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Quotations about character

Joseph CampbellOur life evokes our character and you find out more about yourself as you go on.

 - Joseph Campbell

Abraham LincolnNearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.

 - Abraham Lincoln

ConfuciusThe superior man examines his heart, that there may be nothing wrong there, and that he may have no cause for dissatisfaction with himself.

 - Confucius

Booker WashingtonCharacter, not circumstances, makes the man.

 - Booker T. Washington

Marilyn MonroeThe truth is I've never fooled anyone. I've let people fool themselves. They didn't bother to find out who and what I was. Instead they would invent a character for me. I wouldn't argue with them. They were obviously loving somebody I wasn't. When they found this out, they would blame me for disillusioning them and fooling them.

 - Marilyn Monroe

Joseph AddisonVanity is the natural weakness of an ambitious man, which exposes him to the secret scorn and derision of those he converses with, and ruins the character he is so industrious to advance by it.

 - Joseph Addison

Men are not to be judged by their looks, habits, and appearances, but by the character of their lives and conversations. 'Tis better that a man's own works than another man's words should praise him.

 - Roger L'Estrange

platoMisanthropy ariseth from a man trusting another without having sufficient knowledge of his character, and, thinking him to be truthful, sincere, and honorable, finds a little afterwards that he is wicked, faithless, and then he meets with another of the same character. When a man experiences this often, and more particularly from those whom he considered his most dear and best friends, at last, having frequently made a slip, he hates the whole world, and thinks that there is nothing sound at all in any of them.

 - Plato

Plutarch  It is an observation no less just than common that there is no stronger test of a man's real character than power and authority, exciting, as they do, every passion, and discovering every latent vice.

 - Plutarch

Henry Wadsworth LongfellowIn character, in manners, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity.

 - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Johann Wolfgang von GoetheTalents are best nurtured in solitude; character is best formed in the stormy billows of the world.

 - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Matthew ArnoldThe power of the Latin classic is in character, that of the Greek is in beauty. Now character is capable of being taught, learned, and assimilated: beauty hardly.

 - Matthew Arnold

Ralph Waldo EmersonThe wise know that foolish legislation is a rope of sand which perishes in the twisting; that the State must follow and not lead the character and progress of the citizen; . . . that the form of government which prevails is the expression of what cultivation exists in the population which permits it. The law is only a memorandum.

 - Ralph Waldo Emerson

John AdamsLiberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right. . .and a desire to know; but besides this, they have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean of the characters and conduct of their rulers.

 - John Adams

Martin Luther KingThe ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

 - Martin Luther King

Henry FordLife is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though sometimes it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward.

 - Henry Ford

Khalil GibranOut of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.

 - Khalil Gibran

Horace Wise were the kings who never chose a friend till with full cups they had unmasked his soul, and seen the bottom of his deepest thoughts.

 - Horace

Michel de MontaigneCourtesy is a science of the highest importance. It is, like grace and beauty in the body, which charm at first sight, and lead on to further intimacy and friendship, opening a door that we may derive instruction from the example of others, and at the same time enabling us to benefit them by our example, if there be anything in our character worthy of imitation.

 - Michel de Montaigne

Michel de MontaigneI care not so much what I am in the opinion of others as what I am in my own; I would be rich of myself and not by borrowing.

 - Michel de Montaigne

Helen KellerCharacter cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.

 - Helen Keller

Some day, in years to come, you will be wrestling with the great temptation, or trembling under the great sorrow of your life. But the real struggle is here, now, in these quiet weeks. Now it is being decided whether, in the day of your supreme sorrow or temptation, you shall miserably fail or gloriously conquer. Character cannot be made except by a steady, long-continued process.

 - Phillips Brooks

Character contributes to beauty. It fortifies a woman as her youth fades. A mode of conduct, a standard of courage, discipline, fortitude and integrity can do a great deal to make a woman beautiful.

 - Jacqueline Bisset

Character is not cut in marble -- it is not something solid and unalterable. It is something living and changing, and may become diseased as our bodies do.

 - George Eliot

The hell to be endured hereafter, of which theology tells, is no worse than the hell we make for ourselves in this world by habitually fashioning our characters in the wrong way.

 - William James

Immanuel KantHe who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.

 - Immanuel Kant

Abraham LincolnCharacter is like a tree and reputation its shadow. The shadow is what we think it is: the tree is the real thing.

 - Abraham Lincoln

Ralph Waldo EmersonWhat lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

 - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Character isn't inherited. One builds it daily by the way one thinks and acts, thought by thought, action by action. If one lets fear or hate or anger take possession of the mind, they become self-forged chains.

 - Helen Douglas

Joan DidionCharacter -- the willingness to accept responsibility for one's own life -- is the source from which self-respect springs.

 - Joan Didion

Such as are thy habitual thoughts, such also will be the character of thy soul - for the soul is dyed by the thoughts. Dye it then, with a continuous series of such thoughts as these - that where a man can live, there if he will, he can also live well.

 - Marcus Antonius

Mark TwainThe chances are that a man cannot get into congress now without resorting to arts and means that should render him unfit to go there.

 - Mark Twain