These 1984 quotes are some of the most famous and ominous from George Orwell’s famous work about a totalitarian government.
Nineteen Eighty-Four is one of the most famous works of fiction of all time and has spawned numerous memorable quotes. Some of which have entered have common discourse.
These Nineteen Eighty-Four quotes are some of the well-known from the book and ones you’ll recognise if you’ve read it. If you haven’t read the book, they’ll give you an idea of what to expect.
So, whether you’re looking for a specific quote from this dystopian book or to get an idea of what 1984 is about, this list of quotes will provide you with plenty of value.
Table of Contents
1984 is one of the most famous George Orwell Books. It looks at life under a totalitarian regime and the efforts of Winston and Julia to break free from its shackles.
Below are some of the most famous and well-known quotes from Nineteen Eighty-Four you’ll recognise even if you’ve yet to read the book.
“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”
“That was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word ‘doublethink’ involved the use of doublethink.”
“By 2050… there will be no thought, as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking — not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.”
“If there is hope… it lies in the proles.”
“Your worst enemy, he reflected, was your nervous system. At any moment the tension inside you was liable to translate itself into some visible symptom.”
“We do not merely destroy our enemies; we change them.”
“The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”
“Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality was tacitly denied by their philosophy. The heresy of heresies was common sense.”
“If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.”
“Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.”
“The best books… are those that tell you what you know already.”
“In general, the greater the understanding, the greater the delusion; the more intelligent, the less sane.”
“Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.”
“But it was alright, everything was alright, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.”
1984 Quotes About Freedom
“Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.”
“To the future or to the past, to a time when thought is free, when men are different from one another and do not live alone — to a time when truth exists and what is done cannot be undone: From the age of uniformity, from the age of solitude, from the age of Big Brother, from the age of doublethink — greetings!…Thoughtcrime does not entail death, thoughtcrime IS death.”
“The great purges involving thousands of people, with public trials of traitors and thought-criminals who made abject confession of their crimes and were afterwards executed, were special show-pieces not occurring oftener than once in a couple of years. More commonly, people who had incurred the displeasure of the Party simply disappeared and were never heard of again.”
“Tragedy, he perceived, belonged to the ancient time, to a time when there were still privacy, love, and friendship, and when the members of a family stood by one another without needing to know the reason.”
“To hang on from day to day and from week to week, spinning out a present that had no future, seemed an unconquerable instinct, just as one’s lungs will always draw the next breath so long as there is air available.”
“The masses never revolt of their own accord, and they never revolt merely because they are oppressed. Indeed, so long as they are not permitted to have standards of comparison, they never even become aware that they are oppressed.”
“We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it.”
“One of these days, thought Winston with sudden deep conviction, Syme will be vaporized. He is too intelligent. He sees too clearly and speaks too plainly. The Party does not like such people. One day he will disappear. It is written in his face.”
“How could you make appeal to the future when not a trace of you, not even an anonymous word scribbled on a piece of paper, could physically survive?”
“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.”
1984 Quotes About Control
“Who controls the past,’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.”
“The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but that it was impossible to avoid joining in.”
“Like an answer, the three slogans on the white face of the Ministry of Truth came back to him: WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH. On coins, on stamps, on the covers of books, on banners, on posters, and on the wrappings of a cigarette Packet — everywhere. Always the eyes watching you and the voice enveloping you. Asleep or awake, working or eating, indoors or out of doors, in the bath or in bed — no escape. Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull.”
“There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.”
“The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labour. War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent.”
“If he were allowed contact with foreigners he would discover that they are creatures similar to himself and that most of what he has been told about them is lies. The sealed world in which he lives would be broken, and the fear, hatred, and self-righteousness on which his morale depends might evaporate. It is therefore realized on all sides that however ofter Persia, or Egypt, or Java, or Ceylon may change hands, the main frontiers must never be crossed by anything except bombs.”
“The consequences of every act are included in the act itself.”
“Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed, will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten.”
“The aim of the Party was not merely to prevent men and women from forming loyalties which it might not be able to control. Its real, undeclared purpose was to remove all pleasure from the sexual act.”
“You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every moment scrutinized.”
1984 Quotes About Manipulation
“Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.”
“It was almost normal for people over thirty to be frightened of their own children. And with good reason, for hardly a week passed in which The Times did not carry a paragraph describing how some eavesdropping little sneak — ‘child hero’ was the phrase generally used — had overheard some compromising remark and denounced its parents to the Thought Police.”
“Oceania was at war with Eurasia: therefore Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia. The enemy of the moment always represented absolute evil, and it followed that any past or future agreement with him was impossible.”
“Never again will you be capable of ordinary human feeling. Everything will be dead inside you. Never again will you be capable of love, or friendship, or joy of living, or laughter, or curiosity, or courage, or integrity. You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty, and then we shall fill you with ourselves.”
“The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from from ordinary hypocrisy: they are deliberate exercises in doublethink.”
“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”
“And perhaps you might pretend, afterwards, that it was only a trick and that you just said it to make them stop and didn’t really mean it. But that isn’t true. At the time when it happens you do mean it. You think there’s no other way of saving yourself and you’re quite ready to save yourself that way. You want it to happen to the other person. You don’t give a damn what they suffer. All you care about is yourself.”
“He felt as though he were wandering in the forests of the sea bottom, lost in a monstrous world where he himself was the monster. He was alone. The past was dead, the future was unimaginable”
“What can you do, thought Winston, against the lunatic who is more intelligent than yourself, who gives your arguments a fair hearing and then simply persists in his lunacy?”
“The ideal set up by the Party was something huge, terrible, and glittering — a world of steel and concrete, of monstrous machines and terrifying weapons — a nation of warriors and fanatics, marching forward in perfect unity, all thinking the same thoughts and shouting the same slogans, perpetually working, fighting, triumphing, persecuting — three hundred million people all with the same face.”
“It struck him as curious that you could create dead men but not living ones.”
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the most famous quote from 1984?
The most famous quote from 1984 is:
“Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four.”
What are the three phrases in 1984?
The three phrases in 1984 are, War is Peace, Freedom is slavery and Ignorance is Strength.
What is the most famous quote from 1984 about control?
The most famous quote from 1984 about control is: “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”
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