196+ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German poet, playwright, novelist, scientist, statesman, critic, and he is considered the greatest German literary figure of the modern era. Best Johann Wolfgang von Goethe quotes will make you think about what’s really important in life and enrich the way you see yourself and others.

If you’re searching for best sayings from poets and inspiring quotes from authors that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of famous William Shakespeare quotes, Alexander Pope quotes, and wise Voltaire quotes.

Famous Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe Quotes

You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Money lost, something lost. Honor lost, much lost. Courage lost, everything lost-better you were never born. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

The best slave is the one who thinks he is free. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise, we harden. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

To think is easy. To act is difficult. To act as one thinks is the most difficult. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Mankind? That is an abstraction. There have always been and always will be only individuals. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

What is uttered from the heart alone, Will win the hearts of others to your own. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

The greater the knowledge, the greater the doubt. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Which government is the best? The one that teaches us to govern ourselves. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

One cannot develop taste from what is of average quality but only from the very best. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Music is either sacred or secular. The sacred agrees with its dignity, and here has its greatest effect on life, an effect that remains the same through all ages and epochs. Secular music should be cheerful throughout. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Science arose from poetry… when times change the two can meet again on a higher level as friends. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

The man who occupies the first place seldom plays the principal part. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

It is in self-limitation that a master first shows himself. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

The world remains ever the same. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

We are never further from what we wish than when we believe that we have what we wished for. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Who is the wisest man? He who neither knows or wishes for anything else than what happens. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

A person places themselves on a level with the ones they praise. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

The credit of advancing science has always been due to individuals and never to the age. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Every person above the ordinary has a certain mission that they are called to fulfill. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Be above it! Make the world serve your purpose, but do not serve it. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Upon the creatures we have made, we are, ourselves, at last, dependent. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

He who has a task to perform must know how to take sides, or he is quite unworthy of it. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Superstition is the poetry of life. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Objects in pictures should so be arranged as by their very position to tell their own story. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Hatred is something peculiar. You will always find it strongest and most violent where there is the lowest degree of culture. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Hatred is active, and envy passive dislike; there is but one step from envy to hate. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

If you must tell me your opinions, tell me what you believe in. I have plenty of doubts of my own. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Mastery passes often for egotism. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Unlike grown-ups, children have little need to deceive themselves. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

A useless life is an early death. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

To create something, you must be something. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

He is dead in this world who has no belief in another. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

He who enjoys doing and enjoys what he has done is happy. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

The formation of one’s character ought to be everyone’s chief aim. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

The people who are absent are the ideal; those who are present seem to be quite commonplace. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

If you start to think of your physical and moral condition, you usually find that you are sick. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

If a man writes a book, let him set down only what he knows. I have guesses enough of my own. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

We can’t form our children on our own concepts; we must take them and love them as God gives them to us. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

A noble person attracts noble people and knows how to hold on to them. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

First and last, what is demanded of genius is love of truth. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

We don’t get to know people when they come to us; we must go to them to find out what they are like. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

The deed is everything, the glory is naught. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Talk well of the absent whenever you have the opportunity. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

To appreciate the noble is a gain which can never be torn from us. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

I can tell you, honest friend, what to believe: believe life; it teaches better that book or orator. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

All the knowledge I possess everyone else can acquire, but my heart is all my own. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

A clever man commits no minor blunders. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Everybody wants to be somebody; nobody wants to grow. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

The little man is still a man. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Error is acceptable as long as we are young; but one must not drag it along into old age. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

He who possesses art and science has religion; he who does not possess them, needs religion. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Where is the man who has the strength to be true, and to show himself as he is? – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Whoever wishes to keep a secret must hide the fact that he possesses one. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

The best government is that which teaches us to govern ourselves. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Sowing is not as difficult as reaping. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Wisdom is found only in truth. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Nothing is to be rated higher than the value of the day. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Know thyself? If I knew myself, I would run away. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

No one has ever learned fully to know themselves. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

What is my life if I am no longer useful to others? – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

To the person with a firm purpose all men and things are servants. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

To hard necessity ones will and fancy must conform. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Passions are vices or virtues to their highest powers. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

The unnatural, that too is natural. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

He who does not think much of himself is much more esteemed than he imagines. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

I will listen to anyone’s convictions but pray keep your doubts to yourself. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

A creation of importance can only be produced when its author isolates himself, it is a child of solitude. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

The Christian religion though scattered and abroad will in the end gather itself together at the foot of the cross. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

The biggest problem with every art is by the use of appearance to create a loftier reality. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

What life half gives a man; posterity gives entirely. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

The artist alone sees spirits. But after he has told of their appearing to him, everybody sees them. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Age merely shows what children we remain. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

I do not know myself, and God forbid that I should. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

All things are only transitory. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

If you modestly enjoy your fame you are not unworthy to rank with the holy. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

The intelligent man finds almost everything ridiculous, the sensible man hardly anything. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

It is better to be deceived by one’s friends than to deceive them. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

A correct answer is like an affectionate kiss. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Death is a commingling of eternity with time; in the death of a good man, eternity is seen looking through time. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Every author in some way portrays himself in his works, even if it be against his will. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

There is nothing in which people more betray their character than in what they laugh at. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

That I be not as those are who spend the day in complaining of headache and the night in drinking the wine which gives the headache! – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

When ideas fail, words come in very handy. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

We are never deceived; we deceive ourselves. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Happiness is a ball after which we run wherever it rolls, and we push it with our feet when it stops. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

If a man or woman is born ten years sooner or later, their whole aspect and performance shall be different. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Deeply earnest and thoughtful people stand on shaky footing with the public. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

All intelligent thoughts have already been thought; what is necessary is only to try to think them again. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

We always have time enough, if we will but use it aright. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Self-knowledge comes from knowing other men. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Character, in great and little things, means carrying through what you feel able to do. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Whatever you cannot understand, you cannot possess. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

For a man to achieve all that is demanded of him he must regard himself as greater than he is. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

If children grew up according to early indications, we should have nothing but geniuses. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Wood burns because it has the proper stuff in it; and a man becomes famous because he has the proper stuff in him. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

No one would talk much in society if they knew how often they misunderstood others. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Nothing is more fearful than imagination without taste. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Common sense is the genius of humanity. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

The most happy man is he who knows how to bring into relation the end and beginning of his life. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Go to foreign countries and you will get to know the good things one possesses at home. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Thinking is more interesting than knowing, but less interesting than looking. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

It is the strange fate of man, that even in the greatest of evils the fear of the worst continues to haunt him. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

For just when ideas fail, a word comes in to save the situation. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Live dangerously and you live right. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Love can do much, but duty more. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Who is the most sensible person? The one who finds what is to their own advantage in all that happens to them. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

He only earns his freedom and his life Who takes them every day by storm. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

In art the best is good enough. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

An unused life is an early death. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

There is nothing worse than aggressive stupidity. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Hell begins the day that God grants you the vision to see all that you could have done, should have done, and would have done, but did not do. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

The world is so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers and cities; but to know someone who thinks and feels with us, and who, though distant, is close to us in spirit, this makes the earth for us an inhabited garden. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Nothing is worth more than this day. You cannot relive yesterday. Tomorrow is still beyond your reach. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

That is the way of youth and life in general: that we do not understand the strategy until after the campaign is over. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Habit is the most imperious of all masters. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Don’t judge anyone harshly until you yourself have been through his experiences – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

To be loved for what one is, that is the greatest exception. The great majority love in others only what they lend him; their own selves, their version of him. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Talent develops in quiet, alone; character is sharpened in the torrent of the world. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

A great revolution is never the fault of the people, but of the government. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Rest not. Life is sweeping by; go and dare before you die. Something mighty and sublime, leave behind to conquer time. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

He is the happiest man who can see the connection between the end and the beginning of life. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

The important thing in life is to have a great aim, and the determination to attain it. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

If you want someone to develop a specific trait, treat them as though they already had it. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

A great artist… must be shaken by the naked truths that will not be comforted. This divine discontent, this disequilibrium, this state of inner tension is the source of artistic energy. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Everything is hard before it is easy. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Prudent and active men, who know their strength and use it with limit and circumspection, alone go far in the affairs of the world. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Too many parents make life hard for their children by trying, too zealously, to make it easy for them. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Very few people love others for what they are; rather, they love what they lend them, their own selves, their own idea of them. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Belief is not the beginning of knowledge – it is the end. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

He who is and remains true to himself and to others has the most attractive quality of the greatest talent. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

It is not enough to take steps which may someday lead to a goal; each step must be itself a goal and a step likewise. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Few people have the imagination for reality. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

It is not doing the thing we like to do, but liking the thing we have to do, that makes life blessed. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Life is too short to drink bad wine. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

To have more, you must first be more. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

In nature we never see anything isolated, but everything in connection with something else which is before it, beside it, under it and over it. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

What one has wished for in youth, in old age one has in abundance. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

The flowers are full of honey, but only the bee finds out the sweetness. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

For a brave man deserves a well-endowed girl. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

The one who always strives, That one can be redeemed. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Correction does much, but encouragement does more. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Originality provokes originality. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Beauty is everywhere a welcome guest. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Man’s restlessness makes him strive. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

A man doesn’t learn to understand anything unless he loves it. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Whatever Nature undertakes, she can only accomplish it in a sequence. She never makes a leap. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

The mediator of the inexpressible is the work of art. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

People should talk less and draw more. Personally, I would like to renounce speech altogether and, like organic nature, communicate everything I have to say visually. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

The person born with a talent they are meant to use will find their greatest happiness in using it. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Our friends show us what we can do; our enemies teach us what we must do. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Girls we love for what they are; young men for what they promise to be. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

The main thing is to have a soul that loves the truth and harbors it where he finds it. And another thing: truth requires constant repetition, because error is being preached about us all the time, and not only by isolated individuals but by the masses. In the newspapers and encyclopedias, in schools and universities, everywhere error rides high and basks in the consciousness of having the majority on its side. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

If we examine every stage of our lives, we find that from our first breath to our last we are under the constraint of circumstances. And yet we still possess the greatest of all freedoms, the power of developing our innermost selves in harmony with the moral order of the universe, and so winning peace of heart whatever obstacles we meet. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Music is liquid architecture; Architecture is frozen music. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Misunderstandings and neglect occasion more mischief in the world than malice and wickedness. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

All truly wise thoughts have been thought already thousands of times; but to make them truly ours, we must think them over again honestly, until they take root in our personal experience. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Mountains cannot be surmounted except by winding paths. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

A person hears only what they understand. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Kindness is the golden thread that holds society together. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

It is sometimes essential for a husband and a wife to quarrel – they get to know each other better. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

To live in a great idea means to treat the impossible as though it were possible. It is just the same with a strong character; and when an idea and a character meet, things arise which fill the world with wonder for thousands of years. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

By seeking and blundering we learn. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

What is not started today is never finished tomorrow. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

The way you see people is the way you treat them, and the way you treat them is what they become. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Sin writes histories, goodness is silent. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Nothing tells more about the character of a man than the things he makes fun of. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Behavior is a mirror in which everyone shows his image. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

You can’t, if you can’t feel it, if it never Rises from the soul, and sways the heart of every single hearer, With deepest power, in simple ways. You’ll sit forever, gluing things together, cooking up a stew from other’s scraps, blowing on a miserable fire, made from your heap of dying ash. Let apes and children praise your art, if their admirations to your taste, but you’ll never speak from heart to heart, unless it rises up from your heart’s space. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

People who think honestly and deeply have a hostile attitude towards the public. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Willing is not enough, we must do. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. Whatever you think you can do, or believe you can do, begin it. Action has magic, power and grace. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather…. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or is dehumanized. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Courage is the commitment to begin without any guarantee of success. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Every day we should hear at least one little song, read one good poem, see one exquisite picture, and, if possible, speak a few sensible words. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

A man sees in the world what he carries in his heart. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

If I accept you as you are, I will make you worse; however, if I treat you as though you are what you are capable of becoming, I help you become that. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

We do not have to visit a madhouse to find disordered minds; our planet is the mental institution of the universe. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

If nature is your teacher, your soul will awaken. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Why look for conspiracy when stupidity can explain so much – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Nothing is more disgusting than the majority: because it consists of a few powerful predecessors, of rogues who adapt themselves, of weak who assimilate themselves, and the masses who imitate without knowing at all what they want. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Ignorant men raise questions that wise men answered a thousand years ago. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Nine requisites for contented living: Health enough to make work a pleasure. Wealth enough to support your needs. Strength to battle with difficulties and overcome them. Grace enough to confess your sins and forsake them. Patience enough to toil until some good is accomplished. Charity enough to see some good in your neighbor. Love enough to move you to be useful and helpful to others. Faith enough to make real the things of God. Hope enough to remove all anxious fears concerning the future. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

To the world you might be one person, but to one person, you might be the world. Kindness is the golden chain by which our world is bound together. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

At the moment of commitment, the entire universe conspires to assist you. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

What is important in life is life, and not the result of life. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Words are good, but there is something better. The best cannot be explained by words. The spirit in which we act is the chief matter. Action can only be only understood and represented by the spirit. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

A man who cannot command himself will always be a slave. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

One is never deceived; one deceives oneself. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

I love those who yearn for the impossible. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Only law can give us freedom. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

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