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100 Insightful Quotes By Tom Stoppard For The Aficionados

Famous As: Playwright
Born On: July 3, 1937
Born In: Zlín, Czechoslovakia
Age: 85 Years

Sir Tom Stoppard is an eminent Czech-British screenwriter and playwright. He has written profusely for stage, radio, TV, and film. He gained stature with plays like ‘Every Good Boy Deserves Favour,’ ‘Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead,’ ‘Arcadia,’ ‘The Real Thing,’ ‘The Invention of Love,’ ‘Professional Foul,’ ‘The Coast of Utopia,’ and ‘Travesties.’ He bagged in four ‘Tony Awards’ and one ‘Academy Award’ for his writings. His works encompass themes of political freedom, human rights, and censorships. Besides being one of the most performed dramatists of his generation across the globe, he is also an illustrious playwright of the ‘National Theatre.’ Following are some of the noted quotes by Tom Stoppard, which have been gathered from his writings, plays, tweets, interviews, public utterances, books, novels, and films. Go through quotes by Tom Stoppard that will keep you focused.

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We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered.

We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered.

Tom Stoppard
It is a defect of God's humor that he directs our hearts everywhere but to those who have a right to them.

It is a defect of God's humor that he directs our hearts everywhere but to those who have a right to them.

Tom Stoppard
Look on every exit as being an entrance somewhere else.

Look on every exit as being an entrance somewhere else.

Tom Stoppard
There must have been a moment, at the beginning, were we could have said -- no. But somehow we missed it.

There must have been a moment, at the beginning, were we could have said -- no. But somehow we missed it.

Tom Stoppard
Life in a box is better than no life at all, I expect. You'd have a chance at least. You could lie there thinking: Well, at least I'm not dead.

Life in a box is better than no life at all, I expect. You'd have a chance at least. You could lie there thinking: Well, at least I'm not dead.

Tom Stoppard
We're actors — we're the opposite of people!

We're actors — we're the opposite of people!

Tom Stoppard
I mean, if Beethoven had been killed in a plane crash at twenty-two, the history of music would have been very different. As would the history of aviation, of course.

I mean, if Beethoven had been killed in a plane crash at twenty-two, the history of music would have been very different. As would the history of aviation, of course.

Tom Stoppard
Rosencrantz: I don't believe in it anyway.
Guildenstern: What?
Rosencrantz: England.
Guildenstern: Just a conspiracy of cartographers, then?

Rosencrantz: I don't believe in it anyway. Guildenstern: What? Rosencrantz: England. Guildenstern: Just a conspiracy of cartographers, then?

Tom Stoppard
Life is a gamble, at terrible odds. If it were a bet you wouldn’t take it.

Life is a gamble, at terrible odds. If it were a bet you wouldn’t take it.

Tom Stoppard
Pirates could happen to anyone.

Pirates could happen to anyone.

Tom Stoppard
Eternity is a terrible thought. I mean, where's it going to end?

Eternity is a terrible thought. I mean, where's it going to end?

Tom Stoppard
We are tied down to a language which makes up in obscurity what it lacks in style.

We are tied down to a language which makes up in obscurity what it lacks in style.

Tom Stoppard
We do on stage things that are supposed to happen off. Which is a kind of integrity, if you look on every exit as being an entrance somewhere else.

We do on stage things that are supposed to happen off. Which is a kind of integrity, if you look on every exit as being an entrance somewhere else.

Tom Stoppard
Words, words. They're all we have to go on.

Words, words. They're all we have to go on.

Tom Stoppard
I am not my body. My body is nothing without me.

I am not my body. My body is nothing without me.

Tom Stoppard
The colours red, blue and green are real. The colour yellow is a mystical experience shared by everybody.

The colours red, blue and green are real. The colour yellow is a mystical experience shared by everybody.

Tom Stoppard
What a fine persecution—to be kept intrigued without ever quite being enlightened.

What a fine persecution—to be kept intrigued without ever quite being enlightened.

Tom Stoppard
Be happy -- if you're not even happy, what's so good about surviving?

Be happy -- if you're not even happy, what's so good about surviving?

Tom Stoppard
It's no trick loving somebody at their best. Love is loving them at their worst.

It's no trick loving somebody at their best. Love is loving them at their worst.

Tom Stoppard
It would have been nice to have had unicorns.

It would have been nice to have had unicorns.

Tom Stoppard
It's not the voting that's democracy, it's the counting.

It's not the voting that's democracy, it's the counting.

Tom Stoppard
Skill without imagination is craftsmanship and gives us many useful objects such as wickerwork picnic baskets. Imagination without skill gives us modern art.

Skill without imagination is craftsmanship and gives us many useful objects such as wickerwork picnic baskets. Imagination without skill gives us modern art.

Tom Stoppard
...reality, the name we give to the common experience.

...reality, the name we give to the common experience.

Tom Stoppard
Age is a very high price to pay for maturity.

Age is a very high price to pay for maturity.

Tom Stoppard
When we have found all the mysteries and lost all the meaning, we will be alone, on an empty shore.

When we have found all the mysteries and lost all the meaning, we will be alone, on an empty shore.

Tom Stoppard
What are a friend's books for if not to be borrowed?

What are a friend's books for if not to be borrowed?

Tom Stoppard
Rosencrantz: Shouldn't we be doing something--constructive?
Guildenstern: What did you have in mind? ... A short, blunt human pyramid...?

Rosencrantz: Shouldn't we be doing something--constructive? Guildenstern: What did you have in mind? ... A short, blunt human pyramid...?

Tom Stoppard
I'm going to be dead before I read the books I'm going to read.

I'm going to be dead before I read the books I'm going to read.

Tom Stoppard
The unpredictable and the predetermined unfold together to make everything the way it is.

The unpredictable and the predetermined unfold together to make everything the way it is.

Tom Stoppard
It's the wanting to know that makes us matter.

It's the wanting to know that makes us matter.

Tom Stoppard
Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.

Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.

Tom Stoppard
I love love. I love having a lover and being one. The insularity of passion. I love it. I love the way it blurs the distinction between everyone who isn't one's lover.

I love love. I love having a lover and being one. The insularity of passion. I love it. I love the way it blurs the distinction between everyone who isn't one's lover.

Tom Stoppard
It's the best possible time to be alive, when almost everything you thought you knew is wrong.

It's the best possible time to be alive, when almost everything you thought you knew is wrong.

Tom Stoppard
A man speaking sense to himself is no madder than a man speaking nonsense not to himself.

A man speaking sense to himself is no madder than a man speaking nonsense not to himself.

Tom Stoppard
Give us this day our daily mask.

Give us this day our daily mask.

Tom Stoppard
For all the compasses in the world, there's only one direction, and time is its only measure.

For all the compasses in the world, there's only one direction, and time is its only measure.

Tom Stoppard
Audiences know what to expect, and that is all that they are prepared to believe in.

Audiences know what to expect, and that is all that they are prepared to believe in.

Tom Stoppard
Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable.

Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable.

Tom Stoppard
Each move is dictated by the previous one--that is the meaning of order

Each move is dictated by the previous one--that is the meaning of order

Tom Stoppard
He says his aim is poetry. One does not aim at poetry with pistols. At poets, perhaps.

He says his aim is poetry. One does not aim at poetry with pistols. At poets, perhaps.

Tom Stoppard
All your life you live so close to truth, it becomes a permanent blur in the corner of your eye, and when something nudges it into outline it is like being ambushed by a grotesque.

All your life you live so close to truth, it becomes a permanent blur in the corner of your eye, and when something nudges it into outline it is like being ambushed by a grotesque.

Tom Stoppard
The truth is, we value your company, for want of any other. We have been left so much to our own devices—after a while one welcomes the uncertainty of being left to other people's.

The truth is, we value your company, for want of any other. We have been left so much to our own devices—after a while one welcomes the uncertainty of being left to other people's.

Tom Stoppard
[James] Joyce... an essentially private man who wished his total indifference to public notice to be universally recognized....

[James] Joyce... an essentially private man who wished his total indifference to public notice to be universally recognized....

Tom Stoppard
You can't treat royalty like people with normal perverted desires.

You can't treat royalty like people with normal perverted desires.

Tom Stoppard
Septimus. When we have found all the mysteries and lost all the meaning, we will be all alone, on an empty shore.

Thomasina. Then we will dance. Is this a waltz?

Septimus. When we have found all the mysteries and lost all the meaning, we will be all alone, on an empty shore. Thomasina. Then we will dance. Is this a waltz?

Tom Stoppard
Uncertainty is the normal state.

Uncertainty is the normal state.

Tom Stoppard
Success in life is to maintain this ecstasy, to burn always with this hard gemlike flame.

Success in life is to maintain this ecstasy, to burn always with this hard gemlike flame.

Tom Stoppard
I will take his secret to the grave, telling people I meet on the way.

I will take his secret to the grave, telling people I meet on the way.

Tom Stoppard
I've lost all capacity for disbelief. I'm not sure that I could even rise to a little gentle scepticism.

I've lost all capacity for disbelief. I'm not sure that I could even rise to a little gentle scepticism.

Tom Stoppard
If an idea's worth having once, it's worth having twice.

If an idea's worth having once, it's worth having twice.

Tom Stoppard
Seduced her? Every time I turned round she was up a library ladder. In the end I gave in. That reminds me—I spotted something between her legs that made me think of you.

Seduced her? Every time I turned round she was up a library ladder. In the end I gave in. That reminds me—I spotted something between her legs that made me think of you.

Tom Stoppard
Your opinions are your symptoms.

Your opinions are your symptoms.

Tom Stoppard
Hotel rooms inhabit a separate moral universe.

Hotel rooms inhabit a separate moral universe.

Tom Stoppard
Well, we'll know better next time.

Well, we'll know better next time.

Tom Stoppard
A healthy attitude is contagious but don't wait to catch it from others. Be a carrier.

A healthy attitude is contagious but don't wait to catch it from others. Be a carrier.

Tom Stoppard
Let me get it straight. Your father was king. You were his only son. Your father dies. You are of age. Your uncle becomes king.

Let me get it straight. Your father was king. You were his only son. Your father dies. You are of age. Your uncle becomes king." "Yes." "Unorthodox.

Tom Stoppard
Death followed by eternity the worst of both worlds. It is a terrible thought.

Death followed by eternity the worst of both worlds. It is a terrible thought.

Tom Stoppard
I should have the courage of my lack of convictions.

I should have the courage of my lack of convictions.

Tom Stoppard
The universe is deterministic all right, just like Newton said, I mean it's trying to be, but the only thing going wrong is people fancying people who aren't supposed to be in that part of the plan.

The universe is deterministic all right, just like Newton said, I mean it's trying to be, but the only thing going wrong is people fancying people who aren't supposed to be in that part of the plan.

Tom Stoppard
Fantasy flows in where fact leaves a vacuum.

Fantasy flows in where fact leaves a vacuum.

Tom Stoppard
Happiness is equilibrium. Shift your weight.

Happiness is equilibrium. Shift your weight.

Tom Stoppard
We keep to our usual stuff, more or less, only inside out. We do on stage the things that are supposed to happen off. Which is a kind of integrity, if you look on every exit being an entrance somewhere else.

We keep to our usual stuff, more or less, only inside out. We do on stage the things that are supposed to happen off. Which is a kind of integrity, if you look on every exit being an entrance somewhere else.

Tom Stoppard
I write plays because dialogue is the most respectable way of contradicting myself.

I write plays because dialogue is the most respectable way of contradicting myself.

Tom Stoppard
VALENTINE: Are you talking about Lord Byron, the poet?

BERNARD: No, you fucking idiot, we're talking about Lord Byron, the chartered accountant.

VALENTINE: Are you talking about Lord Byron, the poet? BERNARD: No, you fucking idiot, we're talking about Lord Byron, the chartered accountant.

Tom Stoppard
I would join Sisyphus in Hades and gladly push my boulder up the slope if only, each time it rolled back down, I were given a line of Aeschylus.

I would join Sisyphus in Hades and gladly push my boulder up the slope if only, each time it rolled back down, I were given a line of Aeschylus.

Tom Stoppard
Player: Relax. Respond. That's what people do. You can't go through life question your sitution at every turn.

Player: Relax. Respond. That's what people do. You can't go through life question your sitution at every turn.

Tom Stoppard
Better a fallen rocket than never a burst of light.

Better a fallen rocket than never a burst of light.

Tom Stoppard
He's never known anything like it! But then, he has never known anything to write home about, so this is nothing to write home about.

He's never known anything like it! But then, he has never known anything to write home about, so this is nothing to write home about.

Tom Stoppard
Nowadays, an artist is someone who makes art mean the things he does.

Nowadays, an artist is someone who makes art mean the things he does.

Tom Stoppard
We drift down time, clutching at straws. But what good's a brick to a drowning man?

We drift down time, clutching at straws. But what good's a brick to a drowning man?

Tom Stoppard
Carnal embrace is the practice of throwing one's arms around a side of beef.

Carnal embrace is the practice of throwing one's arms around a side of beef.

Tom Stoppard
GUIL: A scientific approach to the examination of phenomena is a defence against the pure emotion of fear

GUIL: A scientific approach to the examination of phenomena is a defence against the pure emotion of fear

Tom Stoppard
You think human nature is a beast, that it must be put in a cage. But it's the cage that makes the animal bad.

You think human nature is a beast, that it must be put in a cage. But it's the cage that makes the animal bad.

Tom Stoppard
The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster. strangely enough it all works out in the end... it's a mystery.

The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster. strangely enough it all works out in the end... it's a mystery.

Tom Stoppard
ROS: Why don't you go and have a look?
GUIL: Pragmatism?! - is that all you have to offer?

ROS: Why don't you go and have a look? GUIL: Pragmatism?! - is that all you have to offer?

Tom Stoppard
We're better at predicting events at the edge of the galaxy or inside the nucleus of an atom than whether it'll rain on auntie's garden party three Sundays from now.

We're better at predicting events at the edge of the galaxy or inside the nucleus of an atom than whether it'll rain on auntie's garden party three Sundays from now.

Tom Stoppard
THOMASINA:
But then the Egyptian noodle made carnal embrace with the enemy who burned the great library of Alexandria without so much as a fine for all that is overdue!

THOMASINA: But then the Egyptian noodle made carnal embrace with the enemy who burned the great library of Alexandria without so much as a fine for all that is overdue!

Tom Stoppard
You are an over-excited little man, with a need for self-expression far beyond the scope of your natural gifts. This is not discreditable. Neither does it make you an artist.

You are an over-excited little man, with a need for self-expression far beyond the scope of your natural gifts. This is not discreditable. Neither does it make you an artist.

Tom Stoppard
It takes character to withstand the rigours of indolence.

It takes character to withstand the rigours of indolence.

Tom Stoppard
(Words) deserve respect. Get the right ones in the right order, and you can nudge the world a little.

(Words) deserve respect. Get the right ones in the right order, and you can nudge the world a little.

Tom Stoppard
If you want to change something by Tuesday, theater is no good. Journalism is what does that.

But, if you want to just alter the chemistry of the moral matrix, then theater has a longer half-life.

If you want to change something by Tuesday, theater is no good. Journalism is what does that. But, if you want to just alter the chemistry of the moral matrix, then theater has a longer half-life.

Tom Stoppard
...and for the last three minutes on the wind of a windless day I have heard the sound of drums and flute...

...and for the last three minutes on the wind of a windless day I have heard the sound of drums and flute...

Tom Stoppard
It is better to be quotable than to be honest.

It is better to be quotable than to be honest.

Tom Stoppard
The bad end unhappily; the good, unluckily. That is what tragedy means.

The bad end unhappily; the good, unluckily. That is what tragedy means.

Tom Stoppard
Traitors hoist by their own petard?--or victims of the gods?--we shall never know!

Traitors hoist by their own petard?--or victims of the gods?--we shall never know!

Tom Stoppard
Revolution is a trivial shift in the emphasis of suffering.

Revolution is a trivial shift in the emphasis of suffering.

Tom Stoppard
Death is the ultimate negative.

Death is the ultimate negative.

Tom Stoppard
I fell in love with literature and stayed lovesick all my life.

I fell in love with literature and stayed lovesick all my life.

Tom Stoppard
Confession is an act of violence against the unoffending.

Confession is an act of violence against the unoffending.

Tom Stoppard
Kissing girls is not like science, nor is it like sport. It is the third thing when you thought there were only two.

Kissing girls is not like science, nor is it like sport. It is the third thing when you thought there were only two.

Tom Stoppard
I believe in mess, tears, pain, self-abasement, loss of self-respect, nakedness. Not caring doesn’t seem much different from not loving.

I believe in mess, tears, pain, self-abasement, loss of self-respect, nakedness. Not caring doesn’t seem much different from not loving.

Tom Stoppard
What is an artist? For every thousand people there's nine hundred doing the work, ninety doing well, nine doing good, and one lucky bastard who's the artist.

What is an artist? For every thousand people there's nine hundred doing the work, ninety doing well, nine doing good, and one lucky bastard who's the artist.

Tom Stoppard
As Socrates so philosophically put it, since we don't know what death is, it is illogical to fear it.

As Socrates so philosophically put it, since we don't know what death is, it is illogical to fear it.

Tom Stoppard
Can't you function unless you're losing?

Can't you function unless you're losing?

Tom Stoppard
There must have been a time, in the beginning, when we could have said – no. But somehow we missed it. Oh well, we'll know better next time.

There must have been a time, in the beginning, when we could have said – no. But somehow we missed it. Oh well, we'll know better next time.

Tom Stoppard
I must stop compromising my plays with this whiff of social application. They must be entirely untouched by any suspicion of usefulness.

I must stop compromising my plays with this whiff of social application. They must be entirely untouched by any suspicion of usefulness.

Tom Stoppard
Now for a handful of guilders I happen to have a private and uncut performance of the rape of the Sabine Women - or rather woman, or rather Alfred -Get your skirt on Alfred!

Now for a handful of guilders I happen to have a private and uncut performance of the rape of the Sabine Women - or rather woman, or rather Alfred -Get your skirt on Alfred!

Tom Stoppard
You stupid woman, if rationality were the criterion for things being allowed to exist, the world would be one gigantic field of soya beans!

You stupid woman, if rationality were the criterion for things being allowed to exist, the world would be one gigantic field of soya beans!

Tom Stoppard
To say that it is without pace, point, focus, interest, drama, wit or originality is to say simply that it does not happen to be my cup of tea.

To say that it is without pace, point, focus, interest, drama, wit or originality is to say simply that it does not happen to be my cup of tea.

Tom Stoppard