Anton Chekhov
Quotations


A fiancé is neither this nor that: he’s left one shore, but not yet reached the other.

All of life and human relations have become so incomprehensibly complex that, when you think about it, it becomes terrifying and your heart stands still.

Although you may tell lies, people will believe you, if only you speak with authority.

An enormously vast field lies between “God exists” and “there is no God.” The truly wise man traverses it with great difficulty. A Russian knows one or the other of these two extremes, but is not interested in the middle ground. He usually knows nothing, or very little.

But if we're to start living in the present isn't it abundantly clear that we've first got to redeem our past and make a clean break with it? And we can only redeem it by suffering and getting down to some real work for a change.

By poeticizing love, we imagine in those we love virtues that they often do not possess; this then becomes the source of constant mistakes and constant distress.

Dear, sweet, unforgettable childhood! Why does this irrevocable time, forever departed, seem brighter, more festive and richer than it actually was?

Despicable means used to achieve laudable goals render the goals themselves despicable.

Doctors are just the same as lawyers; the only difference is that lawyers merely rob you, whereas doctors rob you and kill you, too.

Each of us is full of too many wheels, screws and valves to permit us to judge one another on a first impression or by two or three external signs.

Everyone has the same God; only people differ.

He who constantly swims in the ocean loves dry land.

How intolerable people are sometimes who are happy and successful in everything.

I have in my head a whole army of people pleading to be let out and awaiting my commands.

If I had listened to the critics I'd have died drunk in the gutter.

If you are afraid of loneliness, do not marry.

If you can’t distinguish people from lap-dogs, you shouldn’t undertake philanthropic work.

It is easier to ask of the poor than of the rich.

It is not only the prisoners who grow coarse and hardened from corporeal punishment, but those as well who perpetrate the act or are present to witness it.

Life is a vexatious trap; when a thinking man reaches maturity and attains to full consciousness he cannot help feeling that he is in a trap from which there is no escape.

Life is difficult for those who have the daring to first set out on an unknown road. The avant-garde always has a bad time of it.

Love, friendship, respect, do not unite people as much as a common hatred for something.

No matter how corrupt and unjust a convict may be, he loves fairness more than anything else. If the people placed over him are unfair, from year to year he lapses into an embittered state characterized by an extreme lack of faith.

One must speak about serious things seriously.

Only during hard times do people come to understand how difficult it is to be master of their feelings and thoughts.

Ordinary hypocrites pretend to be doves; political and literary hypocrites pretend to be eagles. But don't be disconcerted by their aquiline appearance. They are not eagles, but rats or dogs.

People who don't even notice whether it's summer or winter are lucky!

People who live alone always have something on their minds that they would willingly share.

Perhaps the feelings that we experience when we are in love represent a normal state. Being in love shows a person who he should be.

Silence accompanies the most significant expressions of happiness and unhappiness: those in love understand one another best when silent, while the most heated and impassioned speech at a graveside touches only outsiders, but seems cold and inconsequential to the widow and children of the deceased.

There is nothing more awful, insulting, and depressing than banality.

There is something beautiful, touching and poetic when one person loves more than the other, and the other is indifferent.

They were like two migrating birds, male and female, who had been caught and forced to live in separate cages.

To regard one’s immortality as an exchange of matter is as strange as predicting the future of a violin case once the expensive violin it held has broken and lost its worth.

We learn about life not from pluses alone, but from minuses as well.

We'll be forgotten. Such is our fate and we can't do anything about it.

When a lot of remedies are suggested for a disease, that means it can't be cured.

When all is said and done, no literature can outdo the cynicism of real life; you won't intoxicate with one glass someone who has already drunk up a whole barrel.

When an actor has money he doesn't send letters, he sends telegrams.

Women can't forgive failure.


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