Classic George Orwell Quotes

Thoughts on Religion, War, Politics, and More

Cover of 1984 by George Orwell

George Orwell is one of the most famous writers of his time. He is perhaps best known for his controversial novel, 1984, a dystopian tale in which language and truth are corrupted. He also wrote Animal Farm, an anti-Soviet fable where the animals revolt against the humans.

A great writer and a true master of words, Orwell is also known for some smart sayings. While you might already know his novels, here is a collection of quotes by the author that you should also know.

Ranging from grave to ironic, from dark to optimistic, these George Orwell quotes give a sense of his ideas on religion, war, politics, writing, corporations, and society at large. By understanding Orwell's opinions, perhaps readers will be able to better read his works. 

On Freedom

"Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."
"I sometimes think that the price of liberty is not so much eternal vigilance as eternal dirt."

Talking Politics

"In our time political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. "
"In our age, there is no such thing as 'keeping out of politics.' All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia."
"In times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."


"A dirty joke is a sort of mental rebellion."
"As I write, highly civilized human beings are flying overhead, trying to kill me."

On War

"War is a way of shattering to pieces... materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable and... too intelligent."

On Hubris

"A tragic situation exists precisely when virtue does not triumph but when it is still felt that man is nobler than the forces which destroy him."

On Advertisements

"Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket."

Foodie Talk

"We may find in the long run that tinned food is a deadlier weapon than the machine-gun."

On Religion

"Mankind is not likely to salvage civilization unless he can evolve a system of good and evil which is independent of heaven and hell."

Other Wise Advice 

"Most people get a fair amount of fun out of their lives, but on balance life is suffering, and only the very young or the very foolish imagine otherwise."
"Myths which are believed in tend to become true."
"Progress is not an illusion, it happens, but it is slow and invariably disappointing."
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Lombardi, Esther. "Classic George Orwell Quotes." ThoughtCo, Aug. 25, 2020, Lombardi, Esther. (2020, August 25). Classic George Orwell Quotes. Retrieved from Lombardi, Esther. "Classic George Orwell Quotes." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 28, 2023).