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A collection of insightful quotes and sayings by Samuel Beckett on love, failure, plays, books, influences, habit, silence, life, faults, extinction, die, artist and philosophers

96 Samuel Beckett Quotes That Prod You To ‘Fail Better’

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Novelist, Playwright, Theater Director

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Foxrock, Ireland

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Samuel Beckett was a prolific Irish avant-garde poet, novelist, literary translator, theatre director and playwright. He spent most of his adult life in Paris and wrote both in French and English. In his later career, he became growingly minimalist. He is regarded as one of the prominent figures in the ‘Theatre of Absurd.' Some of his best-known works include, ‘Happy Days,’ ‘Waiting for Godot,’ ‘Not I,’ ‘Murphy,’ and ‘Krapp’s Last Tape’ amongst various others. He was also awarded the ‘Nobel Prize in Literature’ in 1969. We have created a corpus of meaningful sayings and quotes by Samuel Beckett, which have been curated from his works, poems, thoughts, novels, translations, plays, writings, and life. Go through the most popular and motivational thoughts and quotes by Samuel Beckett that might just change the way you look at life.

Dance first. Think later. It's the natural order.

- Samuel Beckett

All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

- Worstward Ho, Samuel Beckett

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

- Samuel Beckett

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.

- Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett

Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

- Samuel Beckett

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

- I Can't Go On, Samuel Beckett

Estragon: We always find something, eh Didi, to give us the impression we exist? Vladimir: Yes, yes, we're magicians.

- Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett

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

- Samuel Beckett

My mistakes are my life.

- Samuel Beckett

The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new.

- Murphy, Samuel Beckett

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

- Samuel Beckett

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

- Endgame, Samuel Beckett

Nothing is funnier than unhappiness.

- Endgame, Samuel Beckett

Vladimir: Did I ever leave you? Estragon: You let me go.

- Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett

I use the words you taught me. If they don't mean anything any more, teach me others. Or let me be silent.

- Endgame, Samuel Beckett

Let's go." "We can't." "Why not?" "We're waiting for Godot.

- Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett

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

- Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett

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.

- Krapp's Last Tape & Embers, Samuel Beckett

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

- Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett

Words are all we have.

- Samuel Beckett

Nothing is more real than nothing.

- Malone Dies, Samuel Beckett

The only sin is the sin of being born

- Samuel Beckett

ESTRAGON: I can't go on like this. VLADIMIR: That's what you think.

- Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett

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

- Samuel Beckett

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

- Molloy, Samuel Beckett

Estragon: I'm like that. Either I forget right away or I never forget.

- Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett

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

- Samuel Beckett

Estragon: People are bloody ignorant apes.

- Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett

VLADIMIR: What do they say? ESTRAGON: They talk about their lives. VLADIMIR: To have lived is not enough for them. ESTRAGON: They have to talk about it.

- Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett

What is that unforgettable line?

- Samuel Beckett

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

- Samuel Beckett

I pause to record that I feel in extraordinary form. Delirium perhaps.

- Malone Dies, Samuel Beckett

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.

- The Unnamable, Samuel Beckett

Estragon: Nothing to be done.

- Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett

You cried for night - it falls. Now cry in darkness.

- Samuel Beckett

Habit is a great deadener.

- Samuel Beckett

They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it's night once more.

- Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett

ESTRAGON: Don't touch me! Don't question me! Don't speak to me! Stay with me! VLADIMIR: Did I ever leave you? ESTRAGON: You let me go.

- Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett

Vladimir: I don't understand. Estragon: Use your intelligence, can't you? Vladimir uses his intelligence. Vladimir: (finally) I remain in the dark.

- Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett

POZZO: I am blind. (Silence.) ESTRAGON: Perhaps he can see into the future.

- Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett

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.

- Molloy, Samuel Beckett

Estragon: What about hanging ourselves? Vladimir: Hmm. It'd give us an erection.

- Waiting for Godot: A Tragicomedy in Two Acts, Samuel Beckett

Silence, yes, but what silence! For it is all very fine to keep silence, but one has also to consider the kind of silence one keeps.

- Samuel Beckett

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

- Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett

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.

- The Unnamable, Samuel Beckett

Yes, there were times when I forgot not only who I was but that I was, forgot to be.

- Molloy, Samuel Beckett

If you don't know where you are currently standing, you're dead.

- Happy Days, Samuel Beckett

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

- Murphy, Samuel Beckett

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

- Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett

The creation of the world did not take place once and for all time, but takes place every day.

- Proust, Samuel Beckett

There is [...] a last even of last times of saying if you do not love me I shall not be loved if I do not love you I shall not love

- Cascando and Other Short Dramatic Pieces, Samuel Beckett

Art has nothing to do with clarity, does not dabble in the clear and does not make clear

- Samuel Beckett

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

That's how it is on this bitch of an earth.

- Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett

I've got my faults, but changing my tune isn't one of them.

- Samuel Beckett

We always find something, eh Didi, to let us think we exist?

- Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett

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

- Samuel Beckett

Words are the clothes thoughts wear.

- Samuel Beckett

I’m like that. Either I forget right away or I never forget.

- Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett

There's no lack of void.

- Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett

The essential doesn't change.

- Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett

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.

- Samuel Beckett

We have time to grow old. The air is full of our cries. But habit is a great deadener.

- Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett

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

- Collected Poems in English and French, Samuel Beckett

HAMM: We're not beginning to... to... mean something? CLOV: Mean something! You and I, mean something! (Brief laugh.) Ah that's a good one!

- Endgame, Samuel Beckett

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

It's so nice to know where you're going, in the early stages. It almost rids you of the wish to go there.

- Molloy, Samuel Beckett

Poets are the sense, philosophers the intelligence of humanity.

- Samuel Beckett

Unfathomable mind: now beacon, now sea.

- Molloy, Samuel Beckett

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

- Samuel Beckett

[A]ll I want to do is sit on my ass and fart and think of Dante.

- Samuel Beckett

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

- Samuel Beckett

But I know what darkness is, it accumulates, thickens, then suddenly bursts and drowns everything.

- Malone Dies, Samuel Beckett

Life is habit. Or rather life is a succession of habits.

- Proust, Samuel Beckett

I tried to groan, Help! Help! But the tone that came out was that of polite conversation.

- First Love and Other Novellas, Samuel Beckett

Dear incomprehension, it's thanks to you I'll be myself, in the end.

- The Unnamable, Samuel Beckett

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

- Samuel Beckett

If there is one question I dread, to which I have never been able to invent a satisfactory reply, it is the question what am I doing.

- Molloy, Samuel Beckett

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

When a man in a forest thinks he is going forward in a straight line, in reality he is going in a circle, I did my best to go in a circle, hoping to go in a straight line.

- Molloy, Samuel Beckett

Use your head, can't you, use your head, you're on earth, there's no cure for that!

- Endgame, Samuel Beckett

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

- Krapp's Last Tape & Embers, Samuel Beckett

How hideous is the semicolon.

- Samuel Beckett

For in me there have always been two fools, among others, one asking nothing better than to stay where he is and the other imagining that life might be slightly less horrible a little further on.

- Samuel Beckett

My dear Tom, Delighted to get your letter. Do write again. This life is terrible and I don't understand how it can be endured.

- Samuel Beckett

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.

- Malone Dies, Samuel Beckett

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!

- Collected Shorter Plays, Samuel Beckett

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.

- Endgame, Samuel Beckett

Decidedly it will never have been given to me to finish anything, except perhaps breathing. One must not be greedy.

- Samuel Beckett

Let us say before i go any further, that i forgive nobody. i wish them all an atrocious life in the fires of icy hell and in the execrable generations to come.

- Malone Dies, Samuel Beckett

When you're in the shit up to your neck, there's nothing left to do but sing.

- Samuel Beckett

Be again, be again. (Pause.) All that old misery. (Pause.) Once wasn't enough for you.

- Krapp's Last Tape & Embers, Samuel Beckett

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

- Samuel Beckett

Estragon: Suppose we repented. Vladimir: Repented what? Estragon: Oh...(He reflects.) We wouldn’t have to go into the details. Vladimir: Our being born?

- Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett

The search for the means to put an end to things, an end to speech, is what enables the discourse to continue.

- The Unnamable, Samuel Beckett

Dying for dark - the darker the worse. Strange.

- Samuel Beckett