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Quotes of the day: Eugene O'Neill

Published Wednesday, October 16, 2013 @ 12:02 AM EDT
Oct 16 2013

(Today is also the birthday of Oscar Wilde.)

Eugene Gladstone O'Neill (October 16, 1888 - November 27, 1953) was an Irish American playwright and Nobel laureate in Literature. His poetically titled plays were among the first to introduce into American drama techniques of realism earlier associated ith Russian playwright Anton Chekhov, Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, and Swedish playwright August Strindberg. His plays were among the first to include speeches in American vernacular and involve characters on the fringes of society, where they struggle to maintain their hopes and aspirations, but ultimately slide into disillusionment nd despair. O'Neill wrote only one well-known comedy (Ah, Wilderness!). Nearly all of his other plays involve some degree of tragedy and personal pessimism. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A man's work is in danger of deteriorating when he thinks he has found the one best formula for doing it. If he thinks that, he is likely to feel that all he needs is merely to go on repeating himself... so long as a person is searching for better ways of doing his work, he is fairly safe.

Censorship of anything, at any time, in any place, on whatever pretense, has always been and always will be the last resort of the boob and the bigot.

Critics? I love every bone in their heads.

Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back.

Don't cry. The damned don't cry.

Happiness hates the timid! So does science!

I used to think getting old was about vanity- but actually it's about losing people you love. Getting wrinkles is trivial.

I really love fog. It hides you from the world and the world from you. You feel that everything has changed, and nothing is what it seemed to be. No one can find or touch you any more. Its the foghorn I hate. It won't let you alone. It keeps reminding you, and warning you, and calling you back.

It's a great game- the pursuit of happiness.

Life is for each man a solitary cell whose walls are mirrors.

Life is perhaps most wisely regarded as a bad dream between two awakenings, and every day is a life in miniature.

Man is born broken. He lives by mending. The grace of God is glue.

Man's loneliness is but his fear of life.

None of us can help the things life has done to us. They're done before you realize it, and once they're done they make you do other things until at last everything comes between you and what you'd like to be, and you've lost your true self forever.

Obsessed by a fairy tale, we spend our lives searching for a magic door and a lost kingdom of peace.

One may not give one's soul to a devil of hate- and remain forever scatheless.

One should be either sad or joyful. Commitment is a warm sty for eaters and sleepers.

The child was diseased at birth, stricken with a hereditary ill that only the most vital men are able to shake off. I mean poverty- the most deadly and prevalent of all diseases.

The old- like children- talk to themselves, for they have reached that hopeless wisdom of experience which knows that though one were to cry it in the streets to multitudes, or whisper it in the kiss to one's beloved, the only ears that can ever hear one's secret are one's own.

There is no present or future, only the past, happening over and over again, now.

To hell with the truth! As the history of the world proves, the truth has no bearing on anything. It's irrelevant and immaterial, as the lawyers say. The lie of a pipe dream is what gives life to the whole misbegotten mad lot of us, drunk or sober.

We talk about the American Dream, and want to tell the world about the American Dream, but what is that Dream, in most cases, but the dream of material things? I sometimes think that the United States for this reason is the greatest failure the world has ever seen.

When men make Gods, there is no God.

With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you will. But be drunken.

Categories: Eugene O'Neill, Quotes of the day


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