The Cowardly Lion: Quotes About Courage

The beloved 'Wizard of Oz' character actually was quite brave

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Khurana, Simran. "The Cowardly Lion: Quotes About Courage." ThoughtCo, Mar. 2, 2017, thoughtco.com/find-the-lion-within-you-2832238. Khurana, Simran. (2017, March 2). The Cowardly Lion: Quotes About Courage. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/find-the-lion-within-you-2832238 Khurana, Simran. "The Cowardly Lion: Quotes About Courage." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/find-the-lion-within-you-2832238 (accessed September 22, 2017).
Cowardly Lion from Wizard of Oz. Credit: John Kobal Foundation / Contributor/Getty Images

The Cowardly Lion from "The Wizard of Oz" lives up to his name, at least at the beginning of the 1939 film. We learn that he's not really a coward, rather he thinks he is because he does not ​believe in himself. Before all is said and done, the Cowardly Lion performs several courageous acts without realizing his bravery. 

Here are some interesting quotes from the Cowardly Lion that highlight his acts of heroism, and show times he acts bravely even when he's afraid.

The Cowardly Lion's Funny 'Fear' Quotes

In many parts of the movie, the Cowardly Lion doesn't let his nervousness keep him from doing the right thing, even adding a sense of humor. Here, he wants to be brave and save Dorothy, but has to make a joke first:

Cowardly Lion: All right, I'll go in there for Dorothy. Wicked Witch or no Wicked Witch, guards or no guards, I'll tear them apart. I may not come out alive, but I'm going in there. There's only one thing I want you fellows to do. 
Tin Man and Scarecrow: What's that? 
Cowardly Lion: Talk me out of it! 

Even when he first meets up with Dorothy and the gang and is still trying to come across as a tough guy, the Lion makes a not-very-nice crack about the Tin Man: 

Tin Woodsman: Here, here. Go away and let us alone. 
Cowardly Lion: Oh, scared, huh? Afraid, huh? Ah, how long can you stay fresh in that can? Ha ha ha ha. 

The Cowardly Lion Shows His Bravery

When he encounters the Wicked Witch's palace guards, the Lion has had enough.

If he's afraid, he doesn't show it (we suspect that he is, but is putting on a brave front).

Cowardly Lion: Put ‘em up, put ‘em up! Which one of you first? I'll fight you both together if you want. I’ll fight you with one paw tied behind my back. I’ll fight you standing on one foot. I’ll fight you with my eyes closed... ohh, pullin’ an axe on me, eh? Sneaking up on me, eh? 

The Cowardly Lion Puts on an Act

The first time the Lion encounters Dorothy, the Scarecrow and the Tin Man, Dorothy smacks him on the nose for being a bully. She quickly realizes he's all bluster. 

Dorothy: My goodness, what a fuss you're making! Well naturally, when you go around picking on things weaker than you are. Why, you're nothing but a great big coward! 
Cowardly Lion: [crying] You're right, I am a coward! I haven't any courage at all. I even scare myself. 
[sobs] 
Cowardly Lion: Look at the circles under my eyes. I haven't slept in weeks! 
Tin Woodsman: Why don't you try counting sheep? 
Cowardly Lion: That doesn't do any good, I'm afraid of 'em.   

The Cowardly Lion's Thoughts on Courage

In his most famous song, the Lion muses on what it would be like if he had ​any courage (not realizing he already has plenty):

Cowardly Lion: [singing] 
I'm afraid there's no denyin'
I'm just a dandy-lion
A fate I don't deserve
I'm sure I could show my prowess
Be a lion, not a mouse
If I only had the nerve.

Just before they meet the Wizard in the Emerald City the Cowardly Lion muses about what it would be like to be the king of the forest (even though technically lions don't inhabit forests), imagining everyone would respect and fear him.

Dorothy: Your Majesty, if you were king, you wouldn't be afraid of anything? 
Cowardly Lion: Not nobody! Not nohow! 
Tin Woodsman: Not even a rhinoceros? 
Cowardly Lion: Imposerous! 
Dorothy: How about a hippopotamus? 
Cowardly Lion: Why, I'd thrash him from top to bottomus! 
Dorothy: Supposing you met an elephant? 
Cowardly Lion: I'd wrap him up in cellophane! 
Scarecrow: What if it were a brontosaurus? 
Cowardly Lion: I'd show him who was king of the forest! 

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Khurana, Simran. "The Cowardly Lion: Quotes About Courage." ThoughtCo, Mar. 2, 2017, thoughtco.com/find-the-lion-within-you-2832238. Khurana, Simran. (2017, March 2). The Cowardly Lion: Quotes About Courage. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/find-the-lion-within-you-2832238 Khurana, Simran. "The Cowardly Lion: Quotes About Courage." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/find-the-lion-within-you-2832238 (accessed September 22, 2017).