Notable Quotes
Browse quotes by subject | Browse quotes by author


British dramatist (1930-2008)

If you have only one of something you can't say it's the best of anything.


When the storm is over and night falls and the moon is out in all its glory and all you're left with is the rhythm of the sea, of the waves, you know what God intended for the human race, you know what paradise is.


I know little of women. But I've heard dread tales.


I made a terrible mistake when I was young, I think, from which I've never really recovered. I wrote the word "pause" into my first play.

HAROLD PINTER, interview, Oct. 1989

There are some things one remembers even though they may never have happened.


Be careful how you talk about God. He's the only God we have. If you let him go he won't come back. He won't even look back over his shoulder. And then what will you do?

HAROLD PINTER, Ashes to Ashes

I've had my fill of these city guttersnipes--all that scavenging scum! They're the sort of people, who, if the gates of heaven opened to them, all they'd feel would be a draught.


I'm not committed as a writer, in the usual sense of the term, either religiously or politically. And I'm not conscious of any particular social function. I write because I want to write. I don't see any placards on myself, and I don't carry any banners.

HAROLD PINTER, introduction, Harold Pinter Complete Works: 2

Rationality went down the drain donkey's years ago and hasn't been seen since.


I don't give a damn what other people think. It's entirely their own business. I'm not writing for other people.

HAROLD PINTER, interview, Dec. 1971

Nothing is more sterile or lamentable than the man content to live within himself.


The past is a mist.


How can the unknown merit reverence?

HAROLD PINTER, The Homecoming

I sometimes wish desperately that I could write like someone else, be someone else. No one particularly. Just if I could put the pen down on paper and suddenly come out in a totally different way.

HAROLD PINTER, interview, Dec. 1971

Referees are the law. They have a whistle. They blow it. And that whistle is the articulation of God's justice.


I hate brandy ... it stinks of modern literature.


I don't write with any audience in mind. I just write. I take a chance on the audience. That's what I did originally, and I think it's worked--in the sense that I find there is an audience.

HAROLD PINTER, introduction, Harold Pinter Complete Works: 2

I mean, if a thing works, if a thing is right, respect that, acknowledge it, respect it and hold to it.


I would never use obscene language in the office. Certainly not. I kept my obscene language for the home, where it belongs.


Language in art remains a highly ambiguous transaction, a quicksand, a trampoline, a frozen pool which might give way under you ... at any time.

HAROLD PINTER, Nobel Prize acceptance speech, 2005

You do have a leash, finally, as a writer. You're holding a dog. You let the dog run about. But you finally can pull him back. Finally, I'm in control. But the great excitement is to see what happens if you let the whole thing go. And the dog or the character really runs about, bites everyone in sight, jumps up trees, falls into lakes, gets wet, and you let that happen. That's the excitement of writing plays--to allow the thing to be free but still hold the final leash.

HAROLD PINTER, The Progressive, Mar. 2001

Quite often I have a compelling sense of how a role should be played. And I'm proved—equally as often—quite wrong.

HAROLD PINTER, The Paris Review, fall 1966

What all this adds up to is a disease at the very centre of language, so that language becomes a permanent masquerade, a tapestry of lies. The ruthless and cynical mutilation and degradation of human beings, both in spirit and body, the death of countless thousands -- these actions are justified by rhetorical gambits, sterile terminology and concepts of power which stink. Are we ever going to look at the language we use, I wonder? Is it within our capabilities to do so?

HAROLD PINTER, "Oh, Superman," Opinion, BBC Channel 4, May 31, 1990

I thought the plays would speak for themselves. But they didn't.

HAROLD PINTER, The Progressive, Mar. 2001

Watching first nights, though I've seen quite a few by now, is never any better. It's a nerve-racking experience. It's not a question of whether the play goes well or badly. It's not the audience reaction, it's my reaction. I'm rather hostile toward audiences—I don't much care for large bodies of people collected together. Everyone knows that audiences vary enormously; it's a mistake to care too much about them. The thing one should be concerned with is whether the performance has expressed what one set out to express in writing the play. It sometimes does.

HAROLD PINTER, The Paris Review, fall 1966

Browse Harold Pinter Quotes II

Harold Pinter - a biography.

Quotes on Absurdism - a collection of quotations on the Theatre of the Absurd.

Theatre of the Absurd - a history and analysis of this dramatic movement, which includes the work of such dramatists as Beckett, Ionecso, Genet and Pinter.

Three Plays of the Absurd - In this collection of plays, Walter Wykes creates a series of modern myths, tapping into something in the strata of the subconscious, through ritualism and rich, poetic language. The worlds he creates are brand new and hilarious, yet each contains an ancient horror we all know and cannot escape and have never been able to hang one definitive word on.


Life Quotes

Love Quotes

Death Quotes

God Quotes

Wisdom Quotes

Hope Quotes

Success Quotes

Women Quotes

Happiness Quotes

Shakespeare Quotes