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Peter Shaffer quotes Showing 1-30 of 40

“The trouble is if you don’t spend your life yourself, other people spend it for you.”
Peter Shaffer, Five Finger Exercise
“If London is a watercolor, New York is an oil painting.”
Peter Shaffer
“Passion, you see, can be destroyed by a doctor. It cannot be created.”
Peter Shaffer, Equus
“He'll be delivered from madness. What then? He'll feel himself acceptable! What then? Do you think feelings like his can be simply re-attached, like plasters? Stuck on to other objects we select? Look at him! ... My desire might be to make this boy an ardent husband - a caring citizen - a worshipper of abstract and unifying God. My achievement, however, is more likely to make a ghost!”
Peter Shaffer, Equus
“The Normal is the good smile in a child's eyes:-alright. It is also the dead stare in a million adults. It both sustains and kills-like a god. It is the Ordinary made beautiful: it is also the Average made lethal. The Normal is the indispensable, murderous God of Health, and I am his priest. My tools are very delicate. My compassion is honest. I have honestly assisted children in this room. I have talked away terrors and relieved many agonies. But also-beyond question-I have cut from the parts of individuality repugnant to this god, in both his aspects. Parts sacred to rarer and more wonderful gods. And at what length...Sacrifices to Zeus took at the most, surely, sixty seconds each. Sacrifices to the Normal can take as long as sixty months.”
Peter Shaffer, Equus
“What the eye does not see, the heart does not grieve over, does it?”
Peter Shaffer, Equus
“Look... to go through life and call it yours - your life - you first have to get your own pain. Pain that's unique to you. You can't just dip into the common bin and say 'That's enough!'...”
Peter Shaffer, Equus
“Can you think of anything worse one can do to anybody than take away their worship?”
Peter Shaffer, Equus
“You have your words, and I have mine.”
Peter Shaffer, Equus
“Worship isn't destructive, Martin. I know that.
I don't. I only know it's the core of his life. What else has he got? He can hardly read. He knows no physics or engineering to make to world real for him. No paintings to show him how others have enjoyed it. No music except television jingles. No history except tales from a desperate mother. No friends. Not one kid to give him a joke, or make him know himself more moderately. He's a modern citizen for whom society doesn't exist.”
Peter Shaffer, Equus
“All reined up in old language and old assumptions, straining to jump clean-hoofed on to a whole new track of being I only suspect is there. I can't see it, because my educated, average head is being held at the wrong angle. I can't jump because the bit forbids it, and my own basic force - my horsepower, if you like - is too little.”
Peter Shaffer, Equus
“I looked on astounded as from his ordinary life he made his art. We were both ordinary men, he and I. Yet from the ordinary he created Legends--and I from Legends created only the ordinary!”
Peter Shaffer, Amadeus
“There is now, in my mouth, this sharp chain. And it never comes out.”
Peter Shaffer, Equus
“In an ultimate sense I cannot know what I do in this place - yet I do ultimate things. Essentially I cannot know what I do - yet I do essential things. Irreversible, terminal things. I stand in the dark with a pick in my hand, striking at heads! I need - more desperately than my children need me - a way of seeing in the dark.”
Peter Shaffer, Equus
“Goodness is nothing in the furnace of art.”
Peter Shaffer, Amadeus
“What use, after all, is man, if not to teach God His lessons?”
Peter Shaffer, Amadeus
“I cannot accept merely...I do not do anything merely.”
Peter Shaffer
“Look, life is only comprehensible through a thousand local gods... spirits of certain trees, of certain curves of brick walls, of certain fish and chip shops if you like. And slate roofs, and frowns in people, and slouches... I'd say to them, "Worship all you can see, and more will appear...”
Peter Shaffer, Equus
“Do you know what it's like for two people to live in the same house as if they were in different parts of the world?”
Peter Shaffer, Equus
“What did I expect of him? Very little, I promise you. One more dented little face. One more adolescent freak. The usual unusual. One great thing about being in the adjustment business: you're never short of customers.”
Peter Shaffer, Equus
“God was singing through this little man to all the world.”
Peter Shaffer, Amadeus
“The Normal is the good smile in a child’s eyes - all right. It is also the dead stare in a million adults.”
Peter Shaffer, Equus
“Tell me, before you call us servants, who served whom? And who, I wonder, in your generations, will immortalize you?”
Peter Shaffer, Amadeus
“When Equus leaves - if he leaves at all - it will be with your intestines in his teeth.”
Peter Shaffer
“The Devil isn’t made by what Mommy says, or what Daddy says. The Devil is there.”
Peter Shaffer, Equus
“A child is born into a world of phenomena all equal in their power to enslave.”
Peter Shaffer, Equus
“Oh, you monster!No one exists but you, do they? You and your music!”
Peter Shaffer, Amadeus
“Emperor Joseph II: My dear young man, don't take it too hard. Your work is ingenious. It's quality work. And there are simply too many notes, that's all. Just cut a few and it will be perfect.

Mozart: Which few did you have in mind, Majesty?”
Peter Shaffer, Amadeus
“I'll give him the good Normal world where we're tethered beside them - blinking our nights away in a non-stop drench of cathode-ray over our shrivelling heads!”
Peter Shaffer, Equus
“Look...to go through life and call it yours - your life - you first have to get your own pain. Pain that's unique to you. You can't just dip into the common bin and say "That's enough!"... He's done that. All right, he's sick. He's full of misery and fear. He was dangerous, and could be again, though I doubt it. But that boy has know a passion more ferocious that I have felt in any second of my life. And let me tell you something: I envy it. Don't you see? That's the accusation! That's what his stare has been saying to me all this time. "At least I galloped! When did you?”
Peter Shaffer, Equus

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