Suicide is the act of killing oneself. A number of thinkers have closely observed or analyzed the backgrounds and reasons that leads to suicide.
- But if there be an hereafter,
And that there is, conscience, uninfluenc'd
And suffer'd to speak out, tells every man,
Then must it be an awful thing to die;
More horrid yet to die by one's own hand.
- Robert Blair, The Grave (1743), line 398.
- Our time is fixed, and all our days are number'd;
How long, how short, we know not:—this we know,
Duty requires we calmly wait the summons,
Nor dare to stir till Heaven shall give permission.
- Robert Blair, The Grave (1743), line 417.
- The common damn'd shun their society.
- Robert Blair, The Grave (1743), referring to suicides in Hell. Attributed to Lamb, but not found in his works.
- The suicide bomber is an explosion of a contradiction in its paradox, victim and victimizer, yin and yang, two sides of the coin, fire bomb and fire extinguisher, prosecutor and defendant, hangman and hanged.
- Giannina Braschi, "United States of Banana" (AmazonCrossing 2011).
- The beasts (Conservatives) had committed suicide to save themselves from slaughter.
- John Bright, speech at Birmingham (1867).
- Don't commit suicide, because you might change your mind two weeks later.
- Art Buchwald, in a humorous personal mantra he used to combat his states of depression, published in Too Soon to Say Goodbye (2006).
- The man who kills a man, kills a man. The man who kills himself, kills all men. As far as he is concerned he wipes out the world.
- G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy (1908).
- Fool! I mean not
That poor-souled piece of heroism, self-slaughter;
Oh no! the miserablest day we live
There's many a better thing to do than die!
- George Darley, Ethelstan (1841).
- Who doubting tyranny, and fainting under
Fortune's false lottery, desperately run
To death, for dread of death; that soul's most stout,
That, bearing all mischance, dares last it out.
- John Fletcher, The Honest Man's Fortune (1613; published 1647), Act IV, scene 1.
- The Wood of Suicides has changed since my last visit to Hell. I remember it as a tiny grove. Now it resembles a forest.
- If suicide be supposed a crime, it is only cowardice can impel us to it. If it be no crime, both prudence and courage should engage us to rid ourselves at once of existence when it becomes a burden. It is the only way that we can then be useful to society, by setting an example which, if imitated, would preserve every one his chance for happiness in life, and would effectually free him from all danger or misery.
- David Hume, Essay on Suicide (c. 1755).
- What a silly thing to do, he thought. What a goddam silly thing to do. You wont even be there to watch their faces.
Darkling I listen; and, for many a time
I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Call'd him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
To take into the air my quiet breath;
Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
To cease upon the midnight with no pain …
- John Keats in "Ode to a Nightingale".
- Just as in a drama, by shortening the time and condensing the events, one is enabled to see the content of many years in the course of a few hours, so also one wants to arrange oneself dramatically within temporality. God’s plan for existence is rejected, so that temporality is entirely development, complication-eternity the denouement. Everything is arranged within temporality, a score of years devoted to development, then ten years, and then the denouement follow. Undeniably death is also a denouement, and then it is over, one is buried-yet not before the denouement of decomposition has begun. But anyone who refuses to understand that the whole of one’s life should be the time of hope is veritably in despair, no matter, absolutely no matter, whether he is conscious of it or not, whether he counts himself fortunate in his presumed well-being or wears himself out in tedium and trouble. Anyone who gives up the possibility that his existence could be forfeited in the next moment-provided he does not give up this possibility because he hopes for the possibility of the good, anyone who lives without possibility is in despair. He breaks with the eternal and arbitrarily puts an end to possibility; without the consent of eternity, he ends where the end is not, instead of, like someone who is taking dictation, continually having his pen poised for what comes next, so that he does not presume meaninglessly to place a period before the meaning is complete or rebelliously to throw away his pen.
- Soren Kierkegaard Works of Love, 1847, Hong 1995 p. 251-252
- There are a great many ways to commit suicide, you know.
- Stephen King, The Stand (Uncut), chapter 55, p. 799, unidentified edition
- A low serotonin level . . . can dry up the wellsprings of life’s happiness, withering a person’s interest in his existence and increasing the risk of depression and suicide.
- Ronald Kutulak, in his book Inside the Brain. Cited in Awake! magazine, 10/22 2001.
- While foulest fiends shun thy society.
- Nathaniel Lee, The Rival Queens (1677), V, I, 86.
- Ah, yes, the sea is still and deep,
All things within its bosom sleep!
A single step, and all is o'er,
A plunge, a bubble, and no more.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Christus, The Golden Legend (1872), Part V.
- When Fannius from his foe did fly
Himself with his own hands he slew;
Who e'er a greater madness knew?
Life to destroy for fear to die.
- Martial, Epigrams (c. AD 86-103), Book II. 80. Same idea in Antiphanes—Fragment. Comicorum Græcorum, p. 567. Meineke's ed.
That kills himself to avoid misery, fears it,
And, at the best, shows but a bastard valour.
This life's a fort committed to my trust,
Which I must not yield up till it be forced:
Nor will I. He's not valiant that dares die,
But he that boldly bears calamity.
- Philip Massinger, The Maid of Honour, (c. 1621; printed 1632), Act IV, scene 3.
- If you like not hanging, drown yourself;
Take some course for your reputation.
- Philip Massinger, A New Way to pay Old Debts (1625), Act II, scene 1.
- Suicide kills two people. That's what it's for.
- Referring to the guilt and grief close surviving dependents feel after a suicide
- Arthur Miller, After the Fall.
Suicide is not a solution
But it remains an excellent option
- We cannot tear out a single page from our life, but we can throw the whole book into the fire.
- George Sand, Mauprat (1837).
Sleep is good,
death is better,
but the best is to have never been born.
- Gut ist der Schlaf, der Tod ist besser—freilich
Das beste wäre, nie geboren sein.
- Heinrich Heine (1797–1856), Morphine poem.
- Gut ist der Schlaf, der Tod ist besser—freilich
- Suicide is a private thing.
- Heather McNamara, Heathers.
Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp;
Guns aren't lawful;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.
- Dorothy Parker, "Resume" (1926).
- My duty will be to continue to endeavor to do the work I seem to have been put into the world to do; and when the moment arrives at which there seems to be no rational hope of making my life useful, my duty, as I see it, will be to treat my life just as I would an aching tooth that there was no hope of making useful. I will have it out.
is an art, like everything else.
I do it exceptionally well.
- Sylvia Plath, "Lady Lazarus".
- Death is before me today
Like the recovery of a sick man …
Like the longing of a man to see his home again
After many years of captivity …
- "Dispute between a man and his Ba", Egypt, ca. 2100 B.C.
- Some people might say, I have a right to die, when they are arguing the case for suicide. And while this is true, it is also true that the people on your planet need every bit of help and encouragement they can get from each person alive. In a certain sense, the energy of each individual does keep the world going, and to commit suicide is to refuse a basic, cooperative venture.
- Jane Roberts, in The Way Toward Health (1997) p. 265
- Bravest at the last,
She levell'd at our purposes, and, being royal,
Took her own way.
- Against self-slaughter
There is a prohibition so divine
That cravens my weak hand.
- To be, or not to be,—that is the question:—
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?—To die, to sleep,—
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to,—'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;—
To sleep, perchance to dream:—ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despis'd love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would these fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,—
The undiscover'd country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns,—puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know naught of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought;
And enterprises of great pith and moment,
With this regard, their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.
- The more pity that great folk should have countenance in this world to drown or hang themselves, more than their even Christian.
- Therein, ye gods, you make the weak most strong; Therein, ye gods, you tyrants do defeat: Nor stony tower, nor walls of beaten brass, Nor airless dungeon, nor strong links of iron, Can be retentive to the strength of spirit; But life, being weary of these worldly bars, Never lacks power to dismiss itself.
- He that cuts off twenty years of life
Cuts off so many years of fearing death.
- You ever-gentle gods, take my breath from me;
Let not my worser spirit tempt me again
To die before you please!
- When Goblins Kill themselves it's called stupidity. When Humans do it, it's called heroism.
- Shock Troopers, Magic: The Gathering.
- Suicide? To tell you the truth, I disapprove of suicide more than anything.
- Vash The Stampede, "Trigun".
- Suicide is self-expression.
- The man, who in a fit of melancholy, kills himself today, would have wished to live had he waited a week.
- Voltaire, "Cato", Philosophical Dictionary (1764).
- There is no refuge from confession but suicide; and suicide is confession.
- Daniel Webster, Argument on the Murder of Captain White (April 6, 1830).
- I'd always, you see, even in my early teens, had these problems — problems of suddenly waking up in the middle of the night and having this horrifying vision that life is completely meaningless. You know — just thinking about something like the depths of space, and realizing it's got to come to an end somewhere, but apparently it doesn't, and then suddenly getting this terrible feeling that maybe life is a total delusion. G. K. Chesterton once said that in his teens he saw hell, and I really think I did too. I went through extreme depressions, glooms. There was one occasion on which I decided actually to commit suicide. I'd got into this state — I was working as a lab assistant at the school, and what would happen was that I'd make tremendous efforts to push myself up to a level of optimism. I'd do it in the evenings by reading poetry, thinking, writing in my journals, then I'd go back to the school the next day and blaaahhh, right down to the bottom again. This was the feeling of The Mind Parasites — there's something that waits until you've got lots of energy and just sucks you dry like a vampire. This sudden feeling that God was making fun of me made me feel one day, "For God's sake, let's not have any more of this nonsense. I'm damned if I'll be played about with like this. Let me kill myself." And immediately I felt this, I felt a curious sense of inner strength. So I went off to night school quite determined that what I was going to do was to take down the bottle of potassium cyanide from the reagent shelves and drink it. I knew that cyanide burns a hole in the bottom of the stomach and kills you within seconds. Well, I went into the classroom quite determined. There was a group gathered around the professor at the desk. I went over to the reagent shelves, I took down the bottle of potassium cyanide, I uncorked it, and as I started raising this to my lips I suddenly had an extremely clear vision of myself in a few seconds' time with an agonizing pain in the pit of my stomach, and at the same time I suddenly turned into two people. I don't mean that literally, but I mean that there was I, and there beside me was this silly, bloody little idiot called Colin Wilson who was in a state of self-pity and about to kill himself, and I didn't give a damn whether the fool killed himself or not. The trouble was, if he killed himself he'd kill me too. And quite suddenly a terrific sense of overwhelming happiness came over me. I corked up the bottle, put it on the shelf, and for the next few days was in total control of my emotions and everything else. I realized suddenly that you can achieve these states of control, provided that you put yourself in a crisis situation. And that's why throughout The Outsider I keep saying the outsider's salvation lies in extremes.
- Britannia's shame! There took her gloomy flight,
On wing impetuous, a black sullen soul…
Less base the fear of death than fear of life.
O Britain! infamous for suicide.
- Edward Young, Night Thoughts (1742-1745), Night V, line 436.
- It's better to burn out than to fade away.
- Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
- Widely used expression, used by many authors, it appears at least as early as in Death and Dying (1979) in the Social Issues Resources Series, Vol. 1, p. 35.
- People who try to commit suicide — don't attempt to save them! . . . China is such a populous nation, it is not as if we cannot do without a few people.
- Consider this point carefully: nowadays, suicide is just a way of disappearing. It is carried out timidly, quietly, and falls flat. It is no longer an action, only a submission.
- Here's the difficulty about suicide: it is an act of ambition that can be committed only when one has passed beyond ambition.
- La difficoltà di commettere suicidio sta in questo: è un atto di ambizione che si può commettere solo quando si sia superata ogni ambizione.
- Cesare Pavese, This Business of Living, 1938-01-16
- No one ever lacks a good reason for suicide.
- Cesare Pavese, This Business of Living, 1938-03-23
- The act—the act—must not be a revenge. It must be a calm, weary renunciation, a closing of accounts, a private, rhythmic deed. The last remark.
- Cesare Pavese, This Business of Living, 1950-05-10
- Suicides are timid murderers. Masochism instead of Sadism.
- Cesare Pavese, This Business of Living, 1950-08-17