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quotations about cruelty

Cruelty would be delicious if one could only find some sort of cruelty that didn’t really hurt.


Cruelty is, perhaps, the worst kid of sin.

G.K. CHESTERTON, All Things Considered

Cruelty, very far from being a vice, is the first sentiment Nature injects in us all.

MARQUIS DE SADE, Philosophy in the Bedroom

Intelligent men are cruel. Stupid men are monstrously cruel.

JACK LONDON, The Star Rover

Fear is the parent of cruelty.

JAMES ANTHONY FROUDE, Short Studies on Great Subjects

Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.

BERTRAND RUSSELL, An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish

There is no beast more cruel than man.


Probably human cruelty is fixed and eternal. Only styles change.

MARTIN AMIS, Time's Arrow

When the cruel fall into the hands of the cruel, we read their fate with horror, not with pity.


The infliction of cruelty with a good conscience is a delight to moralists. That is why they invented Hell.

BERTRAND RUSSELL, Sceptical Essays

I must be cruel, only to be kind;
Thus bad begins, and worse remains behind.


Cruelty constitutes the greatest moral distance at which an intelligent creature can be removed from a God of forbearance and mercy.

ELIZA COOK, Diamond Dust

In a cruel land, you either learned to laugh at cruelty or spent your life weeping.

ROBERT JORDAN, A Crown of Swords

There's more fellowship among snakes than among mankind.
Wild beasts spare those with similar markings.

JUVENAL, Satires

The Angel of mercy stoppeth not to comfort, but passeth by on the other side, and hath no tear to shed when the cruel man is damned.

MARTIN FARQUHAR TUPPER, "Of Cruelty to Animals," Poems of King Alfred

The man or boy who will be cruel to the tiniest of God's creatures, cannot be trusted to be tender even to his sister or his child; but he whose large brave heart cares for the feeblest, is always ready to help and comfort any who may need his aid and sympathy.

JULIA A. MATHEWS, attributed, Day's Collacon

Cruelty towards others is always also cruelty towards ourselves.

PAUL TILLICH, attributed, Wisdom for the Soul

It was woman that taught me cruelty, and on woman therefore I have exercised it.


Cruelty is the law pervading all nature and society; and we can't get out of it if we would.

THOMAS HARDY, Jude the Obscure

The dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty.

PSALMS 74:20

Cruelty and fear shake hands together.

BALZAC, attributed, Day's Collacon

Man is the cruelest animal. At tragedies, bullfights, and crucifixions he has so far felt best on earth; and when he invented hell for himself, behold, that was his heaven on earth.

FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE, Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Man's inhumanity to man
Makes countless thousands mourn!

ROBERT BURNS, Man Was Made to Mourn

Darkness is the fit hour for beasts of prey, and ignorance the natural dwelling place of cruelty.

C. H. SPURGEON, Treasury of David

All cruel people describe themselves as paragons of frankness.

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore

Inhumanity is caught from man,
From smiling man.

EDWARD YOUNG, Night Thoughts

Cruelty ever proceeds from a vile mind, and often from a cowardly heart.


To exult over the miseries of an unhappy creature is inhuman.

HUGH BLAIR, The Beauties of Blair

Cruelty is the first attribute of the devil.

NANI, attributed, Day's Collacon

Man is worse than an animal when he is an animal.


Nature has, herself, I fear, imprinted in man a kind of instinct to inhumanity.

MONTAIGNE, "Of Cruelty," Essays

All cruelty springs from weakness.


Is cruelty a moral judgment if it is fundamental to forms of life? Who is man to say that the workings of nature, and therefore of the divine plan of which he himself is part, are cruel?

CHARLES A. LINDBERGH, "The Primitive Passing," Autobiography of Values

Detested sport,
That owes its pleasures to another's pain.


Nothing can be more contrary to nature, to reason, to religion, than cruelty; hence as inhuman man is generally considered as a monster; such monsters, however, have existed; and the heart almost bleeds at the recital of the cruel acts such have been guilty of; it teaches us, however, what human nature is when left to itself; not only treacherous, but desperately wicked.

CHARLES BUCK, Miscellaneous Works of the Rev. Charles Buck

Man's inhumanity to man makes countless thousands do likewise.

EVAN ESAR, 20,000 Quips & Quotes

Shame upon thee, savage Monarch-man, proud monopolist of reason;
Shame upon Creation's lord, the fierce ensanguined despot:
What, man! are there not enough, hunger, and diseases and fatigue--
And yet must thy goad or thy thong add another sorrow to existence?

MARTIN FARQUHAR TUPPER, "Of Cruelty to Animals," Poems of King Alfred

We ought never to sport with pain and distress in any of our amusements, or treat even the meanest insect with wanton cruelty.

HUGH BLAIR, The Beauties of Blair

Man is subject to innumerable pains and sorrows by the very condition of humanity, and yet, as if nature had not sown evils enough in life, we are continually adding grief to grief and aggravating the common calamity by our cruel treatment of one another.


We can never be gods, after all--but we can become something less than human with frightening ease.

N. K. JEMISIN, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms


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