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TENNESSEE WILLIAMS QUOTES II

I'm a poet. And then I put the poetry in the drama. I put it in short stories, and I put it in the plays. Poetry's poetry. It doesn't have to be called a poem, you know.

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, The Paris Review, fall 1981

Hysteria is a natural phenomenon, the common denominator of the female nature. It's the big female weapon, and the test of a man is his ability to cope with it.

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, The Night of the Iguana

Love is a very difficult -- occupation. You got to work at it, man. It ain't a thing every Tom, Dick and Harry has got a true aptitude for.

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, Period of Adjustment

I believe the way to write a good play is to convince yourself it is easy to do--then go ahead and do it with ease. Don't maul, don't suffer, don't groan till the first draft is finished. A play is a pheonix and it dies a thousand deaths. Usually at night. In the morning it springs up again from its ashes and crows like a happy rooster. It is never as bad as you think, it is never as good. It is somewhere in between, and success or failure depends on which end of your emotional gamut concerning its value it approaches more closely. But it is much more likely to be good if you think it is wonderful while you are writing the first draft. An artist must believe in himself. Your belief is contagious. Others may say he is vain, but they are affected.

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, Notebooks

The helpless can't help the helpless.

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, The Night of the Iguana

We are all of us born, live and die in the shadow of a giant question mark that refers to three questions: Where do we come from? Why? And where, oh where, are we going!

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, Period of Adjustment

Sorrow makes for sincerity, I think.

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, A Streetcar Named Desire

There's no better credit card in the world than driving up at a bank door in a Cadillac limousine.

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, Period of Adjustment

Everything has its shadowy side.

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, The Night of the Iguana

The process by which the idea for a play comes to me has always been something I really couldn't pinpoint. A play just seems to materialize; like an apparition, it gets clearer and clearer and clearer. It's very vague at first, as in the case of Streetcar, which came after Menagerie. I simply had the vision of a woman in her late youth. She was sitting in a chair all alone by a window with the moonlight streaming in on her desolate face, and she’d been stood up by the man she planned to marry.

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, The Paris Review, fall 1981

The human heart would never pass the drunk test.... If you took the human heart out of the human body and put a pair of legs on it and told it to walk a straight line, it couldn't do it.

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, Period of Adjustment

A bitch is no match for a lady except in a brass bed, honey, and sometimes not even there.

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, The Night of the Iguana

Walls are built up between people a hell of a damn sight faster than--broken down.

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, Period of Adjustment

Eternity! Didn't it give you the cold shivers?

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, Summer and Smoke

I don't mean what other people mean when they speak of a home, because I don't regard a home as a ... well, as a place, a building ... a house ... of wood, bricks, stone. I think of a home as being a thing that two people have between them in which each can ... well, nest.

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, The Night of the Iguana

Memory takes a lot of poetic license. It omits some details; others are exaggerated, according to the emotional value of the articles it touches, for memory is seated predominantely in the heart.

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, The Glass Menagerie

Lead them beside still waters because you know how badly they need still waters.

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, The Night of the Iguana

What shouldn't you do if you're a young playwright? Don’t bore the audience! I mean, even if you have to resort to totally arbitrary killing on stage, or pointless gunfire, at least it'll catch their attention and keep them awake. Just keep the thing going any way you can.

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, The Paris Review, fall 1981

We live on two levels ... the realistic level and the fantastic level, and which is the real one, really?

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, The Night of the Iguana

Youth must be wanton, youth must be quick,
Dance to the candle while lasteth the wick.

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, The Night of the Iguana

Marriage is an economic arrangement in many ways, let's face it.

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, Period of Adjustment

Accept whatever situation you cannot improve.

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, The Night of the Iguana

I don't think a married couple can go through life without laughs together any more than they can without tears.

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, Period of Adjustment

The decline of the Western world began with the invention of the wheel.

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, The Night of the Iguana

A bedroom is just as nice as whoever sleeps in it with you.

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, Period of Adjustment

If I got rid of my demons, I'd lose my angels.

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, Conversations with Tennessee Williams

Some mystery should be left in the revelation of character in a play, just as a great deal of mystery is always left in the revelation of character in life, even in one's own character to himself.

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, stage directions, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Hell is yourself, and the only redemption is when a person puts himself aside to feel deeply for another person.

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, attributed, Modern American Literature: Volume V

Guessing isn't knowing.

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, The Night of the Iguana


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