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- I write about violence as naturally as Jane Austen wrote about manners. Violence shapes and obsesses our society, and if we do not stop being violent we have no future. People who do not want writers to write about violence want to stop them writing about us and our time. It would be immoral not to write about violence.
- Preface to Lear (1972; London: Methuen, 1983) p. lvii
- Our lives are awkward and fragile and we have only one thing to keep us sane: pity, and the man without pity is mad.
- Lear (1972), Act III, sc. iii
- Art is the expression of the conviction that we can have a rational relationship with the world and each other. It isn't the faith or hope that we can, it is the demonstration that we can.
- Programme note for We Come to the River (1976); cited from Lear (London: Methuen, 1983) p. xii.
- As Shakespeare himself knew, the peace, the reconciliation that he created on the stage would not last an hour on the street.
- Introduction to Plays (London: Methuen, 1978) vol. 2, p. x.