132+ 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

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

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

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

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

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

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. Bertolt Brecht

War is like love; it always finds a way. Bertolt Brecht

The worst illiterate is the political illiterate, he doesn’t hear, doesn’t speak, nor participates in the political events. He doesn’t know the cost of life, the price of the bean, of the fish, of the flour, of the rent, of the shoes and of the medicine, all depends on political decisions. The political illiterate is so stupid that he is proud and swells his chest saying that he hates politics. The imbecile doesn’t know that, from his political ignorance is born the prostitute, the abandoned child, and the worst thieves of all, the bad politician, corrupted and flunky of the national and multinational companies. Bertolt Brecht

What happens to the hole when the cheese is gone? Bertolt Brecht

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

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

What is the robbing of a bank compared to the founding of a bank? Bertolt Brecht

From the cradle to the coffin underwear comes first. Bertolt Brecht

Sometimes it’s more important to be human, than to have good taste. Bertolt Brecht

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

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

Unhappy the land that is in need of heroes Bertolt Brecht

Do not fear death so much, but rather the inadequate life. Bertolt Brecht

Everyone needs help from everyone. Bertolt Brecht

Nowadays, anyone who wishes to combat lies and ignorance and to write the truth must overcome at least five difficulties. He must have the courage to write the truth when truth is everywhere opposed; the keenness to recognize it, although it is everywhere concealed; the skill to manipulate it as a weapon; the judgment to select those in whose hands it will be effective; and the running to spread the truth among such persons. Bertolt Brecht

Poverty makes you wise but it’s a curse. Bertolt Brecht

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

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

All artforms are in the service of the greatest of all arts the art of living. Bertolt Brecht

What’s breaking into a bank compared with founding a bank? Bertolt Brecht

People who understand everything get no stories. Bertolt Brecht

Science knows only one commandment contribute to science. Bertolt Brecht

What happens to the hole when the cheese is gone? Bertolt Brecht

Do not fear death so much but rather the inadequate life. Bertolt Brecht

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

He who laughs has not yet heard the bad news. Bertolt Brecht

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

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

We attacked a foreign people and treated them like rebels. As you know, it’s all right to treat barbarians barbarically. It’s the desire to be barbaric that makes governments call their enemies barbarians. Bertolt Brecht

There are many elements to a campaign. Leadership is number one. Everything else is number two. Bertolt Brecht

As crimes pile up, they become invisible. Bertolt Brecht

Poverty makes you sad as well as wise. Bertolt Brecht

When something seems the most obvious thing in the world it means that any attempt to understand the world has been given up. Bertolt Brecht

Why be a man when you can be a success? Bertolt Brecht

Then I will tell you something. I do not believe in it. Forty years among men has consistently taught me that they are not amenable to common sense. Show them the red tail of a comet, fill them with black terror, and they will all come running out of their houses and break their legs. But tell them one sensible proposition and support it with seven reasons, and they will simply laugh in your face. Bertolt Brecht

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

Thinking is one of the greatest pleasures of the human race. Bertolt Brecht

It’s all right to hesitate if you then go ahead. Bertolt Brecht

Every time you name yourself, you name someone else. Bertolt Brecht

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

Such a lot is won when even a single man gets to his feet and says No. Bertolt Brecht

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

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

What they could do with round here is a good war. What else can you expect with peace running wild all over the place? You know what the trouble with peace is? No organization. Bertolt Brecht

What are you working on? Mr. K. was asked. Mr. K. Replied I’m having a hard time; I’m preparing my next mistake. Bertolt Brecht

Sometimes it’s more important to be human, than to have good taste. Bertolt Brecht

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

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

For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the bitch that bore him is in heat again. Bertolt Brecht

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

Art is not a mirror. Art is a hammer. Bertolt Brecht

What is the robbing of a bank compared to the founding of a bank? Bertolt Brecht

A man who doesn’t know the truth is just an idiot, but a man who knows the truth and calls it a lie is a crook. Bertolt Brecht

Grub first, then ethics. Bertolt Brecht

The river that everything drags is known as violent, but nobody calls violent the margins that arrest him. Bertolt Brecht

The law was made for one thing alone, for the exploitation of those who don’t understand it, or are prevented by naked misery from obeying it. Bertolt Brecht

Every day, to earn my daily bread I go to the market where lies are bought Hopefully I take up my place among the sellers. Bertold Brecht

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

For time flows on, and if it did not, it would be a bad prospect for those who do not sit at golden tables. Methods become exhausted; stimuli no longer work. New problems appear and demand new methods. Reality changes; in order to represent it, modes of representation must also change. Nothing comes from nothing; the new comes from the old, but that is why it is new. Bertolt Brecht

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

Art is not a mirror held up to society but a hammer with which to shape it. Bertolt Brecht

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

The wickedness of the world is so great, you have to keep running so your legs won’t be stolen from under you! Bertolt Brecht

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

I won’t let you spoil my war for me. Destroys the weak, does it? Well, what does peace do for’em, huh? War feeds its people better. Bertolt Brecht

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

Those who are against Fascism without being against capitalism, who lament over the barbarism that comes out of barbarism, are like people who wish to eat their veal without slaughtering the calf. Bertolt Brecht

Right is its own defense. Bertolt Brecht

We’re not responsible, he thought. This planet is a temporary affair. It’s whizzing with all kinds of other ones, a whole range of planetary stuff, toward a star in the Milky Way. On that kind of a planet we’re not responsible, he thought. Bertolt Brecht

One forgets too easily the difference between a man and his image, and that there is none between the sound of his voice on the screen and in real life. Bertolt Brecht

I’m teaching all the time. When am I to learn? Bertolt Brecht

The finest plans have always been spoiled by the littleness of them that should carry them out. Even emperors can’t do it all by themselves. Bertolt Brecht

For time is short and the unknown surrounds us; and it isn’t enough just to live unthinking and happy, calmly bearing oppression and only learning wisdom with age. Bertolt Brecht

Don’t tell me peace has broken out. Bertolt Brecht

Sin is what is new, strong, surprising, strange. The theatre must take an interest in sin if the young are to be able to go there. Bertolt Brecht

People are too durable, that’s their main trouble. They can do too much to themselves, they last too long. Bertolt Brecht

All the world says: yes we know what’s written in the books but now let’s see what our eyes tell us. Bertolt Brecht

Temptation to behave is terrible. Bertolt Brecht

Before familiarity can turn into awareness the familiar must be stripped of its inconspicuousness; we must give up assuming that the object in question needs no explanation. However frequently recurrent, modest, vulgar it may be it will now be be labeled as something unusual. Bertold Brecht

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

He was weak on philosophy and an excellent driver, but his driving was a lot more dangerous than his philosophy. Bertolt Brecht

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

What gets lost in bestowing of classical status on a work, is the book’s original freshness, the element of surprise of newness, of productive stimulus that is the hallmark of such Works the passionate quality of a great masterpiece. Bertolt Brecht

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

It’s all right to hesitate if you then go ahead. Bertold Brecht

People who fight may lose. People who do not fight have already lost. Bertolt Brecht

When the waters poured into Atlantis, the rich men still screamed for their slaves. Bertolt Brecht

The rain Never falls upwards. When the wound Stops hurting What hurts is The scar. Bertolt Brecht

Knowledge is just a commodity. It is acquired in order to be resold. All those who have grown out of going to school have to do their learning virtually in secret, for anyone who admits the he has still something to learn devalues himself as a man whose knowledge is inadequate. Bertolt Brecht

Everyone needs help from everyone. Bertolt Brecht

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

Poverty makes you wise but it’s a curse. Bertolt Brecht

One day somebody asked Herr K. if there was a God. Herr K. Replied I suggest that you ask yourself whether the answer would effect your behavior. If your behavior would remain unchanged, then we can drop the question. If it would change, then I can at least be of assistance to you by telling you that you have already decided you need a God. Bertolt Brecht

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

The compassion of the oppressed for the oppressed is indispensable. It is the world’s one hope. Bertolt Brecht

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

The law was made for one thing alone,for the exploitation of those who don’t understand it, or are prevented by naked misery from obeying it. And anyone who wants a crumb of this exploitation for himself must obey the law strictly. Bertolt Brecht

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

I don’t trust him, you see we’re friends. Bertolt Brecht

People who fight may lose. People who do not fight have already lost. Bertolt Brecht

When the Chinese Wall was built, where’d the masons go for lunch? When Caesar conquered Gaul, was there not even a cook in the army? When the Armada sank, King Philip wept. Were there no other tears? Bertolt Brecht

The rain Never falls upwards. When the wound Stops hurting What hurts is The scar. Bertolt Brecht

And I did work out something: that the rich of the earth indeed create misery, but they cannot bear to see it. They are weaklings and fools just like you. As long as they have enough to eat and can grease their floors with butter so that even the crumbs that fall from your table grow fat, they can’t look with indifference on a man collapsing from hunger although, of course, it must be in front of their house that he collapses. Bertolt Brecht

Everyone needs help from everyone. Bertolt Brecht

Though the rich of this earth find no difficulty in creating misery, they can’t bear to see it. Bertolt Brecht

Poverty makes you wise but it’s a curse. Bertolt Brecht

How can one remain free of every weakness, above all of the most deadly, of love? Bertolt Brecht

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

An aim of science is not to open the door to infinite wisdom, but to set a limit on infinite error. Life of Galileo Quoted in The Perfectionists. Bertold Breht

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

I can’t abide injustice. Bertolt Brecht

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

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

If you fight you might lose, if you don’t you have already lost. Bertolt Brecht

It is many years ago and at times I know nothing about her anymore who was once all things to me but all things pass. The Eleventh Psalm. Bertolt Brecht

War is like love, it always finds a way. Bertolt Brecht

As soon as something seems the most obvious thing in the world,it means that we have abandoned all attempts to understanding it. Bertolt Brecht

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

Character is a question of time. It lasts for a certain length of time, just like a glove. There are good ones that last a long time. But they don’t last forever. Bertolt Brecht

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

You may proclaim, good sirs, your fine philosophy, but till you feed us right and wrong can wait. Or is it only those who have the money who can enter the land of milk and honey? Bertolt Brecht

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

For the wickedness of the world is so great you have to run your legs off in order to avoid having them stolen from under you. Bertolt Brecht

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. When evil doing comes like falling rain, nobody calls out stop! When crimes begin to pile up they become invisible. When sufferings become unendurable the cries are no longer heard. The cries, too, fall like rain in summer. Bertolt Brecht

I hope I can pull the wagon by myself. Yes, I’ll manage, there’s not much in it now. I must get back into business. Bertolt Brecht

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

About the Author

Deniz Yalım is the founder and visionary behind BayArt, a platform renowned for its deeply resonant and inspirational content focusing on love, relationship, happiness, success and motivation. With a background rich in literature, psychology, and communication, Deniz has dedicated their career to the art of using words to inspire and empower. Passionate about the transformative power of language, Deniz has skillfully curated BayArt to be a platform for those seeking wisdom and guidance in the realms of love and life. Their writings not only reflect a deep understanding of human emotions and relationships but also aim to ignite change and encourage positive thinking. Through BayArt, Deniz Yalım continues to touch lives, offering solace, motivation, and a sense of connectedness to a global community.