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quotations about murder

Murder is unique in that it abolishes the party it injures, so that society has to take the place of the victim and on his behalf demand atonement or grant forgiveness; it is the one crime in which society has a direct interest.

W.H. AUDEN, The Dyer's Hand

Murder in the murderer is no such ruinous thought as poets and romancers will have it; it does not unsettle him, or fright him from his ordinary notice of trifles: it is an act quite easy to be contemplated, but in its sequel, it turns out to be a horrible jangle and confounding of all relations.


It's only in love and in murder that we still remain sincere.

FRIEDRICH DÜRRENMATT, Incident at Twilight

I say a murder is abstract. You pull the trigger and after that you do not understand anything that happens.


Murder’s out of tune,
And sweet revenge grows harsh.


I was in the war. I know how to kill. I was over there. I know how to do it. I've done it before. It's no big deal. You just make an adjustment. You convince yourself it's all right. That's all. It's easy. You just slaughter them.

SAM SHEPARD, Curse of the Starving Class

If your work is deathwork, one weapon is not enough, just as a plumber would not answer an urgent service call with a single wrench.

DEAN KOONTZ, Brother Odd

Even in killing men, observe the rules of propriety.

CONFUCIUS, The Wisdom of Confucius

If we believe that murder is wrong and not admissible in our society, then it has to be wrong for everyone, not just individuals but governments as well.

HELEN PREJEAN, Dead Man Walking

Man kills without ceasing, to nourish himself; but since in addition he needs to kill for pleasure, he has invented the chase! The child kills the insects he finds, the little birds, all the little animals that come in his way. But this does not suffice for the irresistible need of massacre that is in us. It is not enough to kill beasts; we must kill man too. Long ago this need was satisfied by human sacrifice. Now, the necessity of living in society has made murder a crime. We condemn and punish the assassin! But as we cannot live without yielding to this natural and imperious instinct of death, we relieve ourselves from time to time, by wars. Then a whole nation slaughters another nation. It is a feast of blood, a feast that maddens armies and intoxicates the civilians, women and children, who read, by lamplight at night, the feverish story of massacre.

GUY DE MAUPASSANT, "The Diary of a Madman

Murder is not some fictional conceit, imagined for the purpose of entertainment, but actually happens: and afterwards no credits roll, and life has to continue to be lived even if you have absolutely no idea where the deeds to the house are kept, or who services the lawn mower.


The sentence of the first murderer was pronounced by the Supreme Judge of the universe. Was it death? No, it was life. "A fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth;" and "Whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold."


When you have to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite.

WINSTON CHURCHILL, letter to the Japanese Ambassador, Dec. 8, 1941

Kill one man, and you are a murderer. Kill millions of men, and you are a conqueror. Kill them all, and you are a god.

JEAN ROSTAND, Thoughts of a Biologist

This is the law: blood spilt upon the ground cries out for more.

AESCHYLUS, The Libation Bearers

When I hear about people murdering, I wonder, What has to go through your brain to say, I don't want him breathing anymore? What makes you get that angry? How can you take someone's breath away? That just blows my mind.

GILBERT ARENAS, Esquire, Apr. 2010

For a deadly blow let him pay with a deadly blow; it is for him who has done a deed to suffer.

AESCHYLUS, The Libation Bearers

Watchful are the Gods of all
Hands with slaughter stained. The black
Furies wait, and when a man
Has grown by luck, not justice, great,
With sudden overturn of chance
They wear him to a shade, and, cast
Down to perdition, who shall save him?

AESCHYLUS, Agamemnon

Murder, like talent, seems occasionally to run in families.

GEORGE HENRY LEWES, The Physiology of Common Life

Killing is not nearly as easy as the innocent believe.

J. K. ROWLING, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Murder is an inherently evil act, no matter what the circumstances, no matter how convincing the rationalizations.


The unwary, unlucky, and sometimes grossly foolish, can become murder victims in myriad ways. Drug deals go bad and turn into violent shootouts; women and children of both sexes are murdered by rapists; serial killers troll for male and female prostitutes, barroom pickups, or hitchhikers; longtime drinking buddies kill each other in drunken brawls; men and women are shot down for a few dollars after making withdrawels at ATM machines; others die in coldly-calculated, carefully-planned executions; and family members are turning on each other with increasing frequency. It is a continual struggle between good and evil that provides plotlines for countless movies, television series, newspapers, and books.


It's harder to kill people. The empathy is so much stronger that the mind must invent new reasons. But, if we can somehow link it to our own survival, the mind will make the devious twists and turns necessary to rationalize it. We're very good at that.

JEAN M. AUEL, The Shelters of Stone

That blood which thou hast spill'd, should join you closely in an eternal bond.



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