Sophocles

Quotations

Our ship of fate, which recent storms have threatened to destroy, has come safely to harbor at last.

I have nothing but contempt for the kind of governor who is afraid, for whatever reason, to follow the course that he knows is best for the State; and as for the man who sets private friendship above the public welfare – I have no use for him, either.

Antigone

Numberless are the world’s wonders, but none
More wonderful than man.

Grief teaches the steadiest minds to waver.

Antigone

Love, unconquerable,
Waster of rich men, keeper
Of warm lights and all-night vigil
In the soft face of a girl:
Sea-wanderer, forest-visitor!
Even the pure immortals cannot escape you,
And mortal man, in his one day’s dusk,
Trembles before your glory.

Sons are the anchors of a mother’s life.

Wisdom outweighs any wealth.

Antigone

Truly, to tell lies is not honorable;
But when the truth entails tremendous ruin,
To speak dishonorably is pardonable.

Creusa, fragment 323

There is no happiness where there is no wisdom;
No wisdom but in submission to the gods.
Big words are always punished,
And proud men in old age learn to be wise.

Antigone

No man loves life like him that’s growing old.

Knowledge must come through action; you can have no test which is not fanciful, save by trial.

Trachiniae

Fear? What has a man to do with fear? Chance rules our lives, and the future is all unknown. Best live as we may, from day to day.

Jocasta, 'Oedipus Rex'

Rash indeed is he who reckons on the morrow, or haply on days beyond it; for tomorrow is not, until today is past.

Trachiniae

Wisdom is a curse when wisdom does nothing for the man who has it.

Teiresias, 'Oedipus Rex'

One word
Frees us of all the weight and pain of life:
That word is love.

Oedipus at Colonus

How dreadful knowledge of the truth can be
When there’s no help in truth!

The greatest griefs are those we cause ourselves.

Oedipus Rex

Time eases all things.

Oedipus Rex

It is no weakness for the wisest man to learn when he is wrong.

Antigone

Don’t kill the messenger.

For God hates utterly
The bray of bragging tongues.

Antigone