144+ Best Samuel Beckett Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Samuel Barclay Beckett was an Irish novelist, playwright, short story writer, theatre director, poet, and literary translator. Profoundly inspirational Samuel Beckett quotes will challenge the way you think, change the way you live and transform your whole life.

If you’re searching for inspiring quotes from great authors that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of quotes from Stephen King, powerful Victor Hugo quotes and famous Tennessee Williams quotes.

Famous Samuel Beckett Quotes

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.’ You won’t believe what you can accomplish by attempting the impossible with the courage to repeatedly fail better. – Samuel Beckett

Dear incomprehension, it’s thanks to you I’ll be myself, in the end. – Samuel Beckett

God is a witness that cannot be sworn. – Samuel Beckett

I love order. It’s my dream. A world where all would be silent and still, and each thing in its last place, under the last dust. – Samuel Beckett

Personally of course I regret everything. Not a word, not a deed, not a thought, not a need, not a grief, not a joy, not a girl, not a boy, not a doubt, not a trust, not a scorn, not a lust, not a hope, not a fear, not a smile, not a tear, not a name, not a face, no time, no place…that I do not regret, exceedingly. An ordure, from beginning to end. – Samuel Beckett

Estragon: Nothing to be done. – Samuel Beckett

You would do better, at least no worse, to obliterate texts than to blacken margins, to fill in the holes of words till all is blank and flat and the whole ghastly business looks like what it is, senseless, speechless, issueless misery. – Samuel Beckett

Poets are the sense, philosophers the intelligence of humanity. – Samuel Beckett

For to know nothing is nothing, not to want to know anything likewise, but to be beyond knowing anything, to know you are beyond knowing anything, that is when peace enters in, to the soul of the incurious seeker. – Samuel Beckett

There is at least this to be said for mind, that it can dispel mind. – Samuel Beckett

Make sense who may. I switch off. – Samuel Beckett

I had seen faces in photographs I might have found beautiful had I known even vaguely in what beauty was supposed to consist. And my father’s face, on his death-bolster, had seemed to hint at some form of aesthetics relevant to man. But the faces of the living, all grimace and flush, can they be described as objects? – Samuel Beckett

Hold the old holding hand. Hold and be held. Plod on and never recede. Slowly with never a pause plod on and never recede. – Samuel Beckett

Personally I have no bone to pick with graveyards, I take the air there willingly, perhaps more willingly than elsewhere, when take the air I must. – Samuel Beckett

Watt had watched people smile and thought he understood how it was done. – Samuel Beckett

It is right that he too should have his little chronicle, his memories, his reason, and be able to recognize the good in the bad, the bad in the worst, and so grow gently old down all the unchanging days, and die one day like any other day, only shorter. – Samuel Beckett

To every man his little cross. Till he dies. And is forgotten. – Samuel Beckett

I have nothing but wastes and wilds of self-translation before me for many miserable months to come. – Samuel Beckett

What I assert, deny, question, in the present, I still can. But mostly I shall use the various tenses of the past. For mostly I do not know, it is perhaps no longer so, it is too soon to know, I simply do not know, perhaps shall never know. – Samuel Beckett

What is this love that more than all the cursed deadly or any other of its great movers so moves the soul and soul what is this soul that more than by any of its great movers is by love so moved? – Samuel Beckett

So all things limp together for the only possible. – Samuel Beckett

My mistakes are my life. – Samuel Beckett

Then I went back into the house and wrote, It is midnight. The rain is beating on the windows. It was not midnight. It was not raining. – Samuel Beckett

I gave up before birth. – Samuel Beckett

But he had hardly felt the absurdity of those things, on the one hand, and the necessity of those others, on the other, (for it is rare that the feeling of absurdity is not followed by the feeling of necessity), when he felt the absurdity of those things of which he had just felt the necessity (for it is rare that the feeling of necessity is not followed by the feeling of absurdity.) – Samuel Beckett

Nothing is more real than nothing. – Samuel Beckett

I, of whom I know nothing, I know my eyes are open, because of the tears that pour from them unceasingly. – Samuel Beckett

Our vulgar perception is not concerned with other than vulgar phenomena. – Samuel Beckett

The essential doesn’t change. – Samuel Beckett

It’s so nice to know where you’re going, in the early stages. It almost rids you of the wish to go there. – Samuel Beckett

Dance first. Think later. It’s the natural order. – Samuel Beckett

Yes, I dont know why, but I have never been disappointed, and I often was in the early days, without feeling at the same time, or a moment later, an undeniable relief. – Samuel Beckett

The confusion is not my invention. We cannot listen to a conversation for five minutes without being aware of the confusion. It is all around us and our only chance now is to let it in. The only chance of renovation is to open our eyes and see the mess. It is not a mess you can make sense of. – Samuel Beckett

Nothing matters but the writing. There has been nothing else worthwhile… a stain upon the silence. – Samuel Beckett

If there is one question I dread, to which I have never been able to invent a satisfactory reply, it is the question what am I doing. – Samuel Beckett

Nothing is funnier than unhappiness, I grant you that. Yes, yes, it’s the most comical thing in the world. – Samuel Beckett

Do you always believe in the life to come? Mine was always that. – Samuel Beckett

I knew it would soon be the end, so I played the part, you know, the part of – how shall I say, I don’t know. – Samuel Beckett

How do you manage it, she said, at your age? I told her I’d been saving up for her all my life. – Samuel Beckett

The search for the means to put an end to things, an end to speech, is what enables the discourse to continue. – Samuel Beckett

Unfathomable mind, now beacon, now sea. – Samuel Beckett

All I want to do is sit on my ass and fart and think of Dante. – Samuel Beckett

Go on failing. Go on. Only next time, try to fail better. – Samuel Beckett

Not to want to say, not to know what you want to say, not to be able to say what you think you want to say, and never to stop saying, or hardly ever, that is the thing to keep in mind, even in the heat of composition. – Samuel Beckett

Love, that is all I asked, a little love, daily, twice daily, fifty years of twice daily love like a Paris horse-butcher’s regular, what normal woman wants affection? – Samuel Beckett

The old endless chain of love, tolerance, indifference, aversion and disgust – Samuel Beckett

Yes, in my life, since we must call it so, there were three things, the inability to speak, the inability to be silent, and solitude, that’s what I’ve had to make the best of. – Samuel Beckett

Perhaps that’s what I feel, an outside and an inside and me in the middle, perhaps that’s what I am, the thing that divides the world in two, on the one side the outside, on the other the inside, that can be as thin as foil, I’m neither one side nor the other, I’m in the middle, I’m the partition, I’ve two surfaces and no thickness, perhaps that’s what I feel, myself vibrating, I’m the tympanum, on the one hand the mind, on the other the world, I don’t belong to either. – Samuel Beckett

Against the charitable gesture there is no defence. – Samuel Beckett

It’s a lot to ask of one creature, it’s a lot to ask, that he should first behave as if he were not, then as if he were, before being admitted to that peace where he neither is, nor is not, and where the language dies that permits of such expressions. – Samuel Beckett

Friendship, according to Proust, is the negation of that irremediable solitude to which every human being is condemned. – Samuel Beckett

Birth was the death of him. – Samuel Beckett

Hardly had the glow been kindled by some good deed on your part or by some little triumph over your rivals or by a word of praisefrom your parents or mentors when it would begin to cool and fade leaving you in a very short time as chill and dim as before. – Samuel Beckett

How can one better magnify the Almighty than by sniggering with him at his little jokes, particularly the poorer ones? – Samuel Beckett

Be again, be again. (Pause.) All that old misery. (Pause.) Once wasn’t enough for you. – Samuel Beckett

it’s impossible I should have a mind and I have one – Samuel Beckett

Every word is like an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness. – Samuel Beckett

Habit is the ballast that chains the dog to his vomit. – Samuel Beckett

If you do not love me I shall not be loved If I do not love you I shall not love. – Samuel Beckett

Art has nothing to do with clarity, does not dabble in the clear and does not make clear – Samuel Beckett

Nothing happens. Nobody comes, nobody goes. It’s awful. – Samuel Beckett

POZZO: I am blind. (Silence.) ESTRAGON: Perhaps he can see into the future. – Samuel Beckett

My work is a matter of fundamental sounds (no joke intended) made as fully as possible, and I accept responsibility for nothing else. If people want to have headaches among the overtones, let them. And provide their own aspirin. – Samuel Beckett

It was the only way to progress, to stop. – Samuel Beckett

There’s man all over for you, blaming on his boots the fault of his feet. – Samuel Beckett

She felt, as she felt so often with Murphy, spattered with words that went dead as soon as they sounded; each word obliterated, before it had time to make sense, by the word that came next; so that in the end she did not know what had been said. It was like difficult music heard for the first time. – Samuel Beckett

To what will love not stoop! – Samuel Beckett

The day you die is just like any other, only shorter. – Samuel Beckett

Words are all we have. – Samuel Beckett

The creation of the world did not take place once and for all time, but takes place every day. – Samuel Beckett

And what I have, what I am, is enough, was always enough for me, and as far as my dear little sweet little future is concerned I have no qualms, I have a good time coming. – Samuel Beckett

Words fail, there are times when even they fail. – Samuel Beckett

Fail, fail again, fail better. – Samuel Beckett

Better hope deferred than none. – Samuel Beckett

The new light above my table is a great improvement. With all this darkness around me I feel less alone. (Pause.) In a way. (Pause.) I love to get up and move about in it, then back here to… (hesitates) …me. (Pause.) – Samuel Beckett

Words are the clothes thoughts wear. – Samuel Beckett

The human eyelid is not teartight (happily for the human eye). – Samuel Beckett

For the only way one can speak of nothing is to speak of it as though it were something, just as the only way one can speak of God is to speak of him as though he were a man, which to be sure he was, in a sense, for a time, and as the only way one can speak of man, even our anthropologists have realized that, is to speak of him as though he were a termite. – Samuel Beckett

To-morrow, when I wake, or think I do, what shall I say of to-day? – Samuel Beckett

But I was not made for the great light that devours, a dim lamp was all I had been given, and patience without end, to shine it on the empty shadows. – Samuel Beckett

The short winter’s day was drawing to a close. It seems to me sometimes that these are the only days I have ever known, and especially that most charming moment of all, just before nightwipes them out. – Samuel Beckett

Estragon: I’m like that. Either I forget right away or I never forget. – Samuel Beckett

I have always been amazed at my contemporaries’ lack of finesse, I whose soul writhed from morning to night, in the mere quest of itself. – Samuel Beckett

But I know what darkness is, it accumulates, thickens, then suddenly bursts and drowns everything. – Samuel Beckett

Where you have nothing, there you should want nothing. – Samuel Beckett

You’re on earth. There’s no cure for that. – Samuel Beckett

God is love. Yes or no? No. – Samuel Beckett

Enough. Sudden enough. Sudden all far. No move and sudden all far. All least. Three pins. One pinhole. In dimmost dim. Vasts apart. At bounds of boundless void. Whence no farther. Best worse no farther. Nohow less. Nohow worse. Nohow naught. Nohow on. – Samuel Beckett

The fact would seem to be, if in my situation one may speak of facts, not only that I shall have to speak of things of which I cannot speak, but also, which is even more interesting, but also that I, which is if possible even more interesting, that I shall have to, I forget, no matter. And at the same time I am obliged to speak. I shall never be silent. Never. – Samuel Beckett

We wait. We are bored. (He throws up his hand.) No, don’t protest, we are bored to death, there’s no denying it. Good. A diversion comes along and what do we do? We let it go to waste. Come, let’s get to work! (He advances towards the heap, stops in his stride.) In an instant all will vanish and we’ll be alone more, in the midst of nothingness! – Samuel Beckett

Yes, light, there is no other word for it. – Samuel Beckett

Dublin university contains the cream of Ireland: Rich and thick. – Samuel Beckett

We are all born crazy. Some remain that way. – Samuel Beckett

I hope I am not too old to take it up seriously, nor too stupid about machines to qualify as a commercial pilot. I do not feel like spending the rest of my life writing books that no one will read. It is not as though I wanted to write them. – Samuel Beckett

Let’s go. We can’t. Why not? We’re waiting for Godot. – Samuel Beckett

I don’t know why I told this story. I could just as well have told another. Perhaps some other time I’ll be able to tell another. Living souls, you will see how alike they are. – Samuel Beckett

I marshalled the words and opened my mouth, thinking I would hear them. But all I heard was a kind of rattle, unintelligible even to me who knew what was intended. – Samuel Beckett

There are two moments worthwhile in writing, the one when you start and the other when you throw it in the waste-paper basket. – Samuel Beckett

We could have saved sixpence. We could have saved fivepence. But at what cost? – Samuel Beckett

Habit is a great deadener. – Samuel Beckett

Enough to know no knowing. – Samuel Beckett

Normally I didn’t see a great deal. I didn’t hear a great deal either. I didn’t pay attention. Strictly speaking I wasn’t there. Strictly speaking I believe I’ve never been anywhere. – Samuel Beckett

I use the words you taught me. If they don’t mean anything any more, teach me others. Or let me be silent. – Samuel Beckett

My keepers, why keepers, I’m in no danger of stirring an inch, ah I see, it’s to make me think I’m a prisoner, frantic with corporeality, rearing to get out and away. – Samuel Beckett

Never but the one matter. The dead and gone. The dying and going. From the word go. – Samuel Beckett

You cried for night – it falls. Now cry in darkness. – Samuel Beckett

With all this darkness round me I feel less alone. – Samuel Beckett

Estragon: Suppose we repented. Vladimir: Repented what? Estragon: Oh…(He reflects.) We wouldn’t have to go into the details. Vladimir: Our being born? – Samuel Beckett

I am still alive then. That may come in useful. – Samuel Beckett

The end is in the beginning and yet you go on. – Samuel Beckett

There is no use indicting words, they are no shoddier than what they peddle. – Samuel Beckett

To find a form that accommodates the shape of the mess, that is the task of the artist now. – Samuel Beckett

Already all confusion. Things and imaginings. As of always. Confusion amounting to nothing. Despite precautions. If only she could be pure figment. Unalloyed. This old so dying woman. So dead. In the madhouse of the skull and nowhere else. Where no more precautions to be taken. No precautions possible. Cooped up there with the rest. Hovel and stones. The lot. And the eye. How simple all then. If only all could be pure figment. Neither be nor been nor by any shift to be. Gently gently. On. Careful. – Samuel Beckett

What do we do now, now that we are happy? – Samuel Beckett

No painting is more replete than Mondrian’s. – Samuel Beckett

What are we doing here, that is the question. – Samuel Beckett

All poetry, as discriminated from the various paradigms of prosody, is prayer. – Samuel Beckett

Don’t wait to be hunted to hide, that was always my motto. – Samuel Beckett

I always thought old age would be a writer’s best chance. Whenever I read the late work of Goethe or W. B. Yeats I had the impertinence to identify with it. Now, my memory’s gone, all the old fluency’s disappeared. I don’t write a single sentence without saying to myself, ‘It’s a lie!’ So I know I was right. It’s the best chance I’ve ever had. – Samuel Beckett

Perhaps my best years are gone. When there was a chance of happiness. But I wouldn’t want them back. Not with the fire in me now. No, I wouldn’t want them back. – Samuel Beckett

I tried to groan, Help! Help! But the tone that came out was that of polite conversation. – Samuel Beckett

I lay down across her with my face in her breasts and my hand on her. We lay there without moving. But under us all moved, and moved us, gently, up and down, and from side to side. – Samuel Beckett

That passed the time. It would have passed in any case. Yes, but not so rapidly. – Samuel Beckett

What do I know of man’s destiny? I could tell you more about radishes. – Samuel Beckett

Success and failure on the public level never mattered much to me, in fact I feel more at home with the latter, having breathed deep of its vivifying air all my writing life up to the last couple of years. – Samuel Beckett

The time-state of attainment eliminates so accurately the time-state of aspiration, that the actual seems the inevitable, and, all conscious intellectual effort to reconstitute the invisible and unthinkable as a reality being fruitless, we are incapable of appreciating our joy by comparing it with our sorrow. – Samuel Beckett

Don’t look for meaning in the words. Listen to the silences. – Samuel Beckett

The only thing you must never speak of is your happiness. – Samuel Beckett

There’s no lack of void. – Samuel Beckett

Absolute virtue is as sure to kill a man as absolute vice is, let alone the dullness of it and the pomposities of it. – Samuel Beckett

Yesterday is not a milestone that has been passed, but a daystone on the beaten track of the years, and irremediably part of us, within us, heavy and dangerous. We are not merely more weary because of yesterday, we are other, no longer what we were before the calamity of yesterday. – Samuel Beckett

I pause to record that I feel in extraordinary form. Delirium perhaps. – Samuel Beckett

It was long since I had longed for anything and the effect on me was horrible. – Samuel Beckett

Any fool can turn a blind eye but who knows what the ostrich sees in the sand. – Samuel Beckett

Deplorable mania, when something happens, to inquire what. – Samuel Beckett

To restore silence is the role of objects. – Samuel Beckett

The memory came faint and cold of the story I might have told, a story in the likeness of my life, I mean without the courage to end or the strength to go on. – Samuel Beckett

He who has waited long enough, will wait forever. And there comes the hour when nothing more can happen and nobody more can come and all is ended but the waiting that knows itself in vain. – Samuel Beckett

The tears of the world are a constant quantity. For each one who begins to weep somewhere else another stops. The same is true of the laugh. Let us not then speak ill of our generation, it is not any unhappier than its predecessors. Let us not speak well of it either. Let us not speak of it at all. It is true the population has increased. – Samuel Beckett

Until the day when, your endurance gone, in this world for you without arms, you catch up in yours the first mangy cur you meet, carry it for the time needed for it to love it and you it, then throw it away. – Samuel Beckett

Sometimes I wonder if I’m in my right mind. Then it passes off and I’m as intelligent as ever. – Samuel Beckett

The end of a life is always vivifying. – Samuel Beckett

They never lynch children, babies, no matter what they do they are whitewashed in advance. – Samuel Beckett

Watt’s concern, deep as it appeared, was not after all what the figure was, in reality, but with what the figure appeared to be, in reality. – Samuel Beckett