George Bernard Shaw

George Bernard
Shaw
1856
1950

Irish Playwright, Critic, Social Reformer and Political Activist

Author Quotes

When a thing is funny, search it carefully for a hidden truth.

Though I can make my extravaganzas appear credible, I cannot make the truth appear so.

Unless comedy touches me as well as amuses me, it leaves me with a sense of having wasted my evening. I go to the theatre to be moved to laughter, not to be tickled or bustled into it.

We cut the throat of a calf and hang it up by the heels to bleed to death so that our veal cutlet may be white; we nail geese to a board and cram them with food because we like the taste of liver disease; we tear birds to pieces to decorate our women's hats; we mutilate domestic animals for no reason at all except to follow an instinctively cruel fashion; and we connive at the most abominable tortures in the hope of discovering some magical cure for our own diseases by them.

We veneer civilization by doing unkind things in a kind way.

What is virtue but the Trade Unionism of the married?

When it comes to the point, really bad men are just as rare as really good ones.

Thus, I blush to add, you cannot be a philosopher and a good man, though you may be a philosopher and a great one.

Until the men of action clear out the talkers we who have social consciences are at the mercy of those who have none.

We don t stop playing because we grow old; We grow old because we stop playing.

We want a few mad people now. See where the sane ones have landed us!

What is wrong with priests and popes is that instead of being apostles and saints, they are nothing but empirics who say ''I know'' instead of ''I am learning,'' and pray for credulity and inertia as wise men pray for skepticism and activity.

When our relatives are at home, we have to think of all their good points or it would be impossible to endure them. But when they are away, we console ourselves for their absence by dwelling on their vices.

Time enough to think of the future when you haven't any future to think of.

Use your health, even to the point of wearing it out. That is what it is for. Spend all you have before you die; do not outlive yourself.

We don't bother much about dress and manners in England, because as a nation we don't dress well and we've no manners.

Well, dearie, men have to do some awfully mean things to keep up their respectability. But you can't blame them for that, can you?

What is wrong with the prosaic Englishman is what is wrong with the prosaic men of all countries: stupidity.

When people shake their heads because we are living in a restless age, ask them how they would like to life in a stationary one, and do without change.

There was only one virtue, pugnacity; only one vice, pacifism. That is an essential condition of war.

To a professional critic (I have been one myself) theatre-going is the curse of Adam. The play is the evil he is paid to endure in the sweat of his brow; and the sooner it is over, the better.

Very few people can afford to be poor.

We don't stop playing because we grow old - we grow old because we stop playing.

Well, upon my soul! You are not ashamed to stand there and confess yourself a disgusting drunkard.

What man is capable of the insane self-conceit of believing that an eternity of himself would be tolerable even to himself? Those who try to believe it postulate that they shall be made perfect first. But if you make me perfect I shall no longer be myself, nor will it be possible for me to conceive my present imperfections (and what I cannot conceive I cannot remember); so that you may just as well give me a new name and face the fact that I am a new person and that the old Bernard Shaw is as dead as mutton. Thus, oddly enough, the conventional belief in the matter comes to this: that if you wish to live forever you must be wicked enough to be irretrievably damned, since the saved are no longer what they were, and in hell alone do people retain their sinful nature: that is to say, their individuality. And this sort of hell, however convenient as a means of intimidating persons who have practically no honor and no conscience, is not a fact.

Author Picture
First Name
George Bernard
Last Name
Shaw
Birth Date
1856
Death Date
1950
Bio

Irish Playwright, Critic, Social Reformer and Political Activist