Death Tropes/Quotes

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As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.

For no sooner do we begin to live in this dying body, than we begin to move ceaselessly towards death. For in the whole course of this life (if life we must call it) its mutability tends towards death. Certainly there is no one who is not nearer it this year than last year, and to-morrow than to-day, and to-day than yesterday, and a short while hence than now, and now than a short while ago.

Saint Augustine

Time is not what you think. Dying? Not the end of everything. We think it is. But what happens on earth is only the beginning.

Mitch Ablom

The end of birth is death; the end of death
Is birth: this is ordained! and mournest thou,
Chief of the stalwart arm! for what befalls
Which could not otherwise befall?

There is nothing frightening about an eternal dreamless sleep. Surely it is better than eternal torment in Hell and eternal boredom in Heaven.

I haven't earned my heavenly reward and I don't deserve eternal damnation. All I want is some peaceful rest.

Paul Smith

Ancient Egyptians believed that upon death they would be asked two questions and their answers would determine whether they could continue their journey in the afterlife. The first question was, "Did you bring joy?"
The second was, "Did you find joy?"

Leo Buscaglia (who was not an expert in Egyptian religion)

Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome.

Isaac Asimov

I long for death, not because I seek peace, but because I seek the war eternal.

Cardinal Armandus Helfire, "Reflections on the Long Death", Warhammer 40,000

Curse the death in vain.

Imperial ProverbWarhammer 40,000

Don't think of it as dying. Just think of it as leaving early to avoid the rush.

—Death, Good Omens

Mort: My granny says that dying is like going to sleep.
Death: I wouldn't know. I have done neither.

Terry PratchettMort

It's the dream where you fall in six foot deep hole!

Running Wild"Black Wings of Death"

I am tired of tears and laughter
And men that laugh and weep;
Of what may come hereafter
For men that sow to reap:
I am tired of days and hours,
Blown buds of barren flowers,
Desires and dreams and powers
And everything but sleep.
From too much love of living,
From hope and fear set free,
We thank with brief thanksgiving
Whatever gods may be
That no life lives for ever;
That dead men rise up never;
That even the weariest river
Winds somewhere safe to sea.

Algernon Charles SwinburneThe Garden of Proserpine

Charles Bronson: Is this revenge because I killed your father?
Jan-Michael Vincent: You killed him? I thought he just died.

Death is nothing to us, since while we exist, death is not present, and whenever death is present, we do not exist.


Edgar: Men must endure, their going hence even as their coming hither. Ripeness is all.

Guiderius: Fear no more the heat o' the sun,
Nor the furious winter's rages;
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages:
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.

Arviragus: Fear no more the frown o' the great;
Thou art past the tyrant's stroke;
Care no more to clothe and eat;
To thee the reed is as the oak:
The sceptre, learning, physic, must
All follow this, and come to dust.

Anything you can turn your hand to, do with what power you have; for there will be no work, nor reason, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the nether world where you are going.

A slumber did my spirit seal;
I had no human fears:
She seemed a thing that could not feel
The touch of earthly years.

No motion has she now, no force;
She neither hears nor sees;
Rolled round in earth's diurnal course,
With rocks, and stone, and trees.

William WordsworthA slumber did my spirit seal

Every breath we draw wards off the death that is constantly intruding upon us. In this way we fight with it every moment, and again, at longer intervals, through every meal we eat, every sleep we take, every time we warm ourselves. In the end, death must conquer, for we became subject to him through birth, and he only plays for a little while with his prey before he swallows it up. We pursue our life, however, with great interest and much solicitude as long as possible, as we blow out a soap-bubble as long and as large as possible, although we know perfectly well that it will burst.

Arthur SchopenhauerThe World as Will and Representation

There was a time in my own melodramatic boyhood when I became quite fastidious in this respect. I would look at the first chapter of any new novel as a final test of its merits. If there was a murdered man under the sofa in the first chapter, I read the story. If there was no murdered man under the sofa in the first chapter, I dismissed the story as tea-table twaddle, which it often really was. But we all lose a little of that fine edge of austerity and idealism which sharpened our spiritual standard in our youth. I have come to compromise with the tea-table and to be less insistent about the sofa. As long as a corpse or two turns up in the second, the third, nay even the fourth or fifth chapter, I make allowance for human weakness, and I ask no more. As soon as one is born, one starts dying. But a novel without any death in it is still to me a novel without any life in it.

"As soon as one is born, one starts dying."

—Luigi Pirandello, Henry VI

Every year we pass the anniversary of our death.

Death is nature's way of saying "Howdy."

Death don't come knocking at the door. It's there in the morning when you wake up. Did you ever clip your fingernails, cut your hair? Then you experience death.

Death is just nature's way of telling you, "Hey, you're not alive anymore."

—Bull, Night Court

Essentially, evil is greed. Greed for power, greed for control, greed for property, greed for sex. Sex is an excuse for death. We only have sex because we die. If we didn't die, we wouldn't need to reproduce. So every time you're aroused by the shape of a woman's hips or a flick of her hair, that's simply because we are going to die. The whole thing is fueled by death.

—Robyn Hitchcock

As the poets have mournfully sung,
Death takes the innocent young,
The rolling in money, the screamingly funny,
And those who are very well hung.

Death is just God's way of telling you not to be a wise guy.

A live body and a dead body contain the same number of particles. Structurally, there's no discernible difference. Life and death are unquantifiable abstracts. Why should I be concerned?

Death is just the ultimate expression of radical solipsism.

Ella, Ella, Ella... Never knock on death's door... Ring the doorbell and run away. Death really hates that.

No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

"Death is like finding the last jellybean in you bag... you wish you had more, but you don't."

—From the "Barbarian Verses"

We sometimes congratulate ourselves at the moment of waking from a troubled dream; it may be so at the moment after death.

—Nathaniel Hawthorne

"Those who welcome death have only tried it from the ears up."

"Seeing death as the end of life is like seeing the horizon as the end of the ocean."

—David Searls

At the moment of death there will appear to you, swifter than lightning, the luminous splendour of the colourless light of Emptiness, and that will surround you on all sides. Terrified, you will flee from the radiance... Try to submerge yourself in that light, giving up all belief in a separate self, all attachment to your illusory ego. Recognize that the boundless Light of this true Reality is your own true self, and you shall be saved!

Tibetan Book of the Dead (c. 780 A.D.)

Death is a very dull, dreary affair, and my advice to you is to have nothing whatever to do with it.

—William Somerset Maugham

It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.

—Marcus Aurelius


—Death, in Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett

At the door of life, by the gate of breath,
There are worse things waiting for men than death.

—Algernon Charles Swinburne

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

—Steve Jobs, from his 2005 commencement address at Stanford

100 per cent of us die, and the percentage cannot be increased.

C. S. LewisThe Weight of Glory

I want to have her back as an ingredient in the restoration of my past. Could I have wished her anything worse? Having got once through death, to come back and then, at some later date, have all her dying to do all over again? They call Stephen the first martyr. Hadn't Lazarus the rawer deal?

C. S. LewisA Grief Observed

Do not seek death. Death will find you. But seek the road which makes death a fulfillment.

—Dag Hammarskjöld, Markings

Life – and I don't suppose I'm the first to make this comparison – is a disease: sexually transmitted, and invariably fatal.

—Neil Gaiman, Death Talks About Life

The sorrow for the dead is the only sorrow from which we refuse to be divorced. Every other wound we seek to heal — every other affliction to forget: but this wound we consider it a duty to keep open — this affliction we cherish and brood over in solitude.

—Washington Irving, Rural Funerals

If you're not ready to die, then how can you live?

Charles de LintSvaha

Francisco Scaramanga: "You get as much pleasure out of killing as I do, so why don't you admit it?"
James Bond: "I admit killing you would be a pleasure."

The Man With The Golden Gun

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