before it is too late! Let us represent worthily for one the foul brood to which a cruel fate consigned us!

--Samuel Beckett

blue rose in close up photography

In the name of Bacon will you chicken me up that egg. Shall I swallow cave-phantoms?

--Samuel Beckett

American Eagles during daytime

Words are all we have.

--Samuel Beckett

black and white duck on brown wooden dock during daytime

It's a rare thing not to have been bonny -- once.

--Samuel Beckett




body of water

In reality we are one and all from the unthinkable first to the no less unthinkable last glued together in a vast imbrication of flesh without breach or fissure.

--Samuel Beckett

people raises hands

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

--Samuel Beckett

rock formation under starry skies

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

--Samuel Beckett

mountains under white clouds at daytime

Mysterious affair, electricity.

--Samuel Beckett

silhouette of stones during golden hour

I love order. It's my dream. A world where all would be silent and still, and each thing in its last place, under the last dust.

--Samuel Beckett




green grass field

Women are all the bloody sameyou can't love for five minutes without wanting it abolished in brats and house bloody wifery.

--Samuel Beckett

panoramic photography of mountains

Spend the years of learning squandering
Courage for the years of wandering
Through a world politely turning
From the loutishness of learning.

--Samuel Beckett

selective focus photography of pink petaled flower

If I were in the unenviable position of having to study my work my points of departure would be the "Naught is more real ..." and the "Ubi nihil vales ..." both already in Murphy and neither very rational.

--Samuel Beckett


white and blue ice on water

It sometimes happens and will sometimes happen again that I forget who I am and strut before my eyes, like a stranger.

--Samuel Beckett

two persons holding each other hands

The end is in the beginning and yet you go on.

--Samuel Beckett


Clear blue ocean washing on the sandy shore on a clear day in Cancún

Curiosity is the hair of our habit tending to stand on end. It rarely happens that our attention is not stained in greater or lesser degree by this animal element.

--Samuel Beckett

red textile in close up photography

She dragged me across the floor, stopping from time to time only to kick me. I didn't know our cows too could be so inhuman.

--Samuel Beckett

boat docked near house

I shall die tepid, without enthusiasm.

--Samuel Beckett


empty gray floor beside pool

As it is with the love of the body, so with the friendship of the mind, the full is only reached by admittance to the most retired places.

--Samuel Beckett

closeup photo of orange petaled flowers

What is that unforgettable line?

--Samuel Beckett

crack in wall

The bicycle is a great good. But it can turn nasty, if ill employed.

--Samuel Beckett

brown mountain

It was long since I had longed for anything and the effect on me was horrible.

--Samuel Beckett

city lights from hill

There's never an end for the sea.

--Samuel Beckett

ocean wave in shallow focus lens

Words and images run riot in my head, pursuing, flying, clashing, merging, endlessly. But beyond this tumult there is a great calm, and a great indifference, never really to be troubled by anything again.

--Samuel Beckett

pink petaled flowers under trees at daytime

I could not have gone through the awful wretched mess of life without having left a stain upon the silence.

--Samuel Beckett

beach shore during day time

Seen no matter how and said as seen. Dread of black. Of white. Of void. Let her vanish. And the rest. For good.

--Samuel Beckett

selective focus photography of woman taking selfie

The tears stream down my cheeks from my unblinking eyes. What makes me weep so? There is nothing saddening here. Perhaps it is liquefied brain.

--Samuel Beckett

empty gray floor beside pool

Then I went back into the house and wrote, It is midnight. The rain is beating on the windows. It was not midnight. It was not raining.

--Samuel Beckett


blue and black abstract painting

All I want to do is sit on my ass and fart and think of Dante.

--Samuel Beckett

leafless tree on body of water during daytime

How do you manage it, she said, at your age? I told her I'd been saving up for her all my life.

--Samuel Beckett

car passing by in between trees

Nothing is funnier than unhappiness.

--Samuel Beckett

Longer Version:

Nothing is funnier than unhappiness, I grant you that. Yes, yes, it's the most comical thing in the world.


seashore during daytime

I didn't understand women at that period. I still don't for that matter. Nor men either. Nor animals either. What I understand best, which is not saying much, are my pains.

--Samuel Beckett

tall green flowering grasses under blue and white cloudy sky

Habit is a great deadener.

--Samuel Beckett

sun

All I know is that the hours are long... and constrain us to beguile them with proceedings which ... may at first sight seem reasonable, until they become a habit.

--Samuel Beckett

Arizona landscape

We are all born crazy. Some of us remain that way.

--Samuel Beckett

woman standing on forest

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

--Samuel Beckett

A view of the night showing stars

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

--Samuel Beckett

silhouette of man looking towards left

To-morrow, when I wake, or think I do, what shall I say of to-day?

--Samuel Beckett

blue sky and white clouds

The situation is that of him who is helpless, cannot act, in the event cannot paint, since he is obliged to paint. The act is of him who, helpless, unable to act, acts, in the event paints, since he is obliged to paint.

--Samuel Beckett

snow mountains under nightsky

We are all born mad. Some remain so.

--Samuel Beckett


white satellite dish under starry night

We are all born crazy. Some remain that way.

--Samuel Beckett

body of water under blue sky with stars

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.

--Samuel Beckett

pink umbrella

The old endless chain of love, tolerance, indifference, aversion and disgust.

--Samuel Beckett

woman in blue denim jacket and black pants standing beside train

Constipation is a sign of good health in pomeranians.

--Samuel Beckett

silhouette photo of mountain during night time

That's what hell must be like, small chat to the babbling of Lethe about the good old days when we wished we were dead.

--Samuel Beckett

blue wall

Love, that is all I asked, a little love, daily, twice daily, fifty years of twice daily love like a Paris horse-butcher's regular, what normal woman wants affection?

--Samuel Beckett

white wooden hut during daytime

Don't touch me! Don't question me! Don't speak to me! Stay with me!

--Samuel Beckett

closeup photo of lounger chairs and beach umbrellas

I don't like animals. It's a strange thing, I don't like men and I don't like animals. As for God, he is beginning to disgust me.

--Samuel Beckett

woman in white and black stripe long sleeve shirt standing beside brown concrete building during daytime

To him who has nothing it is forbidden not to relish filth.

--Samuel Beckett

black and white abstract illustration

Hold the old holding hand. Hold and be held. Plod on and never recede. Slowly with never a pause plod on and never recede.

--Samuel Beckett

purple textile in close up photography

But I was not made for the great light that devours, a dim lamp was all I had been given, and patience without end, to shine it on the empty shadows.

--Samuel Beckett

foggy mountain summit

Any fool can turn a blind eye but who knows what the ostrich sees in the sand.

--Samuel Beckett

purple petaled flower with vase selective focus photography

Try again. Fail again. Try better.

--Samuel Beckett

brown, black, and white butterfly on purple petaled flower photo

There is man in his entirety, blaming his shoe when his foot is guilty.

--Samuel Beckett

silhouette of kneeling man

I am such a good man, at bottom, such a good man, how is it that nobody ever noticed it?

--Samuel Beckett




white textile in close up photography

Perhaps my best years are gone. When there was a chance of happiness. But I wouldn't want them back. Not with the fire in me now. No, I wouldn't want them back.

--Samuel Beckett

stars across the sky view at the desert

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

--Samuel Beckett

beach during daytime

What goes by the name of love is banishment, with now and then a postcard from the homeland, such is my considered opinion, this evening.

--Samuel Beckett

purple flower field during daytime

Personally I have no bone to pick with graveyards.

--Samuel Beckett

Longer Version:

Personally I have no bone to pick with graveyards, I take the air there willingly, perhaps more willingly than elsewhere, when take the air I must.


two gold-colored skeleton keys

We are all born; some remain so.

--Samuel Beckett

red and yellow abstract painting

I have finished Pasternak with mixed feelings, which is more than I hoped for.

--Samuel Beckett


mountains covered with fog

Sometimes I wonder if I'm in my right mind. Then it passes off and I'm as intelligent as ever.

--Samuel Beckett

person holding white and yellow flower painting

Have you shat, my child, I said gently.

--Samuel Beckett

milky way above body of water

The end of a life is always vivifying.

--Samuel Beckett



None

Look, she said stooping over her breasts, the haloes are darkening already. I summoned up my remaining strength and said, Abort, abort and they'll blush like new.

--Samuel Beckett

blue and white abstract painting

For to know nothing is nothing, not to want to know anything likewise, but to be beyond knowing anything, to know you are beyond knowing anything, that is when peace enters in, to the soul of the incurious seeker.

--Samuel Beckett

body of water during sunset

Incontinent the void. The zenith. Evening again. When not night it will be evening. Death again of deathless day. On one hand embers. On the other ashes. Day without end won and lost. Unseen.

--Samuel Beckett

blue and white abstract painting

S: He is weeping, sir, shall I note it?
A: I really do not know what to advise, miss.
S: Inasmuch as...how shal I say?...human trait...can one say in English?
A: I have never come across it, miss, but no doubt.

--Samuel Beckett

man raising arms between greenfield

That double-headed monster of damnation and salvation -- Time.

--Samuel Beckett

man holding brown violin

Our vulgar perception is not concerned with other than vulgar phenomena.

--Samuel Beckett

scenery of aurora

Nothing happens. Nobody comes, nobody goes. It's awful.

--Samuel Beckett

crescent moon above mountain

What is more true than anything else? To swim is true and to sink is true. One cannot speak any more of being, one must speak onlyof the mess.

--Samuel Beckett


star sequins on white platform

The essential is to go on squirming forever at the end of the line, as long as there are waters and banks and ravening in heaven asporting God to plague his creature, per pro his chosen shits.

--Samuel Beckett

time lapse photography body of water

Humbly to ask a favour of people who are on the point of knocking your brains out sometimes produces good results.

--Samuel Beckett

two gold-colored skeleton keys

God is love. Yes or no? No.

--Samuel Beckett

pug lying on pet bed

It was December, I had never felt so cold, the eel soup lay heavy on my stomach, I was afraid I'd die, I turned aside to vomit, I envied them.

--Samuel Beckett

body of water

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

--Samuel Beckett

Longer Version:

The tears of the world are a constant quantity. For each one who begins to weep somewhere else another stops. The same is true of the laugh. Let us not then speak ill of our generation, it is not any unhappier than its predecessors. Let us not speak well of it either. Let us not speak of it at all. It is true the population has increased.


cosmic view during night time

My characters have nothing. I'm working with impotence, ignorance... that whole zone of being that has always been set aside by artists as something unusable -- something by definition incompatible with art.

--Samuel Beckett

Arizona landscape

Abode where lost bodies roam each searching for its lost one.

--Samuel Beckett

snowflake

What are we doing here, that is the question.

--Samuel Beckett

Longer Version:

What are we doing here, that is the question. And we are blessed in this, that we happen to know the answer. Yes, in the immense confusion one thing alone is clear. We are waiting for Godot to come.


man running on seashore

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

--Samuel Beckett

palm trees covered with fog

All poetry, as discriminated from the various paradigms of prosody, is prayer.

--Samuel Beckett


rainbow

Unfathomable mind, now beacon, now sea.

--Samuel Beckett


road between yellow leaf trees at daytime

Tears and laughter, they are so much Gaelic to me.

--Samuel Beckett



gray building

With all this darkness round me I feel less alone. In a way. I love to get up and move about in it, then back here to ... me.

--Samuel Beckett

grayscale photo of rock formation

I am interested in the shape of ideas, even if I do not believe in them.

--Samuel Beckett

Longer Version:

I am interested in the shape of ideas even if I do not believe in them. There is a wonderful sentence in Augustine ... "Do not despair: one of the thieves was saved; do not presume: one of the thieves was damned." That sentence had a wonderful shape. It is the shape that matters.



white and pink roses on pink wall

He who has waited long enough, will wait forever. And there comes the hour when nothing more can happen and nobody more can come and all is ended but the waiting that knows itself in vain.

--Samuel Beckett

forest with tall and green trees during daytime

Absolute virtue is as sure to kill a man as absolute vice is, let alone the dullness of it and the pomposities of it.

--Samuel Beckett

focus photo of a hummingbird on leaf

There's something dripping in my head. A heart, a heart in my head.

--Samuel Beckett

landscape photography of mountain hit by sun rays

But at this place, at this moment of time, all mankind is us, whether we like it or not. Let us make the most of it, before it is too late!

--Samuel Beckett

sunset and agave stalk

Don't wait to be hunted to hide, that was always my motto.

--Samuel Beckett

close up shot of white flower

We spend our life, it's ours, trying to bring together in the same instant a ray of sunshine and a free bench.

--Samuel Beckett

sunset forest

All has not been said and never will be.

--Samuel Beckett

shallow focus photography of brown parquet flooring

If I had known who Godot is, I would have written it in the script.

--Samuel Beckett


None

Yes, in my life, since we must call it so, there were three things, the inability to speak, the inability to be silent, and solitude, that's what I've had to make the best of.

--Samuel Beckett

cluster of stars in the sky

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.

--Samuel Beckett


white desk lamp beside green plant

What a weary way since that first disaster, what nerves torn from the heart of insentience, with the appertaining terror and the cerebellum on fire. It took him a long time to adapt himself to this excoriation.

--Samuel Beckett

galaxy

What kind of country is this where a woman can't weep her heart out on the highways and byways without being tormented by retired bill-brokers!

--Samuel Beckett

None

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.

--Samuel Beckett

gray satellite disc on field

Personally I always preferred Lipton's.

--Samuel Beckett

tilt shift lens pink fetal flowers

Never but the one matter. The dead and gone. The dying and going. From the word go.

--Samuel Beckett


woman standing on cliff

The forms are many in which the unchanging seeks relief from its formlessness.

--Samuel Beckett

black textile on white textile

What is this love that more than all the cursed deadly or any other of its great movers so moves the soul and soul what is this soul that more than by any of its great movers is by love so moved?

--Samuel Beckett

shoreline during golden hour

Name, no, nothing is nameable, tell, no, nothing can be told, what then, I don't know, I shouldn't have begun.

--Samuel Beckett

adult Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog

Real scratching is superior to masturbation, in my opinion.

--Samuel Beckett

Longer Version:

Real scratching is superior to masturbation, in my opinion. One can masturbate up to the age of seventy, and even beyond, but in the end it becomes a mere habit. Whereas to scratch myself properly I would have needed a dozen hands. I itched all over, on the privates, in the bush up to the navel, under the arms, in the arse, and then patches of eczema and psoriasis that I could set raging merely by thinking of them. It was in the arse I had the most pleasure, I stuck in my forefinger up to the knuckle. Later, if I had to shit, the pain was atrocious. But I hardly shat any more.



woman in black tank top

I speak for an art ... weary of its puny exploits, weary of pretending to be able, of being able, of doing a little better the same old thing, of going a little further along a dreary road.

--Samuel Beckett

toddler hugging siberian husky

People are bloody ignorant apes.

--Samuel Beckett

high-angle photography of beach side

And if I sometimes hear nothing for hours on end it is for reasons of which I know nothing, or because about me all goes really silent, from time to time, whereas for the righteous the tumult of the world never stops.

--Samuel Beckett

city lights from hill

How can one better magnify the Almighty than by sniggering with him at his little jokes, particularly the poorer ones?

--Samuel Beckett


black and white butterfly on green leaf

This should all be rewritten in the pluperfect.

--Samuel Beckett



silhouette of tall trees

I open the door of the cell and go. I am so bowed I only see my feet, if I open my eyes, and between my legs a little trail of black dust. I say to myself that the earth is extinguished, though I never saw it lit.

--Samuel Beckett


clear drinking glass with beer on black table

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

--Samuel Beckett

green trees beside body of water during daytime

I, of whom I know nothing, I know my eyes are open, because of the tears that pour from them unceasingly.

--Samuel Beckett



man in black jacket and blue denim jeans jumping on snow covered mountain during daytime

The whisky bears a grudge against the decanter.

--Samuel Beckett


green and white abstract painting

Ever Tried. Ever Failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

--Samuel Beckett

empty seashore near high-rise building

All that is active, all that is enveloped in time and space, is endowed with what might be described as an abstract, ideal and absolute impermeability.

--Samuel Beckett

body of water

You cannot mention everything in its proper place, you must choose, between the things not worth mentioning and those and those even less so.

--Samuel Beckett

top view photography of heart latte coffee

All mankind is us, whether we like it or not.

--Samuel Beckett

yellow painted wall

What can it matter to me, that I succeed or fail ? The undertaking is none of mine, if they want me to succeed I'll fail, and vice versa, so as not to be rid of my tormentors.

--Samuel Beckett


aerial photo of foggy mountains

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

--Samuel Beckett

pink and blue painted wall

The loss of my sight was a great fillip. If I could go deaf and dumb I think I might pant on to be a hundred.

--Samuel Beckett


full moon in the sky

Go on failing. Go on. Only next time, try to fail better.

--Samuel Beckett


brown sands

We are not merely more weary because of yesterday, we are other, no longer what we were before the calamity of yesterday.

--Samuel Beckett

woman carrying toddler on seashore

Do we mean love, when we say love?

--Samuel Beckett

time lapse photography of lightning during storm

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

--Samuel Beckett


brown trees under blue sky during daytime

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

--Samuel Beckett

brown grass on brown sand under blue sky during daytime

Habit is the ballast that chains the dog to his vomit.

--Samuel Beckett

forest at daytime

To every man his little cross. Till he dies. And is forgotten.

--Samuel Beckett

green leaf in close up photography

Ah earth you old extinguisher.

--Samuel Beckett

We wish you a perfect day!