Literary Quotations
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QUOTES ON GREATNESS


There is no greatness where there is not simplicity, goodness, and truth.

LEO TOLSTOY, War and Peace

For broad understanding and deep feeling, you need pain and suffering. I believe really great men must experience great sadness in the world.

FYODOR DOSTOEVSKY, Crime and Punishment

No man understands any greatness or goodness but his own, or the indication of his own.

WALT WHITMAN, Leaves of Grass

Great people's tempers are terrible, always
Having their own way, seldom checked,
Dangerous they shift from mood to mood.
How much better to have been accustomed
To live on equal terms with one's neighbors.
I would like to be safe and grow old in a
Humble way. What is moderate sounds best,
Also in practice is best for everyone.
Greatness brings no profit to people.
God indeed, when in anger, brings
Greater ruin to great men's houses.

EURIPIDES, Medea

May not the complaint, that common people are above their station, often take its rise in the fact of uncommon people being below theirs?

CHARLES DICKENS, Nicholas Nickleby

In historical events great men — so-called — are but labels serving to give a name to the event, and like labels they have the least possible connection with the event itself. Every action of theirs, that seems to them an act of their own free will, is in an historical sense not free at all, but in bondage to the whole course of previous history, and predestined from all eternity.

LEO TOLSTOY, War and Peace

Some great men owe most of their greatness to the ability of detecting in those they destine for their tools the exact quality of strength that matters for their work.

JOSEPH CONRAD, Lord Jim

To save yourself by means of that which has ruined you is the masterpiece of great men.

VICTOR HUGO, Les Misérables

Great souls endure in silence.

FRIEDRICH SCHILLER, Don Carlos

Our greatness will appear
Then most conspicuous, when great things of small,
Useful of hurtful, prosperous of adverse,
We can create.

JOHN MILTON, Paradise Lost

Learn from me, if not by my precepts, at least by my example, how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow.

MARY SHELLEY, Frankenstein

Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em.

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, Twelfth Night