George Bernard Shaw

George Bernard
Shaw
1856
1950

Irish Playwright, Critic, Social Reformer and Political Activist

Author Quotes

The play was a great success, but audience was a dismal failure.

The schoolmaster is the person who takes the children off the parents' hands for a consideration. That is to say, he establishes a child prison, engages a number of employee schoolmasters as turnkeys, and covers up the essential cruelty and unnaturalness of the situation by torturing the children if they do not learn, and calling this process, which is within the capacity of any fool or blackguard, by the sacred name of Teaching.

The true joy of life [is] being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one… being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown to the scrap heap… being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish clod of ailments and grievances.

Then the violet coffin moved again and went in feet first. And behold! The feet burst miraculously into streaming ribbons of garnet colored lovely flame, smokeless and eager, like penteoastal tongues, and as the whole coffin passed in it sprang into flame all over; and my mother became that beautiful fire.

There is no sincerer love than the love of food.

The last word remains with Christ and Handel; and this must stand as the best defense of Tolerance until a better man than I make a better job of it. Put shortly and undramatically the case is that a civilization cannot progress without criticism, and must therefore, to save itself from stagnation and putrefaction, declare impunity for criticism. This means impunity not only for propositions which, however novel, seem interesting, statesmanlike, and respectable, but for propositions that shock the uncritical as obscene, seditious, blasphemous, heretical, and revolutionary.

The nauseous sham good fellowship our democratic public men get up for shop use.

The popular definition of tragedy is heavy drama in which everyone is killed in the last act, comedy being light drama in which everyone is married in the last act.

The secret of forgiving everything is to understand nothing

The truth is, hardly any of us have ethical energy enough for more than one really inflexible point of honor.

THEODOTUS: Caesar: you are a stranger here, and not conversant with our laws. The kings and queens of Egypt may not marry except with their own royal blood. Ptolemy and Cleopatra are born king and consort just as they are born brother and sister. BRITANNUS (shocked): Caesar: this is not proper. THEODOTUS (outraged): How! CAESAR (recovering his self-possession): Pardon him. THEODOTUS: he is a barbarian, and thinks that the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature.

There is no subject on which more dangerous nonsense is talked and thought than marriage. If the mischief stopped at talking and thinking it would be bad enough; but it goes further, into disastrous anarchical action. Because our marriage law is inhuman and unreasonable to the point of downright abomination, the bolder and more rebellious spirits form illicit unions, defiantly sending cards round to their friends announcing what they have done. Young women come to me and ask me whether I think they ought to consent to marry the man they have decided to live with; and they are perplexed and astonished when I, who am supposed (heaven knows why!) to have the most advanced views attainable on the subject, urge them on no account to compromise themselves without the security of an authentic wedding ring.

The law of God is a law of change, and ... when the Churches set themselves against change as such, they are setting themselves against the law of God.

The notion that disarmament can put a stop to war is contradicted by the nearest dogfight

The possibilities are numerous once we decide to act and not react.

The secret of success is to offend the greatest number of people.

The truth sticks in our throats with all the sauces it is served with: it will never go down until we take it without any sauce at all.

There are no perfectly honorable men; but every true man has one main point of honor and a few minor ones.

There is nothing more dangerous than the conscience of a bigot.

The lesson intended by an author is hardly ever the lesson the world chooses to learn from his book.

The notion that the colonel need be a better man than the private is as confused as the notion that the keystone need be stronger than the coping stone.

The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those who don't have it.

THE SERPENT: The voice in the garden is your own voice. ADAM: It is; and it is not. It is something greater than me: I am only a part of it.

The ultimate form of censorship is assassination.

There are no secrets better kept than the secrets everybody guesses.

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

Irish Playwright, Critic, Social Reformer and Political Activist