The Best Tom Stoppard quotes

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Tom Stoppard is a renowned English playwright whose work has been staged all over the world. His plays are known for their wit, intelligence, and humor. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the life and work of this talented writer. Whether you’re an aspiring playwright or just someone who appreciates good writing, you’re sure to find something of interest in Stoppard’s story.

Here are the most interesting Work, Love, Time, Writing, Artists, Life, Believing, World quotes from Tom Stoppard, and much more.

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About Tom Stoppard

birth of the author

3 July 1937

occupation of the author

Playwright, Screenwriter

education of the author

Pocklington School, Mount Hermon School, Darjeeling

date of the author


genre of the author

Dramatic Comedy / Tragicomedy


Well, we’ll know better next time. — Tom Stoppard

For a long time I managed to think two things simultaneously, that I am actually a good playwright, and that the next time I write a play I will be revealed as someone who is no good at all. — Tom Stoppard

We drift down time, clutching at straws. But what good’s a brick to a drowning man? — Tom Stoppard

There must have been a time, in the beginning, when we could have said–no. But somehow we missed it. Oh well, we’ll know better next time. — Tom Stoppard

well we ll know better next time Tom Stoppard quote

It’s the best possible time to be alive, when almost everything you thought you knew is wrong. — Tom Stoppard

For all the compasses in the world, there’s only one direction, and time is its only measure. — Tom Stoppard

My family was in Singapore when the Japanese War started. We were in Singapore at the time of Pearl Harbor, and by the beginning of 1942, the Japanese invasion of Burma and Singapore had started. — Tom Stoppard

Seduced her? Every time I turned round she was up a library ladder. In the end I gave in. That reminds me–I spotted something between her legs that made me think of you. — Tom Stoppard

I would join Sisyphus in Hades and gladly push my boulder up the slope if only, each time it rolled back down, I were given a line of Aeschylus. — Tom Stoppard

Normally, even if you’re on the set for 12 hours, there may be only a moment or two when you are actually useful. — Tom Stoppard


I really love being in postproduction. First of all, it’s all quite self–interested: You can protect things. — Tom Stoppard

It’s no trick loving somebody at their best. Love is loving them at their worst. — Tom Stoppard

I love love. I love having a lover and being one. The insularity of passion. I love it. I love the way it blurs the distinction between everyone who isn’t one’s lover. — Tom Stoppard

I fell in love with literature and stayed lovesick all my life. — Tom Stoppard

it s no trick loving somebody at their best love is loving them at their worst Tom Stoppard quote

A genuine love of learning is one of the two delinquencies which cause blindness and lead a young man to ruin. — Tom Stoppard

Save the gerund and screw the whale. — Tom Stoppard


I enjoy writing dialogue; it comes naturally to me. — Tom Stoppard

I cannot say that I write with any social objective. One writes because one loves writing, really. — Tom Stoppard

Even when the writing seems very frivolous, I’m puritanical. I don’t mean my subject matter. It’s that I’m almost pathologically incapable of leaving something when I’m not quite happy with it. — Tom Stoppard

i enjoy writing dialogue it comes naturally to me Tom Stoppard quote

I write plays because writing dialogue is the only respectable way of contradicting yourself. I put a position, rebut it, refute the rebuttal, and rebut the refutation. — Tom Stoppard

It’s really hard to talk about writing, and I’m usually conscious if I’m misleading people or misleading the questioner, because the problem with writing is the next line. — Tom Stoppard

I write scenes–often quite long scenes–mainly because I still get seduced into writing six lines where one and a half will do. — Tom Stoppard

I can’t remember what my first script was. — Tom Stoppard

My scripts are possibly too talkative. — Tom Stoppard

i can t remember what my first script was Tom Stoppard quote


Rosencrantz: I don’t believe in it anyway. Guildenstern: What? Rosencrantz: England. Guildenstern: Just a conspiracy of cartographers, then? — Tom Stoppard

Never believe in mirrors or newspapers. — Tom Stoppard

Well I believe in the desirability of an optimal society. — Tom Stoppard

Audiences know what to expect, and that is all that they are prepared to believe in. — Tom Stoppard

Back in the East you can’t do much without the right papers, but with the right papers you can do anything The believe in papers. Papers are power. — Tom Stoppard

never believe in mirrors or newspapers Tom Stoppard quote

You can persuade a man to believe almost anything provided he is clever enough, but it is much more difficult to persuade someone less clever. — Tom Stoppard

I believe in mess, tears, pain, self–abasement, loss of self–respect, nakedness. Not caring doesn’t seem much different from not loving. — Tom Stoppard


Life in a box is better than no life at all… I expect. — Tom Stoppard

Life is a gamble, at terrible odds–if it was a bet you wouldn’t take it. — Tom Stoppard

Biography is the mesh through which real life escapes. — Tom Stoppard

life in a box is better than no life at all i expect Tom Stoppard quote

I consider myself to be a very fortunate person and to have led a very fortunate life. — Tom Stoppard

Success in life is to maintain this ecstasy, to burn always with this hard gemlike flame. — Tom Stoppard

Fatherlessness didn’t strike me as being an event. It was a state of life. — Tom Stoppard

My whole life is waiting for the questions to which I have prepared answers. — Tom Stoppard

Player: Relax. Respond. That’s what people do. You can’t go through life question your sitution at every turn. — Tom Stoppard

life is a gamble at terrible odds if it was a bet you wouldn t take it Tom Stoppard quote

Life in a box is better than no life at all, I expect. You’d have a chance at least. You could lie there thinking: Well, at least I’m not dead. — Tom Stoppard

My life feels, week to week, incomplete to the level of being pointless if I am not in preparation for the next play or, ideally, into it. — Tom Stoppard

Redundant Thematics

In Tom Stoppard Statements


All your life you live so close to truth, it becomes a permanent blur in the corner of your eye, and when something nudges it into outline it is like being ambushed by a grotesque. — Tom Stoppard

If you associate enough with older people who do enjoy their lives, who are not stored away in any golden ghettos, you will gain a sense of continuity and of the possibility for a full life. — Tom Stoppard

If you want to change something by Tuesday, theater is no good. Journalism is what does that. But, if you want to just alter the chemistry of the moral matrix, then theater has a longer half–life. — Tom Stoppard

biography is the mesh through which real life escapes Tom Stoppard quote

Corporeal death is not the whole story. — Tom Stoppard


What is an artist? For every thousand people there’s nine hundred doing the work, ninety doing well, nine doing good, and one lucky bastard who’s the artist. — Tom Stoppard

The fact is that people are attracted to new work and by new work. — Tom Stoppard

The tragedy of journalism is that these are people doing their best work. — Tom Stoppard

A play that works well and is done quite a lot–I’ve never done the math–but it’s probably more remunerative than a movie. — Tom Stoppard

the fact is that people are attracted to new work and by new work Tom Stoppard quote

My work always tried to unite the true with the beautiful; but when I had to choose one or the other, I usually chose the beautiful. — Tom Stoppard

I don’t write at the library, because I smoke when I work or would like the possibility of a smoke. Also, I need to be at my own desk. — Tom Stoppard

You can’t but know that if you can capture the emotions of the audience as well as their minds, the play will work better, because it’s a narrative art form. — Tom Stoppard

I don’t draw on my inner life in my work. — Tom Stoppard

The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on The road to imminent disaster. strangely enough it all works out in The end… it’s a mystery. — Tom Stoppard

the tragedy of journalism is that these are people doing their best work Tom Stoppard quote

I began writing for theater, and maybe because of that I’ve always thought of myself as a theater writer who does work in film sometimes. — Tom Stoppard

Can’t you function unless you’re losing? — Tom Stoppard

Look on every exit as being an entrance somewhere else. — Tom Stoppard


One of the nice things about the world of filmmaking is that you make friends in the business. — Tom Stoppard

The idea that being human and having rights are equivalent–that rights are inherent–is unintelligible in a Darwinian world. — Tom Stoppard

death followed by eternity the worst of both worlds it is a terrible thought Tom Stoppard quote

If rationality were the criterion for things being allowed to exist, the world would be one gigantic field of soya beans! — Tom Stoppard

Death followed by eternity the worst of both worlds. It is a terrible thought. — Tom Stoppard

To be an artist at all is like living in Switzerland during a world war. To be an artist in Zurich, in 1917, implies a degree of self–absorption that would have glazed over the eyes of Narcissus. — Tom Stoppard

Words) deserve respect. Get the right ones in the right order, and you can nudge the world a little. — Tom Stoppard

You stupid woman, if rationality were the criterion for things being allowed to exist, the world would be one gigantic field of soya beans! — Tom Stoppard

if i wanted to change the world the last thing i would do is write a play Tom Stoppard quote

If you took away everything in the world that had to be invented, there’d be nothing left except a lot of people getting rained on. — Tom Stoppard

If I wanted to change the world, the last thing I would do is write a play. — Tom Stoppard

I still believe that if your aim is to change the world, journalism is a more immediate short–term weapon. — Tom Stoppard

Public postures have the configuration of private derangement. — Tom Stoppard

What did you have in mind? A short, blunt human pyramid? — Tom Stoppard

Rosencrantz: Shouldn’t we be doing something––constructive? Guildenstern: What did you have in mind? … A short, blunt human pyramid…? — Tom Stoppard


An artist is the magician put among men to gratify–capriciously–their urge for immortality. — Tom Stoppard

You are an over–excited little man, with a need for self–expression far beyond the scope of your natural gifts. This is not discreditable. Neither does it make you an artist. — Tom Stoppard

Nowadays, an artist is someone who makes art mean the things he does. — Tom Stoppard

You’re familiar with the tragedies of antiquity, are you? The great homicidal classics? — Tom Stoppard

an artist is the magician put among men to gratify capriciously their urge for immortality Tom Stoppard quote

TOM STOPPARD Quotes Take Away

Tom Stoppard is a master of the written word, and his insights about writing are just as relevant to business professionals. In order to be successful in any field, you need to be able to communicate effectively with others. These quotes from Tom Stoppard will help you do just that. We hope they inspire you to keep learning and growing in your professional career. Are there any other writing tips or principles from Tom Stoppard that have helped you succeed? Share them with us in the comments below.

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