quotations about hypocrisy
For neither man nor angel can discern
Hypocrisy, the only evil that walks
Invisible, except to God alone.
JOHN MILTON, Paradise Lost
Every man alone is sincere. At the entrance of a second person, hypocrisy begins.
RALPH WALDO EMERSON, "Friendship," Essays
No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.
NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE, The Scarlet Letter
O, what may man within him hide,
Though angel on the outward side!
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, Measure for Measure
Nothing is more revealing of an age than its hypocrisies.
JAMES LAVER, "Fashion: A Detective Story", Vogue Magazine, January 1, 1959
Hypocrisy is the resin that holds the plywood of society together.
SCOTT MEYER, Help Is on the Way
O serpent heart, hid with a flowering face!
Did ever a dragon keep so fair a cave?
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, Romeo and Juliet
Life is a passion for masks. The Kiss of Judas on the forehead of the Lord came out of the heart of man. Each of us desires to seem the thing he is not. It is a life-instinct. Hypocrisy, whether conceived as Maya, the god of illusion, whose work goes on forever and whose lies are sublime and transfiguring, or whether conceived as Pecksniff, who covered his feelers and snatchers with the parson's white gloves, is the one unpunishable sin. Hypocrisy spells success. Whether sublime or mean, it is the primal element in the will-to-live. Therefore I praise hypocrisy and glorify the hypocrite.
BENJAMIN DE CASSERES, "The Philosophy of Hypocrisy", The International, Volumes 8-11
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.
JESUS, Matthew 23:25
Society mediates between the extremes of, on the one hand, intolerably strict morality and, on the other, dangerously anarchic permissiveness through an unspoken agreement whereby we are given leave to bend the rules of the strictest morality, provided we do so quietly and discreetly. Hypocrisy is the grease that keeps society functioning in an agreeable way, by allowing for human fallibility and reconciling the seemingly irreconcilable human needs for order and pleasure.
JANET MALCOLM, The Journalist and the Murderer
If Satan ever laughs, it must be at hypocrites; they are the greatest dupes he has; they serve him better than any others, and receive no wages.
CHARLES CALEB COLTON, Lacon
An immoral character, glossed with religious pretention, is like a rotten egg with an Easter coloring.
LEWIS F. KORNS, Thoughts
It does not follow that a man is a hypocrite because his actions give the lie to his words. If he at one time seems a saint, and at other times a sinner, he possibly is both in reality, as well as in appearance. A person may be fond of vice and of virtue too; and practice one or the other, according to the temptation of the moment.
WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characteristics
The accomplished hypocrite does not exercise his skill upon every possible occasion for the sake of acquiring facility in the use of his instruments. In all unimportant matters, who is more just, more upright, more candid, more honourable?
ARTHUR HELPS, Thoughts in the Cloister and the Crowd
I hate that man like the very Gates of Death who says one thing but hides another in his heart.
HOMER, The Iliad
Every veil secretly desires to be lifted, except the veil of Hypocrisy.
RICHARD GARNETT, De Flagello Myrtes
But then I sigh; and, with a piece of scripture,
Tell them that God bids us do good for evil:
And thus I clothe my naked villainy
With old odd ends stolen out of holy writ;
And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, Richard III
The hypocrite sounds a trumpet before his alms, and chooses the corner of the streets for his prayers. To him virtue in the dark is almost a vice, he can never detect any beauty in virtue, unless she has a thousand eyes to look upon her, and then she is something indeed.
CHARLES H. SPURGEON, The Spurgeon Series: 1859 & 1860
Hypocrisy is a tribute that vice pays to virtue.
FRANCOIS DE LA ROCHEFOUCAULD, Maxims
I hope you have not been leading a double life, pretending to be wicked and being good all the time. That would be hypocrisy.
OSCAR WILDE, The Importance of Being Earnest