FOR ALL AGES

101+ Tennessee Williams Quotes On Love And Life From The Pioneering Playwright

Tennessee Williams' quotes are proof of his genius as a playwright.

Thomas Lanier Williams III, popularly known as Tennessee Williams, is an American playwright who was known as one of the pioneers of 20th Century American drama.

His plays act as the cornerstone of modern plays and have been held in high regard along with contemporary American playwright Arthur Miller as well as Eugene O'Neill. His most celebrated work is a play named 'The Glass Menagerie' which he had written in 1944 after thirty-three years of being obscure.

He was a Pulitzer Prize winning dramatist who has written countless other dramas such as 'Cat On A Hot Tin Roof' 1952, 'The Night Of The Iguana', 1961,  'Sweet Bird Of Youth', 1959, as well as 'A Streetcar Named Desire', 1947, which is deemed as one of the best American plays ever written. Here is a list of some of the most famous lines by Tennessee Williams from his life as well as from his plays.

If you like our content, you can also check out other amazing articles like ['A Streetcar Named Desire' quotes] and [Arthur miller quotes].

Tennessee Williams Famous Quotes

Tennessee Williams quotes redefine what modern life is.

Tennessee Williams as a playwright has had a major impact on the world of literature not only for contemporary and future writers but also readers. Here is a list of some of the most famous Tennessee Williams quotes, many from his plays.

1. "The future is called "perhaps", which is the only possible thing to call the future. And the only important thing is not to allow that to scare you."

-Tennessee Williams, 'Orpheus Descending', 1957.

2. "Snatching the eternal out of the desperately fleeting is the great magic trick of human existence."

-Tennessee Williams.

3. "All cruel people describe themselves as paragons of frankness."

-Tennessee Williams.

4. "Don't look forward to the day you stop suffering, because when it comes you'll know you're dead."

-Tennessee Williams.

5. "Mendacity is a system that we live in."

-Tennessee Williams, 'Cat On A Hot Tin Roof', 1952.

6. "We are all civilized people, which means that we are all savages at heart but observing a few amenities of civilized behaviour."

-Tennessee Williams.

7. "A prayer for the wild at heart kept in cages. I know how you long to run wild and free."

-'A Prayer For The Wild At Heart'.

8. "I can't expose a human weakness on the stage unless I know it through having it myself."

-Tennessee Williams, 'Where I Live: Selected Essays'.

9. "Time doesn't take away from friendship, nor does separation."

-Tennessee Williams, 'Memoirs'.

10. "If I got rid of my demons, I’d lose my angels."

-Tennessee Williams, 'Conversations With Tennessee Williams'.

11. "You said, 'They’re harmless dreamers and they’re loved by the people.' 'What,' I asked you, 'is harmless about a dreamer, and what,' I asked you, 'is harmless about the love of the people? Revolution only needs good dreamers who remember their dreams."

-Tennessee Williams.

12. "America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland."

-Tennessee Williams.

13. "Friends are God's way of apologizing to us for our families."

-Tennessee Williams.

14. "Success and failure are equally disastrous."

-Tennessee Williams.

15.  "All pretty girls are a trap, a pretty trap, and men expect them to be."

-Tennessee Williams, 'The Glass Menagerie', 1944.

16. "People go to the movies instead of moving."

-Tennessee Williams, 'The Glass Menagerie', 1944.

17. "For nowadays the world is lit by lightning!"

-Tennessee Williams, 'The Glass Menagerie', 1944.

18. "Don't look forward to the day you stop suffering, because when it comes you'll know you're dead."

-Tennessee Williams.

19. "Everybody has problems, not just you, but practically everybody has got some problems. You think of yourself as having the only problems, as being the only one who is disappointed."

-Tennessee Williams, 'The Glass Menagerie', 1944.

20. " All my life I have been haunted by the obsession that to desire a thing or to love a thing intensely is to place yourself in a vulnerable position, to be a possible, if not a probable, loser of what you most want."

-Tennessee Williams.

21. "Perhaps it was a familiar bit of music. Perhaps it was only a piece of transparent glass."

-Tennessee Williams, 'The Glass Menagerie', 1944.

22. "And funerals are pretty compared to deaths."

-Tennessee Williams, 'A Streetcar Named Desire', 1947.

23. "She lives in a world of her own – a world of – little glass ornaments…"

-Tennessee Williams, 'The Glass Menagerie', 1944.

24. "The cities swept about me like dead leaves, leaves that were brightly colored but torn away from the branches. I would have stopped, but I was pursued by something."

-Tennessee Williams, 'The Glass Menagerie', 1944.

25. "People are not so dreadful when you know them. That's what you have to remember!"

-Tennessee Williams, 'The Glass Menagerie', 1944.

26. "Anything might have been anything else and had as much meaning to it."

-Tennessee Williams, 'Collected Stories'.

27. "I suppose I have found it easier to identify with the characters who verge upon hysteria, who were frightened of life, who were desperate to reach out to another person. But these seemingly fragile people are the strong people really."

-Tennessee Williams.

28. "Nobody sees anybody truly but all through the flaws of their own egos. That is the way we all see ...each other in life."

-Tennessee Williams.

Tennessee Williams Quotes On Love

Tennessee Williams' quotes have greatly influenced many writers and readers alike.

If you are looking for some modern American quotes on love, here is a list of some of the best Tennessee Williams love quotes.

29. "It is much easier to give money than love."

-Tennessee Williams.

30. "We live in a perpetually burning building, and what we must save from it, all the time, is love."

-Tennessee Williams, Interview with James Grissom, 1982.

31. "“We're all sentenced to solitary confinement inside our own skins, for life."

- Tennessee Williams.

32. "The world is violent and mercurial — it will have its way with you."

-Tennessee Williams.

33. "That's how it is in all living relationships except when there is that rare case of two people who love intensely enough to burn through all those layers of opacity and see each other's naked hearts."

-Tennessee Williams.

34. "In all these years, you never believed I loved you. And I did...I did so much. I did love you. I even loved your hate and your hardness."

-Tennessee Williams, 'Cat On A Hot Tin Roof', 1952.

35. "Oh, you weak, beautiful people who give up with such grace. What you need is someone to take hold of you--gently, with love, and hand your life back to you..."

-Tennessee Williams, 'Cat On A Hot Tin Roof', 1952.

36. "We've had this date with each other from the beginning."

-Tennessee Williams, 'A Streetcar Named Desire', 1947.

37. "It was like you suddenly turned a blinding on something that had always been half in shadow, that's how it struck the world for me. But I was unlucky. Deluded."

-Tennessee Williams, 'A Streetcar Named Desire', 1947.

38. "Everybody is nothing until you love them."

-Tennessee Williams, 'The Rose Tattoo', 1951.

39. "The Venus flytrap, a devouring organism, aptly named for the goddess of love."

-Tennessee Williams, 'Suddenly Last Summer', 1958.

40. "Oh, you can't describe someone you're in love with!"

-Tennessee Williams, 'A Streetcar Named Desire', 1947.

41. "He was a boy, just a boy, when I was a very young girl. When I was sixteen, I made the discovery - love. All at once and much, much too completely."

-Tennessee Williams, 'A Streetcar Named Desire', 1947.

Tennessee Williams Quotes On Life

Here is a wholesome list of some of the best quotes by Tennessee Williams about life and living which are meaningful.

42. "Life is an unanswered question, but let's still believe in the dignity and importance of the question."

-Tennessee Williams.

43. "In the time of your life--live!" That time is short and it doesn't return again."

-Tennessee Williams.

44. "I set out to tell the truth. And sometimes the truth is shocking."

-Tennessee Williams.

45. "Life is partly what we make it, and partly what it is made by the friends we choose."

-Tennessee Williams.

46. "When I write I don’t aim to shock people, and I’m surprised when I do."

-Tennessee Williams.

47. "I write? Because I found life unsatisfactory."

-Tennessee Williams.

48. "But I don’t think that anything that occurs in life should be omitted from art, though the artist should present it in a fashion that is artistic and not ugly."

-Tennessee Williams.

49. "I don't believe in 'original sin'. I don't believe in 'guilt'. I don't believe in villains or heroes - only right or wrong ways that individuals have taken..."

-Tennessee Williams.

50. "Enthusiasm is the most important thing in life."

-Tennessee Williams.

51. "Dead people give such good advice."

-Tennessee Williams, 'Battle Of The Angels', 1940.

52. "Time goes by so fast. Nothin' can outrun it."

-Tennessee Williams, 'Cat On A Hot Tin Roof', 1952.

53. "Hell is yourself and the only redemption is when a person puts himself aside to feel deeply for another person."

-Tennessee Williams.

54. "Hollywood characters are supposed to have all the adventures for everybody in America, while everybody in America sits in a dark room and watches them have them!"

-Tennessee Williams, 'The Glass Menagerie', 1944.

Famous Tennessee Williams Quotes From His Famous Plays

Tennessee Williams' plays are considered to be some of the finest American plays in the history of American drama. Here is a list of some of the most famous quotes from his celebrated plays.

55. "I think that hate is a feeling that can only exist where there is no understanding."

-Tennessee Williams, 'Sweet Bird Of Youth', 1959.

56. "Make voyages. Attempt them. There's nothing else."

-Tennessee Williams, 'Camino Real', 1953.

57. "The rest of my days I'm going to spend on the sea. And when I die, I'm going to die on the sea."

-Tennessee Williams, 'A Streetcar Named Desire', 1947.

58. "Has it ever struck you that life is all memory, except for the one present moment that goes by you so quick you hardly catch it going?"

-Tennessee Williams, 'The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore', 1963.

59. "Go, then! Go to the moon-you selfish dreamer!"

-Tennessee Williams, 'The Glass Menagerie', 1944.

60. "I shall die of eating an unwashed grape. One day out on the ocean I will die--with my hand in the hand of some nice looking ship's doctor.

-Tennessee Williams, 'A Streetcar Named Desire', 1947.

61. "Being disappointed is one thing and being discouraged is something else. I am disappointed but I am not discouraged."

-Tennessee Williams, 'The Glass Menagerie,' 1944.

62. "The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks."

-Tennessee Williams, 'Camino Real', 1953.

63. "I didn't go to the moon, I went much further..."

-Tennessee Williams, 'The Glass Menagerie', 1944.

66. "Time is the longest distance between two places."

-Tennessee Williams, 'The Glass Menagerie', 1944.

64. "There’s a time for departure even when there’s no certain place to go."

-Tennessee Williams, 'Camino Real', 1953.

65. "When so many are lonely as seem to be lonely, it would be inexcusably selfish to be lonely alone."

-Tennessee Williams, 'Camino Real', 1953.

66. "What is straight? A line can be straight, or a street, but the human heart, oh, no, its curved like a road through mountains."

-Tennessee Williams, 'A Streetcar Named Desire', 1947.

67. "I have always depended on the kindness of strangers."

-Tennessee Williams, 'A Streetcar Named Desire', 1947.

68. "In memory, everything seems to happen to music."

-Tennessee Williams, 'The Glass Menagerie', 1944.

69. "What is the victory of a cat on a hot tin roof?—I wish I knew… Just staying on it, I guess, as long as she can…"

-Tennessee Williams, 'Cat On A Hot Tin Roof', 1952.

70. "The human animal is a beast that dies but the fact that he’s dying don’t give him pity for others."

-Tennessee Williams, 'Cat On A Hot Tin Roof', 1952.

71. "You can be young without money but you can't be old without it."

-Tennessee Williams, 'Cat On A Hot Tin Roof', 1952.

72. "I don’t want realism. I want magic! Yes, yes, magic."

-Tennessee Williams, 'A Streetcar Named Desire', 1947.

73. "You are the only young man that I know of who ignores the fact that the future becomes the present, the present the past, and the past turns into everlasting regret if you don't plan for it."

-Tennessee Williams, 'The Glass Menagerie', 1944.

74. "We all live in a house on fire, no fire department to call; no way out, just the upstairs window to look out of while the fire burns the house down with us trapped, locked in it."

-Tennessee Williams, 'The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore', 1963.

75. "I've got the guts to die. What I want to know is, have you got the guts to live?"

-Tennessee Williams, 'Cat On A Hot Tin Roof', 1952.

76. "The most dangerous word in any human tongue is the word for brother. It's inflammatory."

-Tennessee Williams, 'Camino Real', 1953.

77. "Never inside, I didn't lie in my heart."

-Tennessee Williams, 'A Streetcar Named Desire', 1947.

78. "Memory takes a lot of poetic license."

-Tennessee Williams, 'The Glass Menagerie', 1944.

79. "Every time you come in yelling that Goddamn "Rise and Shine! Rise and Shine!" I say to myself, "How lucky dead people are!"

-Tennessee Williams, 'The Glass Menagerie', 1944.

80. "Don't you just love those long rainy afternoons in New Orleans when an hour isn't just an hour - but a little piece of eternity dropped into your hands - and who knows what to do with it?"

-Tennessee Williams, 'A Streetcar Named Desire', 1947.

81. "How beautiful it is and how easily it can be broken."

-Tennessee Williams, 'The Glass Menagerie', 1944.

82. "Some things are not forgiveable. Deliberate cruelty is not forgiveable. It is the most unforgiveable thing in my opinion, and the one thing in which I have never, ever been guilty."

-Tennessee Williams, 'A Streetcar Named Desire', 1947.

83. "He gives you illusion that has the appearance of truth. I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion."

-Tennessee Williams, 'The Glass Menagerie', 1944.

84. "But I get up. I go! For sixty-five dollars a month I give up all that I dream of doing and being ever!"

-Tennessee Williams, 'The Glass Menagerie', 1944.

85. "My only point, the only point that I’m making, is life has got to be allowed to continue even after the dream of life is–all–over…."

-Tennessee Williams, 'Cat On A Hot Tin Roof', 1952.

86. "Physical beauty is passing - a transitory possession - but beauty of the mind, richness of the spirit, tenderness of the heart..."

-Tennessee Williams, 'A Streetcar Named Desire', 1947.

87. "What on earth can you do on this earth but catch at whatever comes near you, with both your fingers, until your fingers are broken?"

-Tennessee Williams, 'Orpheus Descending', 1957.

88. "Yes, I have tricks in my pocket, I have things up my sleeve. But I am the opposite of a stage magician."

-Tennessee Williams, 'The Glass Menagerie', 1944.

89. "Show me a person who hasn't known any sorrow and I'll show you a superficial."

-Tennessee Williams, 'A Streetcar Named Desire', 1947.

90. "Caged birds accept each other but flight is what they long for."

-Tennessee Williams, 'Camino Real', 1953.

91. "Guilt is universal."

-Tennessee Williams, 'Sweet Bird Of Youth', 1959.

92. "A woman's charm is fifty per cent illusion."

-Tennessee Williams, 'A Streetcar Named Desire', 1947.

93. "Silence about a thing just magnifies it."

-Tennessee Williams, 'Cat On A Hot Tin Roof', 1952.

94. "There ain't nothin' more powerful than the odor of mendacity...You can smell it. It smells like death."

-Tennessee Williams, 'Cat On A Hot Tin Roof', 1952.

95. "Only animals have to satisfy instincts!"

-Tennessee Williams, 'The Glass Menagerie', 1944.

96. "Morning can always be counted on to bring us back to a more realistic level."

-Tennessee Williams, 'The Night Of The Iguana', 1948.

97. "Nothing human disgusts me unless it's unkind."

-Tennessee Williams, 'The Night Of The Iguana', 1948.

98. "Death commences too early--almost before you're half acquainted with life--you meet the other."

-Tennessee Williams, 'Cat On A Hot Tin Roof', 1952.

99. "I respect a person that has had to fight and howl for his decency."

-Tennessee Williams, 'The Night Of The Iguana', 1948.

100."But just look around you and you will see lots of people as disappointed as you are."

-Tennessee Williams, 'The Glass Menagerie', 1944.

101. "We are saved only by love — love for each other and the love that we pour into the art we feel compelled to share: being a parent; being a writer; being a painter; being a friend."

-Tennessee Williams.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly quotes for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Tennessee Williams quotes then why not take a look at Tom Robbins quotes, or [Shakespeare love quotes].

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