Sophocles Quotes

A day lays low and lifts up again all human things.

A fearful man is always hearing things.

A human being is only breath and shadow.

A lie never lives to be old.

A man growing old becomes a child again.

A short saying often contains much wisdom.

A soul that is kind and intends justice discovers more than any sophist.

A state is not a state if it belongs to one man.

A wise doctor does not mutter incantations over a sore that needs the knife.

A wise man does not chatter with one whose mind is sick.

A word does not frighten the man who, in acting, feels no fear.

Alas, how quickly the gratitude owed to the dead flows off, how quick to be proved a deceiver.

All a man’s affairs become diseased when he wishes to cure evils by evils.

All is disgust when a man leaves his own nature and does what is unfit.

Always desire to learn something useful.

Bear up, my child, bear up; Zeus who oversees and directs all things is still mighty in heaven.

Best to live lightly, unthinkingly.

Better not to exist than live basely.

But this is a true saying among men: the gifts of enemies are no gifts and profitless.

But whoever gives birth to useless children, what would you say of him except that he has bred sorrows for himself, and furnishes laughter for his enemies.

Children are the anchors of a mother’s life.

Despair often breeds disease.

Do not grieve yourself too much for those you hate, nor yet forget them utterly.

Don’t you know that silence supports the accuser’s charge?

Enemies’ gifts are no gifts and do no good.

Even a poor man can receive honors.

Every man can see things far off but is blind to what is near.

Evil counsel travels fast.

Evil gains work their punishment.

Foolishness is indeed the sister of wickedness.

For death is not the worst, but when one wants to die and is not able even to have that.

For shameful deeds are taught by shameful deeds.

For the dead there are no more toils.

For the wretched one night is like a thousand; for someone faring well death is just one more night.

For those whose wit becomes the mother of villainy, those it educates to be evil in all things.

Fortune cannot aid those who do nothing.

Fortune raises up and fortune brings low both the man who fares well and the one who fares badly; and there is no prophet of the future for mortal men.

God’s dice always have a lucky roll.

Gratitude to gratitude always gives birth.

He who throws away a friend is as bad as he who throws away his life.

Hide nothing, for time, which sees all and hears all, exposes all.

How dreadful knowledge of the truth can be when there’s no help in the truth.

How sweet for those faring badly to forget their misfortunes even for a short time.

Hush! Check those words. Do not cure ill with ill and make your pain still heavier than it is.

I see that all of us who live are nothing but images or insubstantial shadow.

I see the state of all of us who live, nothing more than phantoms or a weightless shadow.

I would prefer even to fail with honor than win by cheating.

I would rather miss the mark acting well than win the day acting basely.

If it were possible to cure evils by lamentation and to raise the dead with tears, then gold would be a less valuable thing than weeping.

If my body is enslaved, still my mind is free.

If one begins all deeds well, it is likely that they will end well too.

If we are to keep our democracy, there must be one commandment: “Thou shalt not ration justice.”

If you have done terrible things, you must endure terrible things; for thus the sacred light of injustice shines bright.

If you were to offer a thirsty man all wisdom, you would not please him more than if you gave him a drink.

Ignorant men don’t know what good they hold in their hands until they’ve flung it away.

In a just cause the weak will beat the strong.

Isn’t it the sweetest mockery to mock our enemies?

It is a base thing for a man among the people not to obey those in command. Never in a state can the laws be well administered when fear does not stand firm.

It is best to live however one can be.

It is terrible to speak well and be wrong.

It is the merit of a general to impart good news, and to conceal the truth.

It is the task of a good man to help those in misfortune.

It was my care to make my life illustrious not by words more than by deeds.

It’s a terrible thing to speak well and be wrong.

It’s impossible to speak what it is not noble to do.

Kindness is ever the begetter of kindness.

Look and you will find it – what is unsought will go undetected.

Man is not constituted to take pleasure in the same things always.

Men may know many things by seeing; but no prophet can see before the event, nor what end waits for him.

Men of ill judgment ignore the good that lies within their hands, till they have lost it.

Men should pledge themselves to nothing; for reflection makes a liar of their resolution.

Money is the worst currency that ever grew among mankind. This sacks cities, this drives men from their homes, this teaches and corrupts the worthiest minds to turn base deeds.

Much speech is one thing, well-timed speech is another.

Much wisdom often goes with fewest words.

No enemy is worse than bad advice.

No lie ever reaches old age.

No man loves the bearer of bad tidings.

No one longs to live more than someone growing old.

No one who errs unwillingly is evil.

No speech can stain what is noble by nature.

No treaty is ever an impediment to a cheat.

Not all things are to be discovered; many are better concealed.

Not even Ares battles against necessity.

Not even old age knows how to love death.

Not knowing anything is the sweetest life.

Not to be born is, past all prizing, best.

Now I see that going out into the testing ground of men it is the tongue and not the deed that wins the day.

Old age and the passage of time teach all things.

One who knows how to show and to accept kindness will be a friend better than any possession.

One word frees us of all the weight and pain in life. That word is love.

Our happiness depends on wisdom all the way.

Profit is sweet, even if it comes from deception.

Quick decisions are unsafe decisions.

Rather fail with honor than succeed by fraud.

Reason is God’s crowning gift to man.

Reverence does not die with mortals, nor does it perish whether they live or die.

Silence is an ornament for women.

Success is dependent on effort.

The dice of Zeus always fall luckily.

The gods plant reason in mankind, of all good gifts the highest.

The keenest sorrow is to recognize ourselves as the sole cause of all our adversities.

The oaths of a woman I inscribe on water.

The rewards of virtue alone abide secure.

There are some who praise a man free from disease; to me no man who is poor seems free from disease but to be constantly sick.

There is a point at which even justice does injury.

There is a time when even justice brings harm.

There is an ancient saying among men that you cannot thoroughly understand the life of mortals before the man has died, then only can you call it good or bad.

There is no greater evil for men than the constraint of fortune.

There is no greater evil than anarchy.

There is no sense in crying over spilt milk. Why bewail what is done and cannot be recalled?

There is no success without hardship.

There is no witness so terrible and no accuser so powerful as conscience which dwells within us.

There is nothing more hateful than bad advice.

There is some pleasure even in words, when they bring forgetfulness of present miseries.

Things gained through unjust fraud are never secure.

Those whose life is long still strive for gain, and for all mortals all things take second place to money.

Time alone reveals the just man; but you might discern a bad man in a single day.

To be doing good deeds is man’s most glorious task.

To give birth is a fearsome thing; there is no hating the child one has borne even when injured by it.

To him who is in fear everything rustles.

To live without evil belongs only to the gods.

Trust dies but mistrust blossoms.

War never takes a wicked man by chance, the good man always.

What house, bloated with luxury, ever became prosperous without a woman’s excellence?

When a man has lost all happiness, he’s not alive. Call him a breathing corpse.

When trouble ends even troubles please.

Who seeks shall find.

Whoever gets up and comes to grips with Love like a boxer is a fool.

Whoever grows angry amid troubles applies a drug worse than the disease and is a physician unskilled about misfortunes.

Whoever lives among many evils just as I, how can dying not be a source of gain?

Whoever neglects the arts when he is young has lost the past and is dead to the future.

Whoever thinks his friend more important than his country, I rate him nowhere.

Whoever thinks that he alone has speech, or possesses speech or mind above others, when unfolded such men are seen to be empty.

Whoever understands how to do a kindness when he fares well would be a friend better than any possession.

Wisdom is the supreme part of happiness.

Wisdom outweighs any wealth.

Wise thinkers prevail everywhere.

Without labor nothing prospers.

You should not consider a man’s age but his acts.

You win the victory when you yield to friends.