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A collection of quotes and thoughts by Tennessee Williams on angels, demons, distance, time, vanity, plays, writing, heart, life, love, fear, wild and ego.

100 Inspiring Quotes By Tennessee Williams That Will Fill Your Life With New Gusto

Quick Facts

Famous As: American playwright

Born On: March 26, 1911

Died On: February 25, 1983

Born In: Columbus, Mississippi

Died At Age: 71

Tennessee Williams was an acclaimed American playwright known as the best playwrights of the 20th century. His childhood was very disturbed as a result of his dysfunctional family and this is where writing came to his rescue. These experiences were a great influence for majority of his works. He joined the University of Missouri to study journalism but was compelled by his father to become a sales clerk against his will. All this caused a nervous breakdown. After recovering, he completed his studies and moved to New Orleans to start a new life away from his family. During the initial years, he traveled to various places doing petty jobs to survive. He debuted on theater with his play titled ‘The Glass Menagerie’ which brought him instant fame as it was honored with ‘New York Critics Circle Awards’. His next play ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ further upped his success barometer. It was honored with various awards including the most renowned ‘Pulitzer Prize’. The next two decades marked the most successful time of his career as he gave consecutive hits. His promising career, unfortunately, came on a downfall as he got into alcohol and drugs. Here is a compilation of quotes and thoughts by the legendary playwright which have been extracted from his writings, plays, books, work and life. Go through these quotes sayings by Tennessee Williams which tends to have a lesson of life hidden behind them.
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If I got rid of my demons, I’d lose my angels.

Tennessee Williams

Time is the longest distance between two places.

Tennessee Williams

What is straight? A line can be straight, or a street, but the human heart, oh, no, it's curved like a road through mountains.

Tennessee Williams

There comes a time when you look into the mirror and you realize that what you see is all that you will ever be. And then you accept it. Or you kill yourself. Or you stop looking in mirrors.

Tennessee Williams

Time doesn't take away from friendship, nor does separation.

Tennessee Williams

A prayer for the wild at heart kept in cages.

Tennessee Williams

How beautiful it is and how easily it can be broken.

Tennessee Williams

Don't you just love those long rainy afternoons in New Orleans when an hour isn't just an hour - but a little piece of eternity dropped into your hands - and who knows what to do with it?

Tennessee Williams

When so many are lonely as seem to be lonely, it would be inexcusably selfish to be lonely alone.

Tennessee Williams

Why did I write? Because I found life unsatisfactory.

Tennessee Williams

There's a time for departure even when there's no certain place to go.

Tennessee Williams

I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.

Tennessee Williams

All cruel people describe themselves as paragons of frankness.

Tennessee Williams

In memory, everything seems to happen to music.

Tennessee Williams

We all live in a house on fire, no fire department to call; no way out, just the upstairs window to look out of while the fire burns the house down with us trapped, locked in it.

Tennessee Williams

Make voyages. Attempt them. There's nothing else.

Tennessee Williams

You can be young without money, but you can't be old without it.

Tennessee Williams

Deliberate cruelty is unforgivable. --Blanche Dubois

Tennessee Williams

I think that hate is a feeling that can only exist where there is no understanding.

Tennessee Williams

Some things are not forgiveable. Deliberate cruelty is not forgiveable. It is the most unforgiveable thing in my opinion, and the one thing in which I have never, ever been guilty.

Tennessee Williams

The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks.

Tennessee Williams

We're all sentenced to solitary confinement inside our own skins, for life.

Tennessee Williams

I don't want realism. I want magic!

Tennessee Williams

Physical beauty is passing - a transitory possession - but beauty of the mind, richness of the spirit, tenderness of the heart - I have all these things - aren't taken away but grow! Increase with the years!

Tennessee Williams

What is the victory of a cat on a hot tin roof?—I wish I knew... Just staying on it, I guess, as long as she can...

Tennessee Williams

I didn't go to the moon, I went much further—for time is the longest distance between two places

Tennessee Williams

Every time you come in yelling that God damn "Rise and Shine!" "Rise and Shine!" I say to myself, "How lucky dead people are!

Tennessee Williams

Oh, you can't describe someone you're in love with!

Tennessee Williams

America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland.

Tennessee Williams

You are the only young man that I know of who ignores the fact that the future becomes the present, the present the past, and the past turns into everlasting regret if you don't plan for it.

Tennessee Williams

In all these years, you never believed I loved you. And I did. I did so much. I did love you. I even loved your hate and your hardness.

Tennessee Williams

What on earth can you do on this earth but catch at whatever comes near you, with both your fingers, until your fingers are broken?

Tennessee Williams

All pretty girls are a trap, a pretty trap, and men expect them to be.

Tennessee Williams

Show me a person who hasnt known any sorrow and Ill show you a superficial.

Tennessee Williams

Don't look forward to the day you stop suffering, because when it comes you'll know you're dead.

Tennessee Williams

Everybody is nothing until you love them.

Tennessee Williams

Friends are God's way of apologizing to us for our families

Tennessee Williams

Success and failure are equally disastrous.

Tennessee Williams

Why is it so damn hard for people to talk?

Tennessee Williams

For nowadays the world is lit by lightning! Blow out your candles, Laura -- and so goodbye. . . .

Tennessee Williams

Being disappointed is one thing and being discouraged is something else. I am disappointed but I am not discouraged.

Tennessee Williams

Life is an unanswered question, but let's still believe in the dignity and importance of the question.

Tennessee Williams

Mendacity is a system that we live in," declares Brick. "Liquor is one way out an'death's the other.

Tennessee Williams

I'm not living with you. We occupy the same cage. (Maggie)

Tennessee Williams

Go, then! Go to the moon-you selfish dreamer!

Tennessee Williams

Well, honey, a shot never does a coke any harm!

Tennessee Williams

I cannot write any sort of story unless there is at least one character in it for whom I have physical desire.

Tennessee Williams

People go to the movies instead of moving.

Tennessee Williams

Enthusiasm is the most important thing in life.

Tennessee Williams

Has it ever struck you that life is all memory, except for the one present moment that goes by you so quick you hardly catch it going?

Tennessee Williams

I can't stand a naked light bulb, any more than I can a rude remark or a vulgar action.

Tennessee Williams

We are all civilized people, wich means that we are all savages at heart but observing a few amenities of civilized behaviour.

Tennessee Williams

Time goes by so fast. Nothin' can outrun it. Death commences too early--almost before you're half-acquainted with life--you meet the other.

Tennessee Williams

And funerals are pretty compared to deaths.

Tennessee Williams

But there are things that happen between a man and a woman in the dark -- that sort of make everything else seem -- unimportant.

Tennessee Williams

Val: Why do you go out there? Sandra: Because dead people give such good advice. Val: What advice do they give? Sandra: Just one word- live!

Tennessee Williams

They told me to take a streetcar named Desire and then transfer to one called Cemeteries and ride six blocks and get off at - Elysian Fields!

Tennessee Williams

A high station in life is earned by the gallantry with which appalling experiences are survived with grace.

Tennessee Williams

Hell is yourself and the only redemption is when a person puts himself aside to feel deeply for another person.

Tennessee Williams

When I stop working the rest of the day is posthumous. I'm only really alive when I'm writing.

Tennessee Williams

The future is called "perhaps", which is the only possible thing to call the future. And the only important thing is not to allow that to scare you.

Tennessee Williams

I don't believe anyone ever suspects how completely unsure I am of my work and myself and what tortures of self-doubting the doubt of others has always given me.

Tennessee Williams

She lives in a world of her own – a world of – little glass ornaments…

Tennessee Williams

The Venus flytrap, a devouring organism, aptly named for the goddess of love.

Tennessee Williams

Maggie, we're through with lies and liars in this house. Lock the door.

Tennessee Williams

We've had this date with each other from the beginning.

Tennessee Williams

Never inside, I didn't lie in my heart...

Tennessee Williams

I know I fib a good deal. After all, a woman's charm is fifty per cent illusion, but when a thing is important I tell the truth. - Blanche Scene II

Tennessee Williams

I don't want realism. I want magic! Yes, yes, magic. I try to give that to people. I do misrepresent things. I don't tell truths. I tell what ought to be truth.

Tennessee Williams

The trouble with this world is that everybody has to compromise and conform.

Tennessee Williams

Attempting to find in motion what was lost in space.

Tennessee Williams

We have to distrust each other. It's our only defense against betrayal.

Tennessee Williams

It's like a switch, clickin' off in my head. Turns the hot light off and the cool one on, and all of a sudden there's peace.

Tennessee Williams

The theatre is a place where one has time for the problems of people to whom one would show the door if they came to one's office for a job.

Tennessee Williams

My only point, the only point that I'm making, is life has got to be allowed to continue even after the dream of life is--all--over....

Tennessee Williams

Caged birds accept each other, but flight is what they long for.

Tennessee Williams

But here there was only hot swing music and liquor, dance halls, ban, and movies, and sex that hung in the gloom like a chandelier and flooded the world with brief, deceptive rainbows.

Tennessee Williams

The name of a person you love is more than language.

Tennessee Williams

The human animal is a beast that dies but the fact that he’s dying don’t give him pity for others.

Tennessee Williams

Being disappointed is one thing and being discouraged is something else.

Tennessee Williams

Somebody said once or wrote, once: 'We're all of us children in a vast kindergarten trying to spell God's name with the wrong alphabet blocks!

Tennessee Williams

There is only one true aristocracy . . . and that is the aristocracy of passionate souls!

Tennessee Williams

Living with someone you love can be lonelier than living entirely alone, if the one that you love doesn't love you.

Tennessee Williams

I saw that it was all over, put away in a box like a doll no longer cared for, the magical intimacy of our childhood together

Tennessee Williams

Stella: And when he comes back I cry on his lap like a baby.. [she smiles to herself] Blanche: I guess that is what is meant by being in love..

Tennessee Williams

If the writing is honest it cannot be separated from the man who wrote it.

Tennessee Williams

Young, gifted, and destitute...

Tennessee Williams

Nobody knew my rose of the world but me... I had too much glory. They don't want glory like that in nobody's heart

Tennessee Williams

It's interesting, isn't it? . . . the chandelier . . . it reminds me of mushroom soup.

Tennessee Williams

How long does it have to go on? This punishment? Haven't I done time enough, haven't I served my term? can't I apply for a-pardon?

Tennessee Williams

You know, then that the public Somebody you are when you 'have a name' is a fiction created with mirrors and that the only somebody worth being is the solitary and unseen you that existed from your first breath

Tennessee Williams

Stanley: Delicate piece she is. Stella: She is. She was. You didn't know Blanche as a girl. Nobody, nobody, was tender and trusting as she was. But people like you abused her, and forced her to change.

Tennessee Williams

I'll be all right in a minute, I'm just bewildered - by life...

Tennessee Williams

-You're simple, straightforward and honest, a little bit on the primitive side, I should think. To interest you a woman would have to... -To lay her cards out on the table.

Tennessee Williams

No, truth is something desperate, an' she's got it. Believe me, it's something desperate, an' she's got it.

Tennessee Williams

Symbols are nothing but the natural speech of drama.

Tennessee Williams

A drinking man's someone who wants to forget he isn't still young and believing

Tennessee Williams

Possess your soul in patience - you will see!

Tennessee Williams

Is a lifetime long enough to hold the regret that I have for that fantastically aborted but crazily sweet love affair?

Tennessee Williams

Openings come quickly, sometimes, like blue space in running clouds. A complete overcast, then a blaze of light....

Tennessee Williams