90+ Best Bertolt Brecht Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Eugen Berthold Friedrich Brecht, known professionally as Bertolt Brecht, was a German theatre practitioner, playwright, and poet. Profoundly inspirational Bertolt Brecht quotes will challenge the way you think, change the way you live and transform your whole life.

If you’re searching for quotes by famous poets that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of powerful Chinua Achebe quotes, profound Dante Alighieri quotes and famous Dylan Thomas quotes.

Famous Bertolt Brecht Quotes

There are times when you have to choose between being a human and having good taste.

The rain never falls upwards. When the wound stops hurting, what hurts is the scar.

Unhappy the land that is in need of heroes.

General, your tank is a powerful vehicle It smashes down forests and crushes a hundred men. But it has one defect: It needs a driver.

He thought in other heads, and in his own, others besides himself thought.

Art is not a mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape it.

What a miserable thing life is: you’re living in clover, only the clover isn’t good enough.

Grub first, then ethics.

For once you must try not to shirk the facts: Mankind is kept alive by bestial acts.

One must live well to know what living is.

The first time it was reported that our friends were being butchered there was a cry of horror. Then a hundred were butchered. But when a thousand were butchered and there was no end to the butchery, a blanket of silence spread.

If there are obstacles, the shortest line between two points may be a crooked line.

In the dark times, will there also be singing? Yes, there will also be singing. About the dark times.

The suffering of this or that person grips me because there is no escape for him.

The human race tends to remember the abuses to which it has been subjected rather than the endearments. What’s left of kisses? Wounds, however, leave scars.

Hungry man, reach for the book: it is a weapon.

The world of knowledge takes a crazy turn when teachers themselves are taught to learn.

I don’t know what a man is. Only that every man has his price.

No one will improve your lot if you do not yourself.

Everyone needs help from everyone.

You want justice, but do you want to pay for it, hm? When you go to a butcher you know you have to pay, but you people go to a judge as if you were off to a funeral supper.

I am made to cry with those who cry, and laugh with those who laugh.

The main objective is to learn to think crudely. Crude thinking is the great one’s thinking.

My business is too difficult. My business is trying to arouse human pity.

For art to be ‘unpolitical’ means only to ally itself with the ‘ruling’ group.

Life is short and so is money.

Art and science coincide insofar as both aim to improve the lives of men and women.

It is easier to rob by setting up a bank than by holding up a bank clerk.

When crimes begin to pile up they become invisible.

If art reflects life, it does so with special mirrors.

Inspirational Bertolt Brecht Quotes

Little changes are the enemies of great changes.

Science has only one commandment: Contribution.

The suffering of this or that person grips me because there is an escape for him.

Everyone chases after happiness, not noticing that happiness is right at their heels.

I’m in good form, taking no interest in things, neglecting clothes, meals, company, and feeling calm and stable as I write.

You can make a fresh start with your final breath.

No one can be good for long if goodness is not in demand.

War is like love; it always finds a way.

Why be a man when you can be a success.

You don’t need to pray to God any more when there are storms in the sky, but you do have to be insured.

I am made to laugh about those who cry, and cry about those who laugh.

It’s never too late for those whose time has come.

Don’t tell me peace has broken out.

From the start it has been the theatre’s business to entertain people… it needs no other passport than fun.

The theater-goer in conventional dramatic theater says: Yes, I’ve felt that way, too. That’s the way I am. That’s life. That’s the way it will always be.

A man who sees another man on the street corner with only a stump for an arm will be so shocked the first time he’ll give him sixpence. But the second time it’ll only be a threepenny bit. And if he sees him a third time, he’ll have him cold-bloodedly handed over to the police.

Society cannot share a common communication system so long as it is split into warring factions.

From the cradle to the coffin, underwear comes first.

Sitting and sedition don’t mix.

The more innocent they are, the more they deserve to be shot.

People who understand everything get no stories.

But something’s missing.

Alas, we who wanted kindness, could not be kind ourselves.

Intelligence is not to make no mistakes, but quickly to see how to make them good.

Writers can’t write as fast as governments make wars; because to write demands thinking.

He who laughs last has not yet heard the bad news.

To those who do not know the world is on fire, I have nothing to say.

Amazing Bertolt Brecht Quotes

What kind of times are these, when to talk about trees is almost a crime because it implies silence about so many horrors?

Mixing one’s wines may be a mistake, but old and new wisdom mix admirably.

You may proclaim, good sirs, your fine philosophy… But till you feed us, right and wrong can wait!

The aim of science is not to open the door to infinite wisdom, but to set a limit to infinite error.

For what’s the use of talking with a man who has a disease and thinks about the stars?

The atomic age made its debut at Hiroshima in the middle of our work. Overnight, the biography of the founder of the new system of physics read differently.

General, your bomber is powerful. It flies faster than a storm and carries more than an elephant. But it has one defect: It needs a mechanic.

Poverty makes you sad as well as wise.

Don’t expect the theatre to satisfy the habits of its audience, but to change them.

It is not enough to demand insight and informative images of reality from the theater. Our theater must stimulate a desire for understanding, a delight in changing reality.

Because things are the way they are, things will not stay the way they are.

People remain what they are even if their faces fall apart.

What happens to the hole when the cheese is gone?

Don’t be afraid of death so much as an inadequate life.

It is simplicity that is difficult to make.

If you join the rat race — you’re in the race of rats.

He who fights, can lose. He who doesn’t fight, has already lost.

General, man is very useful. He can fly and he can kill. But he has one defect: He can think.

A man who strains himself on the stage is bound, if he is any good, to strain all the people sitting in the stalls.

Don’t accept the habitual as a natural thing. In times of disorder, of organized confusion, of de-humanized humanity, nothing should seem natural. Nothing should seem impossible to change.

You can only help one of your luckless brothers by trampling down a dozen others.

The defeats and victories of the fellows at the top aren’t always defeated and victories for the fellows at the bottom.

When evil-doing comes like falling rain, nobody calls out ‘stop!’

All art forms are in the service of the greatest of all arts: The art of living.

Corpses sour you. They are bad for objectivity.

As regards obstacles, the shortest distance between two points can be a curve.

Whenever there are great virtues, it’s a sure sign something’s wrong.

Right is its own defense.

To live means to finesse the processes to which one is subjugated.

When sufferings become unendurable the cries are no longer heard. The cries, too, fall like rain in summer.

I’m having a hard time; I’m preparing my next mistake.

Every time you name yourself, you name someone else.