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Quotes by

Anton Chekhov

1860-1904 ,  Russian writer
Anton ChekhovRussian medical doctor, playwright and short story writer, who is considered to be among the greatest writers of short fiction in history.
Along with Henrik Ibsen and August Strindberg, Chekhov is often referred to as one of the three seminal figures in the birth of early modernism in the theater.
As a playwright he produced four classics: The Seagull (1896), Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard.

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

What a fine weather today! Can’t choose whether to drink tea or to hang myself.

I don’t understand anything about the ballet; all I know is that during the intervals the ballerinas stink like horses.

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

People don't notice whether it's winter or summer when they're happy.

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.

When one longs for a drink, it seems as though one could drink a whole ocean—that is faith; but when one begins to drink, one can only drink altogether two glasses—that is science.

When a person is born, he can embark on only one of three roads of life: if you go right, the wolves will eat you; if you go left, you’ll eat the wolves; if you go straight, you’ll eat yourself.

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

Tomsk is a very dull town. To judge from the drunkards whose acquaintance I have made, and from the intellectual people who have come to the hotel to pay their respects to me, the inhabitants are very dull, too

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

writing tip

Perhaps man has a hundred senses, and when he dies only the five senses that we know perish with him, and the other ninety-five remain alive.

Any idiot can face a crisis; it's this day-to-day living that wears you out.

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

If you are afraid of loneliness, don't marry.

If ever my life can be of any use to you, come and claim it.

Nothing can be accomplished by logic and ethics.

In Moscow you sit in a huge room at a restaurant; you know no one and no one knows you, and at the same time you don't feel a stranger. But here you know everyone and everyone knows you, and yet you are a stranger… A stranger, and lonely.

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

My thoughts about human happiness, for some peculiar reason, had always been tinged with a certain sadness.

Which executioner is the more humane, he who kills you in a few minutes or he who drags the life out of you in the course of many years.

Everything should be first-rate in a person, his face, clothes, soul and thoughts.

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

The unhappy are egotistical, base, unjust, cruel, and even less capable of understanding one another than are idiots. Unhappiness does not unite people, but separates them...

Everyone has the same God; only people differ.

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?

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

Faith is an aptitude of the spirit. It is, in fact, a talent: you must be born with it.

Country acquaintances are charming only in the country and only in the summer. In the city in winter they lose half of their appeal.

If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don't put it there.

Man will only become better when you make him see what he is like.

Mankind has conceived history as a series of battles; hitherto it has considered fighting as the main thing in life.

Solomon made a great mistake when he asked for wisdom.

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.

A nice man would feel ashamed even before a dog.

Death is terrible, but still more terrible is the feeling that you might live for ever and never die.

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

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

What a delight it is to respect people!

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

As I shall lie in the grave alone, so in fact I live alone.

I observed that after marriage people cease to be curious.

There is no national science, just as there is no national multiplication table; what is national is no longer science.

It is unfortunate that we try to solve the simplest issues cleverly, and therefore make them unusually complicated. We should seek a simple solution.

The person who wants nothing, hopes for nothing, and fears nothing can never be an artist.

It’s easier to write about Socrates than about a young woman or a cook.

My own experience is that once a story has been written, one has to cross out the beginning and the end. It is there that we authors do most of our lying.

I promise to be an excellent husband, but give me a wife who, like the moon, will not appear every day in my sky.

In nature a repulsive caterpillar turns into a lovely butterfly. But with human beings it is the other way round: a lovely butterfly turns into a repulsive caterpillar.

The sea has neither meaning nor pity.

When men ask me how I know so much about men, they get a simple answer: everything I know about men, I learned from me.

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

Our pride and self-importance are European, while our culture and actions are Asiatic.

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

I would love to meet a philosopher like Nietzsche on a train or boat and to talk with him all night. Incidentally, I don't consider his philosophy long-lived. It is not so much persuasive as full of bravura.

To a chemist, nothing on earth is unclean. A writer must be as objective as a chemist; he must abandon the subjective line; he must know that dungheaps play a very respectable part in a landscape, and that evil passions are as inherent in life as good ones.

A good upbringing means not that you won't spill sauce on the tablecloth, but that you won't notice it when someone else does.

I can only regard with bewilderment an educated man who is also religious

If there's a gun on the wall in act one, scene one, you must fire the gun by act three, scene two. If you fire a gun in act three, scene two, you must see the gun on the wall in act one, scene one.

I haven't drunk champagne for a long time.

his last words

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

A man who doesn't drink is not, in my opinion, fully a man.

You will not become a saint through other people's sins.


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