25 Samuel Beckett Quotes That Sum Up the Hilarious Tragedy of Human Existence

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We’d like to wish avant-garde icon Samuel Beckett a happy birthday, but something tells us he’d take issue with that. Beckett’s words are tender blows to the heart — superbly morose, always acerbic, and unrelentingly pessimistic. The novelist and playwright had a lot to say about the absurdities of modern life and the tragicomic nature of human existence. Taking quotes from his prolific oeuvre and other sources, celebrate Beckett’s birthday by revisiting his thoughts on the boredom and suffering of being.

“The only sin is the sin of being born.”

“You’re on Earth. There’s no cure for that.”

“The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new.”

“I grow gnomic. It is the last phase.”

“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.”

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

“Birth was the death of him.”

“We are all born mad. Some remain so.”

“No, I regret nothing, all I regret is having been born, dying is such a long tiresome business I always found.”

“Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

“Every word is like an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness.”

“My mistakes are my life.”

“The earth makes a sound as of sighs and the last drops fall from the emptied cloudless sky. A small boy, stretching out his hands and looking up at the blue sky, asked his mother how such a thing was possible. Fuck off, she said.”

“Nothing is funnier than unhappiness.”

“I have my faults, but changing my tune is not one of them.”

“Nothing happens, nobody comes, nobody goes, it’s awful.”

“Probably nothing in the world arouses more false hopes than the first four hours of a diet.”

“Let me go to hell, that’s all I ask, and go on cursing them there, and them look down and hear me, that might take some of the shine off their bliss.”

“To be an artist is to fail, as no other dare fail, that failure is his world and the shrink from desertion, art and craft, good housekeeping, living.”

“Christ, what a planet!”

“Gain time to lose.”

“Two in distress… make sorrow less.”

“Unmoreable unlessable unworsable evermost almost void.”

“God is a witness that cannot be sworn.”

“It sometimes happens and will sometimes happen again that I forget who I am and strut before my eyes, like a stranger.”