Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Quotes

If you’re looking for some words of wisdom, look no further than these Johann Wolfgang von Goethe quotes. This German author and statesman had some insightful things to say about life, love, and happiness. Here are some of our favorite quotes from this literary legend.

goethe quotes

Goethe was born in 1749 in Frankfurt, Germany. He was a prodigy, learning to read and write at an early age. He attended law school, but his true passion was literature. Goethe’s life was full of adventure and he was constantly traveling. He was a prolific writer, publishing novels, plays, and poetry.

His work was highly respected and influential. His work helped shape the course of German literature. Goethe was also an accomplished artist and scientist. He was a highly-respected figure in his day and his work continues to be studied and appreciated today.

It is clear that Goethe was a towering figure in German literature and thought. But his influence was not limited to one country or era. He was respected by writers and thinkers all over the world, and his work continues to be studied and admired.

What is it that makes Goethe so important? One reason is that he was able to bridge the gap between the classical and the modern worlds. He was deeply rooted in the classical tradition, but he was also open to new ideas and new ways of thinking. This made him a pioneer in many areas, and his work has been a source of inspiration for subsequent generations.

Another reason for Goethe‘s importance is his range as a writer. He was not just a poet or a dramatist; he was also a philosopher, a scientist, and a politician. This enabled him to explore a wide range of topics and to address complex issues in a way that was both informative and entertaining.

In the end, it is probably the combination of these factors that makes Goethe so unique. He was a thinker and a writer of the highest caliber, and his work is still relevant today.

Here are some of our favorite Johann Wolfgang von Goethe quotes to get you inspired.

goethe quotes on love

110 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Quotes

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

2. “I love those who yearn for the impossible.”

3. “One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.”

4. “You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.”

5. “A man sees in the world what he carries in his heart.”

6. “Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.”

7. “If you treat an individual as he is, he will remain how he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.”

8. “We do not have to visit a madhouse to find disordered minds; our planet is the mental institution of the universe.”

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

10. “There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.”

11. “I have possessed that heart, that noble soul, in whose presence I seemed to be more than I really was, because I was all that I could be.”

12. “A person hears only what they understand.”

13. “Daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward. They may be beaten, but they may start a winning game.”

johann goethe quotes

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Quotes on Life

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

15. “If you’ve never eaten while crying you don t know what life tastes like.”

16. “Know thyself? If I knew myself, I’d run away.”

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

18. “If I love you, what business is it of yours?”

19. “Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength.”

20. “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”

21. “To think is easy. To act is hard. But the hardest thing in the world is to act in accordance with your thinking.”

22. “Enjoy when you can, and endure when you must.”

23. “There are but two roads that lead to an important goal and to the doing of great things: strength and perseverance. Strength is the lot of but a few priveledged men; but austere perseverance, harsh and continuous, may be employed by the smallest of us and rarely fails of its purpose, for its silent power grows irresistibly greater with time.”

24. “The way you see people is the way you treat them, and the way you treat them is what they become.”

goethe famous quotes

Famous Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Quotes

25. “There is nothing worse than aggressive stupidity.”

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

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

28. “We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.”

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

30. “The best slave is the one who thinks he is free.”

31. “Fresh activity is the only means of overcoming adversity.”

32. “Nothing is worth more than this day.”

33. “The coward only threatens when he is safe.”

34. “We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise, we harden.”

35. “Talent develops in solitude, character develops in the stream of life.”

Best Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Quotes

36. “The world is so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers & cities; but to know someone who thinks & feels with us, & who, though distant, is close to us in spirit, this makes the earth for us an inhabited garden.”

37. “Misunderstandings and neglect occasion more mischief in the world than malice and wickedness.”

38. “I wait for the morning of my tears.”

39. “Live dangerously and you live right.”

40. “The mediator of the inexpressible is the work of art.”

41. “People who think honestly and deeply have a hostile attitude towards the public.”

42. “A really great talent finds its happiness in execution.”

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

44. “Everything is hard before it is easy”

Positive Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Quotes

45. “We all of us live upon the past, and through the past we are destroyed.”

46. “A word spoken is a terrible thing when it suddenly utters what the heart has long allowed.”

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

48. “Everything transitory is but an image.”

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

50. “The highest goal that man can achieve is amazement.”

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

52. “This is the true measure of love: when we believe that we alone can love, that no one could ever have loved so before us, and that no one will ever love in the same way after us.”

53. “The greatest evil that can befall man is that he should come to think ill of himself.”

54. “The decline of literature indicates the decline of a nation.”

Mind Provoking Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Quotes

55. “Behavior is the mirror in which everyone shows their image.”

56. “When we treat man as he is we make him worse than he is.

57. When we treat him as if he already was what he potentially could be

56. We make him what he should be.”

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

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

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

60. “All truly wise thoughts have been thought already thousands of times; but to make them truly ours, we must think them over again honestly, until they take root in our personal experience.”

61. “Love is an ideal thing, marriage a real thing; a confusion of the real with the ideal never goes unpunished.”

62. “The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we are moving.”

63. “To rule is easy, to govern difficult.”

Mind changing Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Quotes

64. “I am proud of my heart alone, it is the sole source of everything, all our strength, happiness and misery. All the knowledge I possess everyone else can acquire, but my heart is all my own”

65. “Tell me with whom you consort and I will tell you who you are; if I know how you spend your time, then I know what might become of you.”

66. “Few people have the imagination for reality.”

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

68. “The intelligent man finds everything laughable, the sensible man hardly anything.”

69. “There is nothing more dreadful than imagination without taste.”

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

71. “Difficulties increase the nearer we get to the goal.”

72. “One mind is enough for a thousand hands.”

73. “To be loved for what one is, that is the greatest exception. The great majority love in others only what they lend him; their own selves, their version of him.”

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

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Quotes on Love, Dreams and Happiness

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

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

77. “There is nothing in which people more betray their character than in what they find to laugh at.”

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

79. “Love does not dominate; it cultivates.”

80. “What is uttered from the heart alone will win the heart of others to your own.”

81. “Sometimes I don’t understand how another can love her, is allowed to love her, since I love her so completely myself, so intensely, so fully, grasp nothing, know nothing, have nothing but her!”

82. “Every reader, if he has a strong mind, reads himself into the book, and amalgamates his thoughts with those of the author.”

83. “Since you know me and my destiny only too well, you probably also know what attracts me to all unfortunate people.”

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

85. “One can stand anything except a succession of ordinary days.”

86. “To create something you must be something.”

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

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

89. “Everybody wants to be somebody,but nobody wants to grow… ”

90. “Nothing is worse than active ignorance.”

91. “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.”

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

93. “We are never deceived; we deceive ourselves. ”

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

95. “When she sees the leaves fall, they raise no other idea in her mind than that winter is approaching.”

96. “Where the light is brightest, the shadows are deepest.”

97. “The suffering may be moral or physical; and in my opinion it is just as absurd to call a man a coward who destroys himself, as to call a man a coward who dies of a malignant fever.”

98. “Every day I observe more and more the folly of judging of others by ourselves; and I have so much trouble with myself, and my own heart is in such constant agitation, that I am well content to let others pursue their own course, if they only allow me the same privilege.”

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

100. “The more one knows, the more one comprehends, the more one realizes that everything turns in a circle.”

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

102. “Whatever you cannot understand, you cannot possess. ”

103. “That I be not as those are who spend the day in complaining of headache and the night in drinking the wine which gives the headache!”

104. “Nothing is worth more than this day. You cannot relive yesterday. Tomorrow is still beyond your reach.”

105. “A person who does not know the history of the last 3,000 years wanders in the darkness of ignorance, unable to make sense of the reality around him”

106. “What we agree with leaves us inactive, but contradiction makes us productive.”

107. “He who cannot draw on three thousand years is living from hand to mouth.”

108. “Love grants in a moment what toil can hardly achieve in an age.”

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

110. “Just trust yourself and you’ll learn the art of living.”

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