The Ides of March Quotes

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The Ides of March The Ides of March by Thornton Wilder
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The Ides of March Quotes (showing 1-30 of 33)
“You swore you loved me, and laughed and warned me that you would not love me forever.
I did not hear you. You were speaking in a language I did not understand. Never, never, I can conceive of a love which is able to foresee its own termination. Love is its own eternity. Love is in every moment of its being: all time. It is the only glimpse we are permitted of what eternity is. So I did not hear you. The words were nonsense.”
Thornton Wilder, The Ides of March
“Imprisonment of the body is bitter; imprisonment of the mind is worse”
Thornton Wilder, The Ides of March
“There is no need for me to curse you -the murderer survives the victim only to learn that it was himself that he longed to be rid of. Hatred is self-hatred.”
Thornton Wilder, The Ides of March
“And oh, Claudia, Claudilla, ask me to do something -something that I can do. Do not ask me to forget you or to be indifferent to you. Do not ask me to have no interest in how you pass your time. But if we are separated, set me a task, something that will be a daily link with you.”
Thornton Wilder, The Ides of March
“Let us at least say of religion that it means that every part of the body is infused with mind, not that the mind is overwhelmed and drowned in body. For the principal attribute of the Gods, without or within us, is mind.”
Thornton Wilder, The Ides of March
“They had been brought up to think that the domestic virtues were self-evident and universal; they had been starved of the knowledge that most attracts the young mind: that the crown of life is the exercise of choice”
Thornton Wilder, The Ides of March
“Leadership is for those who love the public good and are endowed and trained to administer it.”
Thornton Wilder, The Ides of March
“Cesar is not a philosophical man. His life has been one long flight from reflection. At least he is clever enough not to expose the poverty of his general ideas; he never permits the conversation to move toward philosophical principles. Men of his type so dread all deliberation that they glory in the practice of the instantaneous decision. They think they are saving themselves from irresolution; in reality they are sparing themselves the contemplation of all the consequences of their acts. Moreover, in this way they can rejoice in the illusion of never having made a mistake; for act follows so swiftly on act that it is impossible to reconstruct the past and say that an alternative decision would have been better. They can pretend that every act was forced on them under emergency and that every decision was mothered by necessity”
Thornton Wilder, The Ides of March
“the condition of leadership adds new degrees of solitariness to the basic solitude of mankind. Every order that we issue increases the extent to which we are alone, and every show of deference which is extended to us separates us from our fellows.”
Thornton Wilder, The Ides of March
“Love as education is one of the great powers of the world, but it hangs in a delicate suspension; it achieves its harmony as seldom as does love by the senses. Frustrated, it creates even greater havoc, for like all love it is a madness.”
Thornton Wilder, The Ides of March
“It is only dogs that never bite their masters.”
Thornton Wilder, The Ides of March
“There is not a single untruth, no -but after ten lines Truth shrieks, she runs distraught and disheveled through her temple's corridors; she does not know herself. 'I can endure lies,' she cries. 'I cannot survive this stifling verisimilitude”
Thornton Wilder, The Ides of March
“The mind of Caesar. It is the reverse of most men's. It rejoices in committing itself. To us arrive each day a score of challenges; we must say yes or no to decisions that will set off chains of consequences. Some of us deliberate; some of us refuse the decision, which is itself a decision; some of us leap giddily into the decision, setting our jaws and closing our eyes, which is the sort of decision of despair. Caesar embraces decision. It is as though he felt his mind to be operating only when it is interlocking itself with significant consequences. Caesar shrinks from no responsibility. He heaps more and more upon his shoulders.”
Thornton Wilder, The Ides of March
“The type of the Inevitable is death. I remember well that in my youth I believed that I was certainly exempt from its operation. First when my daughter died, next when you were wounded, I knew that I was mortal; and now I regard those years as wasted, as unproductive, in which I was not aware that my death was certain, nay, momently possible. I can now appraise at a glance those who have not yet foreseen their death. I know them for the children they are. They think that by evading its contemplation they are enhancing the savor of life. The reverse is true: only those who have grasped their non-being are capable of praising the sunlight.”
Thornton Wilder, The Ides of March
tags: death
“I have inherited this burden of superstition and nonsense. I govern innumerable men but must acknowledge that I am governed by birds and thunderclaps”
Thornton Wilder, The Ides of March
“Most of all, however, these observances attack and undermine the very spirit of life within the minds of men. They afford to our Romans, from the street sweepers to the consuls, a vague sense of confidence where no confidence is and at the same time a pervasive fear, a fear which neither arouses to action nor calls forth ingenuity, but which paralyzes. They remove from men's shoulders the unremitting obligation to create, moment by moment, their own Rome. They come to us sanctioned by the usage of our ancestors and breathing the security of our childhood; they flatter passivity and console inadequacy”
Thornton Wilder, The Ides of March
“The first and last schoolmaster of life is living and committing oneself unreservedly and dangerously to living; to men who know this an Aristotle and a Plato have much to say; but those who have imposed cautions on themselves and petrified themselves in a system of ideas, them the masters themselves will lead into error”
Thornton Wilder, The Ides of March
“It is difficult, my dear Lucius, to escape becoming the person others believe one to be. A slave is twice enslaved, once by his chains and once again by the glances that fall upon him and say "thou slave.”
Thornton Wilder, The Ides of March
“As Plato, the dangerous beguiler, said: the best philosophers in the world are boys with their beards new on their chins; I am a boy again.”
Thornton Wilder, The Ides of March
“Am I sure that there is no mind behind our existence and no mystery anywhere in the universe? I think I am. What joy, what relief there would be, if we could declare so with complete conviction. If that were so I could wish to live for ever. How terrifying and glorious the role of man if, indeed, without guidance and without consolation he must create from his own rituals the meaning for his existence and write the rules whereby he lives.”
Thornton Wilder, The Ides Of March
“As an anonymous letter has recently informed me, a dictatorship is a powerful incitement to the composition of anonymous letters. I have never known a time when so many were in circulation. They are continually arriving at my door. Inspired by passion and enjoying the irresponsibility of their orphaned condition, they nevertheless have one great advantage over legitimate correspondence: they expose their ideas to their ultimate conclusion; they empty the sack.”
Thornton Wilder, The Ides of March
“The central movement of the mind is the desire for unrestricted liberty and (...) this movement is invariably accompanied by its opposite, a dread of the consequences of liberty.”
Thornton Wilder, The Ides of March
“It is in this sense that responsibility is liberty; the more decisions that you are forced to make alone, the more you are aware of your freedom to choose.”
Thornton Wilder, The Ides of March
“There are few pleasures equal to that of imparting to a voracious learner the knowledge that one has grown old and weary in acquiring.”
Thornton Wilder, The Ides of March
“Second only to the master of us all, Clodia has become the most discussed person in Rome. Versus of unbounded obscenity are scribbled about her over the walls and pavements of all the baths and urinals in Rome.”
Thornton Wilder, The Ides of March
“Contemplating Clodia I find scarcely a drop in my heart of that compassion which Epicurus enjoins us to extend toward the erring.”
Thornton Wilder, The Ides of March
“One can go on saying for years that one doesn't listen to gossip, that the absent cannot defend themselves from slander, etc., etc.; but, after all, isn't the provocation of so much gossip an offense in itself?”
Thornton Wilder, The Ides of March
“E cu neputinţă ca până la urmă să nu ajungi cum crede lumea că eşti.”
Thornton Wilder, The Ides of March
“Listen, you are no longer a boy. You are forty. When will you learn not to wait for chance but to build on what you have and use each day to consolidate your position? Why have you never been anything more than Tribune? Because your plans always begin with next month.”
Thornton Wilder, The Ides of March
“All historical novels are science fiction since they are about time travel,”
Thornton Wilder, The Ides of March

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