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200 Magnificent Quotes From Goethe

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was born in Frankfurt, Germany on 28 August, 1749. He is considered as one of the most famous German poet and novelist whose words and idea about “Weltliteratur” influenced many writers. At the age of 25, he published his first novel in epistolary form, The Sorrows of Young Werther, which brought him success as a young writer. The novel was translated into French and English.

In 1808, he published the first part of his most famous work – Faust. The latter was a sensation, and part 2 was published in 1832,the ywar when he passed away. Through his works, Goethe has left a trace in the German Literature. He is recognized as having written three of the most influential novels in European Literature. Through his writings and novels, he created the “Bildungsroman”, which was adopted marvelously by James Joyce.

It is quite impressing to note that Goethe received accolades from Thomas Carlyle who said: “close thy Byron, open thy Goethe”. On His side, Matthew Arnold called Goethe the liberator and the healer who understood the suffering of the human race, while Ralph Waldo Emerson selected him alongside Plato, Montaigne, Shakespear in his work entitled Representative Men.

His novel Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship was considered by Arthur Schopenhauer as one of the four greatest novel ever written alongside Tristram Shandy, La Nouvelle Héloïse, and Don Quixote.

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Goethe’s literary creation has influenced German authors like Thomas Mann, Hermann Hesse and Heinrich Heine. Others like Mark Twain and James Joyce paid tribute to him.

He passed away on 22 March 1832.

Go through our collection of quotes from Goethe and get to know the writer, poet and novelist who shaped the early Romanticism and who gave the world its first bestseller with his epistolary novel.

On all the peaks lies peace.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Science arose from poetry… when times change the two can meet again on a higher level as friends.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Precaution is better than cure.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Plunge boldly into the thick of life, and seize it where you will, it is always interesting.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Piety is not a goal but a means to attain through the purest peace of mind the highest culture.

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Personality is everything in art and poetry.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Passions are vices or virtues to their highest powers.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Only by joy and sorrow does a person know anything about themselves and their destiny. They learn what to do and what to avoid.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

One must ask children and birds how cherries and strawberries taste.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

One cannot develop taste from what is of average quality but only from the very best.

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

It is the strange fate of man, that even in the greatest of evils the fear of the worst continues to haunt him.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

One always has time enough, if one will apply it well.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Superstition is the poetry of life.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Objects in pictures should so be arranged as by their very position to tell their own story.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Nothing shows a man’s character more than what he laughs at.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Nothing is worth more than this day.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Nothing is to be rated higher than the value of the day.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Nothing is more terrible than to see ignorance in action.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Nothing is more fearful than imagination without taste.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

No one would talk much in society if they knew how often they misunderstood others.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

No one has ever learned fully to know themselves.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Nature knows no pause in progress and development, and attaches her curse on all inaction.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

One can be instructed in society, one is inspired only in solitude.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Where is the man who has the strength to be true, and to show himself as he is?

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

We don’t get to know people when they come to us; we must go to them to find out what they are like.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

We know accurately only when we know little, with knowledge doubt increases.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

We usually lose today, because there has been a yesterday, and tomorrow is coming.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

We will burn that bridge when we come to it.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

What by a straight path cannot be reached by crooked ways is never won.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

What is important in life is life, and not the result of life.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

What is my life if I am no longer useful to others.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

What is not started today is never finished tomorrow.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

What is uttered from the heart alone, Will win the hearts of others to your own.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

What life half gives a man, posterity gives entirely.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Self-knowledge comes from knowing other men.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

When ideas fail, words come in very handy.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Sowing is not as difficult as reaping.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Which government is the best? The one that teaches us to govern ourselves.

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Who is the most sensible person? The one who finds what is to their own advantage in all that happens to them.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Who is the wisest man? He who neither knows or wishes for anything else than what happens.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Whoever wishes to keep a secret must hide the fact that he possesses one.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Wisdom is found only in truth.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Wood burns because it has the proper stuff in it; and a man becomes famous because he has the proper stuff in him.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The artist alone sees spirits. But after he has told of their appearing to him, everybody sees them.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Talk well of the absent whenever you have the opportunity.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Talent develops in quiet places, character in the full current of human life.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Men show their character in nothing more clearly than what they think laughable.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Whatever you cannot understand, you cannot possess.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

All the knowledge I possess everyone else can acquire, but my heart is all my own.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Mysteries are not necessarily miracles.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Character develops itself in the stream of life.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Certain defects are necessary for the existence of individuality.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Being brilliant is no great feat if you respect nothing.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Beauty is everywhere a welcome guest.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Beauty is a manifestation of secret natural laws, which otherwise would have been hidden from us forever.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Be generous with kindly words, especially about those who are absent.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Be above it! Make the world serve your purpose, but do not serve it.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

An unused life is an early death.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Character, in great and little things, means carrying through what you feel able to do.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

All theory, dear friend, is gray, but the golden tree of life springs ever green.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Common sense is the genius of humanity.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

All intelligent thoughts have already been thought; what is necessary is only to try to think them again.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Age merely shows what children we remain.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

A useless life is an early death.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

A really great talent finds its happiness in execution.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

A person places themselves on a level with the ones they praise.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

A person hears only what they understand.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

A noble person attracts noble people, and knows how to hold on to them.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

A man’s manners are a mirror in which he shows his portrait.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

A creation of importance can only be produced when its author isolates himself, it is a child of solitude.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

A correct answer is like an affectionate kiss.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

All things are only transitory.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Let everyone sweep in front of his own door, and the whole world will be clean.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Divide and rule, the politician cries; unite and lead, is watchword of the wise.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Mastery passes often for egotism.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Many people take no care of their money till they come nearly to the end of it, and others do just the same with their time.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Love does not dominate; it cultivates.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Love can do much, but duty more.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Love and desire are the spirit’s wings to great deeds.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Live dangerously and you live right.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Life is the childhood of our immortality.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Character is formed in the stormy billows of the world.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Music is either sacred or secular. The sacred agrees with its dignity, and here has its greatest effect on life, an effect that remains the same through all ages and epochs. Secular music should be cheerful throughout.

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

A clever man commits no minor blunders.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Know thyself? If I knew myself I would run away.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Just trust yourself, then you will know how to live.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Devote each day to the object then in time and every evening will find something done.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Destiny grants us our wishes, but in its own way, in order to give us something beyond our wishes.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Deeply earnest and thoughtful people stand on shaky footing with the public.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Death is a commingling of eternity with time; in the death of a good man, eternity is seen looking through time.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward; they may be beaten, but they may start a winning game.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Correction does much, but encouragement does more.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Life belongs to the living, and he who lives must be prepared for changes.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The world remains ever the same.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

In nature we never see anything isolated, but everything in connection with something else which is before it, beside it, under it and over it.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The intelligent man finds almost everything ridiculous, the sensible man hardly anything.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The little man is still a man.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The man who occupies the first place seldom plays the principal part.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The man with insight enough to admit his limitations comes nearest to perfection.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The mediator of the inexpressible is the work of art.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The most happy man is he who knows how to bring into relation the end and beginning of his life.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The people who are absent are the ideal; those who are present seem to be quite commonplace.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The person born with a talent they are meant to use will find their greatest happiness in using it.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The right man is the one who seizes the moment.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The hardest thing to see is what is in front of your eyes.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The unnatural, that too is natural.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The formation of one’s character ought to be everyone’s chief aim.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

There is a courtesy of the heart; it is allied to love. From its springs the purest courtesy in the outward behavior.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

There is nothing in the world more shameful than establishing one’s self on lies and fables.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

There is nothing in which people more betray their character than in what they laugh at.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

There is nothing insignificant in the world. It all depends on the point of view.

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

There is nothing so terrible as activity without insight.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and to put one’s thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Thinking is more interesting than knowing, but less interesting than looking.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

This is the highest wisdom that I own; freedom and life are earned by those alone who conquer them each day anew.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Those who hope for no other life are dead even for this.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

We cannot fashion our children after our desires, we must have them and love them as God has given them to us.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The soul that sees beauty may sometimes walk alone.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

To rule is easy, to govern difficult.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

It is after all the greatest art to limit and isolate oneself.

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

It is better to be deceived by one’s friends than to deceive them.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

It is in self-limitation that a master first shows himself.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

It is not doing the thing we like to do, but liking the thing we have to do, that makes life blessed.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

We are never further from what we wish than when we believe that we have what we wished for.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

We are never deceived; we deceive ourselves.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

We always have time enough, if we will but use it aright.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Upon the creatures we have made, we are, ourselves, at last, dependent.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Unlike grown ups, children have little need to deceive themselves.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Trust yourself, then you will know how to live.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The human mind will not be confined to any limits.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

To the person with a firm purpose all men and things are servants.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

In art the best is good enough.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

To hard necessity ones will and fancy must conform.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

To create something you must be something.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

To appreciate the noble is a gain which can never be torn from us.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The best government is that which teaches us to govern ourselves.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The biggest problem with every art is by the use of appearance to create a loftier reality.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The Christian religion, though scattered and abroad will in the end gather itself together at the foot of the cross.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The coward only threatens when he is safe.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The credit of advancing science has always been due to individuals and never to the age.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The decline of literature indicates the decline of a nation.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The deed is everything, the glory is naught.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

To witness two lovers is a spectacle for the gods.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Everybody wants to be somebody; nobody wants to grow.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

In the realm of ideas everything depends on enthusiasm… in the real world all rests on perseverance.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Hatred is active, and envy passive dislike; there is but one step from envy to hate.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Happiness is a ball after which we run wherever it rolls, and we push it with our feet when it stops.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Great thoughts and a pure heart, that is what we should ask from God.

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Go to foreign countries and you will get to know the good things one possesses at home.

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Girls we love for what they are; young men for what they promise to be.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Fresh activity is the only means of overcoming adversity.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

For just when ideas fail, a word comes in to save the situation.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

For a man to achieve all that is demanded of him he must regard himself as greater than he is.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

First and last, what is demanded of genius is love of truth.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

He is dead in this world who has no belief in another.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Everything in the world may be endured except continual prosperity.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

He is happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Every step of life shows much caution is required.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Every spoken word arouses our self-will.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Every person above the ordinary has a certain mission that they are called to fulfill.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Every day we should hear at least one little song, read one good poem, see one exquisite picture, and, if possible, speak a few sensible words.

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Every author in some way portrays himself in his works, even if it be against his will.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Error is acceptable as long as we are young; but one must not drag it along into old age.

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Doubt grows with knowledge.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Do not give in too much to feelings. A overly sensitive heart is an unhappy possession on this shaky earth.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Behavior is the mirror in which everyone shows their image.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Few people have the imagination for reality.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I think that I am better than the people who are trying to reform me.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Ignorant men raise questions that wise men answered a thousand years ago.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

If your treat an individual… as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

If you wish to know the mind of a man, listen to his words.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

If you start to think of your physical and moral condition, you usually find that you are sick.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

If you must tell me your opinions, tell me what you believe in. I have plenty of doubts of my own.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

If you modestly enjoy your fame you are not unworthy to rank with the holy.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

If I love you, what business is it of yours?

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

If God had wanted me otherwise, He would have created me otherwise.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

If children grew up according to early indications, we should have nothing but geniuses.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

If a man writes a book, let him set down only what he knows. I have guesses enough of my own.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Hatred is something peculiar. You will always find it strongest and most violent where there is the lowest degree of culture.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I will listen to anyone’s convictions, but pray keep your doubts to yourself.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

We can’t form our children on our own concepts; we must take them and love them as God gives them to us.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I never knew a more presumptuous person than myself. The fact that I say that shows that what I say is true.

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

I love those who yearn for the impossible.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I do not know myself, and God forbid that I should.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I can tell you, honest friend, what to believe: believe life; it teaches better that book or orator.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I call architecture frozen music.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

He who possesses art and science has religion; he who does not possess them, needs religion.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

He who has a task to perform must know how to take sides, or he is quite unworthy of it.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

He who enjoys doing and enjoys what he has done is happy.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

He who does not think much of himself is much more esteemed than he imagines.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

He only earns his freedom and his life Who takes them every day by storm.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

If a man or woman is born ten years sooner or later, their whole aspect and performance shall be different.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

It seems to never occur to fools that merit and good fortune are closely united.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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