When once a certain class of people has been placed by the temporal and spiritual authorities outside the ranks of those whose life has value, then nothing comes more naturally to men than murder.
—Simone Weil (1909–1943) French Philosopher, Political Activist
Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?
—William Shakespeare (1564–1616) British Playwright
One to destroy, is murder by the law; to murder thousands takes a specious name—war’s glorious art, and gives immortal fame.
—Edward Young (1683–1765) English Poet
You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style.
—Vladimir Nabokov (1899–1977) Russian-born American Novelist
To murder character is as truly a crime as to murder the body; the tongue of the slanderer is brother to the dagger of the assassin.
—Tryon Edwards American Theologian
Murder in the murderer is no such ruinous thought as poets and romancers will have it; it does not unsettle him, or fright him from his ordinary notice of trifles; it is an act quite easy to be contemplated.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–82) American Philosopher
If once a man indulges himself in murder, very soon he comes to think little of robbing; and from robbing he comes next to drinking and Sabbath-breaking, and from that to incivility and procrastination.
—Thomas de Quincey (1785–1859) English Essayist, Critic
Every unpunished murder takes away something from the security of every man’s life.
—Daniel Webster (1782–1852) American Statesman, Lawyer
To live without killing is a thought which could electrify the world, if men were only capable of staying awake long enough to let the idea soak in.
—Henry Miller (1891–1980) American Novelist
It is a question whether, when we break a murderer on the wheel, we do not fall into the error a child makes when it hits the chair it has bumped into.
—Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742–99) German Philosopher, Physicist
Murder is unique in that it abolishes the party it injures, so that society has to take the place of the victim and on his behalf demand atonement or grant forgiveness; it is the one crime in which society has a direct interest.
—W. H. Auden (1907–73) British-born American Poet, Dramatist
A murderer is regarded by the conventional world as something almost monstrous, but a murderer to himself is only an ordinary man. It is only if the murderer is a good man that he can be regarded as monstrous.
—Graham Greene (1904–91) British Novelist, Playwright, Short Story Writer
Murder is a horror, but an often necessary horror, never criminal, which it is essential to tolerate in a republican State. Is it or is it not a crime? If it is not, why make laws for its punishment? And if it is, by what barbarous logic do you, to punish it, duplicate it by another crime?
—Marquis de Sade (1740–1814) French Political leader, Revolutionary, Novelist, Poet, Critic
After all, every murderer when he kills runs the risk of the most dreadful of deaths, whereas those who kill him risk nothing except promotion.
—Albert Camus (1913–60) Algerian-born French Philosopher, Dramatist, Essayist, Novelist, Author
The boys with their feet on the desks know that the easiest murder case in the world to break is the one somebody tried to get very cute with; the one that really bothers them is the murder somebody only thought of two minutes before he pulled it off.
—Raymond Chandler (1888–1959) American Novelist
We kill everybody, my dear. Some with bullets, some with words, and everybody with our deeds. We drive people into their graves, and neither see it nor feel it.
—Maxim Gorky (1868–1936) Russian Writer, Dramatist, Political Activist, Novelist
Murders are exciting and lift people into a heart-beating awe as religion is supposed to do, after seeing one in the street young couples will go back to bed and make love, people will cross themselves and thank God for the gift of their stuporous lives, old folks will talk to each other over cups of hot water with lemon because murders are enlivened sermons to be analyzed and considered and relished, they speak to the timid of the dangers of rebellion, murders are perceived as momentary descents of God and so provide joy and hope and righteous satisfaction to parishioners, who will talk about them for years afterward to anyone who will listen.
—E. L. Doctorow (b.1931) American Writer, Editor, Academic
If the desire to kill and the opportunity to kill came always together, who would escape hanging?
—Mark Twain (1835–1910) American Humorist
Though it be in the power of the weakest arm to take away life, it is not in the strongest to deprive us of death.
—Thomas Browne (1605–82) English Author, Physician
Blood, though it sleep a time, yet never dies.
—George Chapman (c.1560–1634) English Poet, Playwright
Murder is always a mistake. One should never do anything that one cannot talk about after dinner.
—Oscar Wilde (1854–1900) Irish Poet, Playwright
It takes two to make a murder. There are born victims, born to have their throats cut, as the cut-throats are born to be hanged.
—Aldous Huxley (1894–1963) English Humanist, Pacifist, Essayist, Short Story Writer, Satirist
I love the old way best, the simple way of poison, where we too are strong as men.
—Euripides (480–406 BCE) Ancient Greek Dramatist
One murder makes a villain; millions, a hero; numbers sanctify the crime.
—Beilby Porteus (1731–1809) Anglican Bishop of London
Cruel with guilt, and daring with despair, the midnight murderer bursts the faithless bar; invades the sacred hour of silent rest and leaves, unseen, a dagger in your breast.
—Samuel Johnson (1709–84) British Essayist
Murder is born of love, and love attains the greatest intensity in murder.
—Octave Mirbeau (1848–1917) French Journalist, Art Critic, Novelist, Playwright
I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.
—Clarence Darrow (1857–1938) American Civil Liberties Lawyer