Anton Chekhov Quotes

Anton Chekhov Quotes

Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.

There will come a time when everybody will know why, for what purpose, there is all this suffering, and there will be no more mysteries. But now we must live ... we must work, just work!

We just philosophize, complain of boredom, or drink vodka. It's so clear, you see, that if we're to begin living in the present, we must first of all redeem our past and then be done with it forever. And the only way we can redeem our past is by suffering and by giving ourselves over to exceptional labor, to steadfast and endless labor.

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.

And what does it mean - dying? Perhaps man has a hundred senses, and only the five we know are lost at death, while the other ninety-five remain alive.

The illusion which exalts us is dearer to us than ten thousand truths.

Wisdom.... comes not from age, but from education and learning.

Even in Siberia there is happiness.

Three o'clock in the morning. The soft April night is looking at my windows and caressingly winking at me with its stars. I can't sleep, I am so happy.

And only now, when he was gray-haired, had he fallen in love properly, thoroughly, for the first time in his life.

Ivanov: And this whole romance of ours is commonplace and trite: he lost heart, and he lost his way. She came along, strong and brave in spirit, and gave him an helping hand. That's all very well and plausible in novels, but in life...

Sasha: In life it's the same.

Ivanov: I see you have a fine understanding of life!

After us they'll fly in hot air balloons, coat styles will change, perhaps they'll discover a sixth sense and cultivate it, but life will remain the same, a hard life full of secrets, but happy. And a thousand years from now man will still be sighing, "Oh! Life is so hard!" and will still, like now, be afraid of death and not want to die.

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

These people have learned not from books, but in the fields, in the wood, on the river bank. Their teachers have been the birds themselves, when they sang to them, the sun when it left a glow of crimson behind it at setting, the very trees, and wild herbs.

In this town to know three languages is an unnecessary luxury. It's not even a luxury, but a sort of unnecessary addition, like a sixth finger. We have a great deal of superfluous knowledge.

Being in love shows a person how he ought to be.

A woman can become a man's friend only in the following stages - first an acquantaince, next a mistress, and only then a friend.

Science and art,... they seek the truth and the meaning of life, they seek God, [and] the soul, and when they are harnessed to passing needs and activities,... then they only complicate and encumber life.

Dear and most respected bookcase! I welcome your existence, which has for over one hundred years been devoted to the radiant ideals of goodness and justice.

His reading suggested a man swimming in the sea among the wreckage of his ship, and trying to save his life by greedily clutching first at one spar and then at another.

The past,' he thought, 'is linked with the present by an unbroken chain of events flowing one out of another.' And it seemed to him that he had just seen both ends of that chain; that when he touched one end the other quivered.

When a woman is plain, people say, 'What beautiful eyes you have, beautiful hair.

And you know that anyone who at least once in his life has caught a perch or seen blackbirds migrating in the fall, when they rush in flocks over the village on clear, cool days, is no longer a townsman, and will be drawn towards freedom till his dying day.

The role of the artist is to ask questions, not answer them.

We shall find peace. We shall hear angels, we shall see the sky sparkling with diamonds.

Ah yes, freedom! Even a hint of it, just the faintest hope of it, is enough to make one's spirit soar, don't you think?

I've never been in love. I've dreamt of it day and night, but my heart is like a fine piano no one can play because the key is lost.

The sufferings which may be observed nowadays - they are so widespread and so vast - but people speak nevertheless about a certain moral improvement which society has achieved…

They say philosophers and wise men are indifferent. Wrong. Indifference is a paralysis of the soul, a premature death.

Medicine is my lawful wife, and literature is my mistress. When I get fed up with one, I spend the night with the other

No psychologist should pretend to understand what he does not understand... Only fools and charlatans know everything and understand nothing.

Once a man gets a fixed idea, there's nothing to be done.

Be sure not to discuss your hero's state of mind. Make it clear from his actions."

(Letter to Alexander Chekhov, May 10, 1886)

In displaying the psychology of your characters, minute particulars are essential. God save us from vague generalizations!"

(Letter to Alexander Chekhov, May 10, 1886)

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