Last words in literature

If you knew you were about to meet your maker you’d try and make your last words before you shifted off this mortal coil pretty darn special, eh?

Literary characters are no different – some succeed in reaching some higher state of gravitas; others, well, their last recorded utterances reflect the banality of much of the human condition.

You get to decide which last words are special, and which are not. Herewith, 35 of the most memorable last words in literature.

  • Sydney Carton (A Tale of Two Cities)

    Sydney Carton (A Tale of Tw…

    Author: Charles Dickens “It is a far, far better thing… More details

    Sydney Carton (A Tale of Two Cities)

    Author: Charles Dickens

    “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”

  • Snowden (Catch 22)

    Snowden (Catch 22)

    Author: Joseph Heller “I’m cold.” More details

    Snowden (Catch 22)

    Author: Joseph Heller

    “I’m cold.”

  • Svidrigailov (Crime and Punishment)

    Svidrigailov (Crime and Pun…

    Author: Fyodor Dostoyevsky “When you are asked, you just… More details

    Svidrigailov (Crime and Punishment)

    Author: Fyodor Dostoyevsky

    “When you are asked, you just say he was going, he said, to America.”

  • Captain Beatty (Fahrenheit 451)

    Captain Beatty (Fahrenheit …

    Author: Ray Bradbury “Give it here, Montag.” More details

    Captain Beatty (Fahrenheit 451)

    Author: Ray Bradbury

    “Give it here, Montag.”

  • Jay Gatsby (The Great Gatsby)

    Jay Gatsby (The Great Gatsby)

    Author: F Scott Fitzgerald “Well, goodbye.” More details

    Jay Gatsby (The Great Gatsby)

    Author: F Scott Fitzgerald

    “Well, goodbye.”

  • Don Corleone (The Godfather)

    Don Corleone (The Godfather)

    Author: Mario Puzo “Life is beautiful.” More details

    Don Corleone (The Godfather)

    Author: Mario Puzo

    “Life is beautiful.”

  • Colonel Kurtz (Heart of Darkness)

    Colonel Kurtz (Heart of Dar…

    Author: Joseph Conrad “The horror! The horror!” More details

    Colonel Kurtz (Heart of Darkness)

    Author: Joseph Conrad

    “The horror! The horror!”

  • God (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)

    God (The Hitchhiker’s Gui…

    Author: Douglas Adams “Oh dear, I hadn’t thought of… More details

    God (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)

    Author: Douglas Adams

    “Oh dear, I hadn’t thought of that.”

  • Helen Burns (Jane Eyre)

    Helen Burns (Jane Eyre)

    Author: Charlotte Brontë “Goodnight, Jane.” More details

    Helen Burns (Jane Eyre)

    Author: Charlotte Brontë

    “Goodnight, Jane.”

  • Tommy (Carrie)

    Tommy (Carrie)

    Author: Stephen King "Tonight, you go first… More details

    Tommy (Carrie)

    Author: Stephen King

    "Tonight, you go first class."

  • Jean Valjean (Les Miserables)

    Jean Valjean (Les Miserables)

    Author: Victor Hugo “Let me put my hands upon your… More details

    Jean Valjean (Les Miserables)

    Author: Victor Hugo

    “Let me put my hands upon your beloved heads.”

  • Emma Bovary (Madame Bovary)

    Emma Bovary (Madame Bovary)

    Auhtor: Gustave Flaubert “The blind man!” More details

    Emma Bovary (Madame Bovary)

    Auhtor: Gustave Flaubert

    “The blind man!”

  • Captain Ahab (Moby-Dick)

    Captain Ahab (Moby-Dick)

    Author: Herman Melville “Thus, I give up the spear!” More details

    Captain Ahab (Moby-Dick)

    Author: Herman Melville

    “Thus, I give up the spear!”

  • Dorian Gray (The Picture of Dorian Gray)

    Dorian Gray (The Picture of…

    Author: Oscar Wilde “Very well. I shall be here at… More details

    Dorian Gray (The Picture of Dorian Gray)

    Author: Oscar Wilde

    “Very well. I shall be here at eleven. Good night, Harry.”

  • Popeye (Sanctuary)

    Popeye (Sanctuary)

    Author: William Faulkner “Fix my hair, Jack.” More details

    Popeye (Sanctuary)

    Author: William Faulkner

    “Fix my hair, Jack.”

  • McMurphy (One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest)

    McMurphy (One Flew Over The…

    Author: Ken Kesey “I’ve took their best punch.” More details

    McMurphy (One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest)

    Author: Ken Kesey

    “I’ve took their best punch.”

  • Paul Baumer (All Quiet on the Western Front)

    Paul Baumer (All Quiet on t…

    Author: Erich Maria Remarque “The life that has borne me… More details

    Paul Baumer (All Quiet on the Western Front)

    Author: Erich Maria Remarque

    “The life that has borne me through these years is still my hands and my eyes. Whether I have subdued it, I know not. But so long as it is there, it will seek its own way out, heedless of the will that is within me.”

  • Lennie (Of Mice and Men)

    Lennie (Of Mice and Men)

    Author: John Steinbeck “Le’s do it now. Le’s get that… More details

    Lennie (Of Mice and Men)

    Author: John Steinbeck

    “Le’s do it now. Le’s get that place now.”

  • Tess Durbeyfield (Tess of the d’Urbervilles)

    Tess Durbeyfield (Tess of t…

    Author: Thomas Hardy “I am ready.” More details

    Tess Durbeyfield (Tess of the d’Urbervilles)

    Author: Thomas Hardy

    “I am ready.”

  • Hamlet (Hamlet)

    Hamlet (Hamlet)

    Author: William Shakespeare “The rest is silence.” More details

    Hamlet (Hamlet)

    Author: William Shakespeare

    “The rest is silence.”

  • Ike Marcus (Lush Life)

    Ike Marcus (Lush Life)

    Author: Richard Price “Not tonight, my man.” More details

    Ike Marcus (Lush Life)

    Author: Richard Price

    “Not tonight, my man.”

  • Bunny Corcoran (The Secret History)

    Bunny Corcoran (The Secret …

    Author: Donna Tartt “Just what the Sam Hill are you guys… More details

    Bunny Corcoran (The Secret History)

    Author: Donna Tartt

    “Just what the Sam Hill are you guys doing out here anyway?”

  • Lily Potter (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)

    Lily Potter (Harry Potter a…

    Author: JK Rowling “Not Harry! Please, no, not Harry —… More details

    Lily Potter (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)

    Author: JK Rowling

    “Not Harry! Please, no, not Harry — I'll do anything!”

  • Johnny Smith (The Dead Zone)

    Johnny Smith (The Dead Zone)

    Author: Stephen King “We knew each other.” More details

    Johnny Smith (The Dead Zone)

    Author: Stephen King

    “We knew each other.”

  • Iago (Othello)

    Iago (Othello)

    Author: William Shakespeare “Demand me nothing: what you… More details

    Iago (Othello)

    Author: William Shakespeare

    “Demand me nothing: what you know, you know. From this time forth I never will speak word.”

  • Captain Flint (Treasure Island)

    Captain Flint (Treasure Isl…

    Author: Robert Louis Stevenson “Fetch aft the rum,… More details

    Captain Flint (Treasure Island)

    Author: Robert Louis Stevenson

    “Fetch aft the rum, Darby.”

  • Willy Loman (Willy Loman (Death of a Salesman))

    Willy Loman (Willy Loman (D…

    Author: Arthur Miller "Now when you kick off, boy, I… More details

    Willy Loman (Willy Loman (Death of a Salesman))

    Author: Arthur Miller

    "Now when you kick off, boy, I want a seventy-yard bout, and get right down the field under the ball, and when you hit, hit low and hit hard, because it’s important, boy. There’s all kinds of important people in the stands, and the first thing you know… Ben! Ben, where do I…? Ben, how do I…?"

  • Dr Frankenstein (Frankenstein)

    Dr Frankenstein (Frankenstein)

    Author: Mary Shelley “Farewell, Walton! Seek happiness in… More details

    Dr Frankenstein (Frankenstein)

    Author: Mary Shelley

    “Farewell, Walton! Seek happiness in tranquillity and avoid ambition, even if it be only the apparent innocent one of distinguishing yourself in science and discoveries. Yet why do I say this? I have myself been blasted in these hopes, yet another may succeed?”

  • Mersault (The Stranger)

    Mersault (The Stranger)

    Author: Albert Camus “For everything to be consummated,… More details

    Mersault (The Stranger)

    Author: Albert Camus

    “For everything to be consummated, for me to feel less alone, I had only to wish that there be a large crowd of spectators the day of my execution and that they greet me with cries of hate.”

  • Catherine Earnshaw (Wuthering Heights)

    Catherine Earnshaw (Wutheri…

    Author: Emily Brontë “No! Oh, don’t, don’t go. It is… More details

    Catherine Earnshaw (Wuthering Heights)

    Author: Emily Brontë

    “No! Oh, don’t, don’t go. It is the last time! Edgar will not hurt us. Heathcliff, I shall die! I shall die!”

  • Anna Karenina (Anna Karenina)

    Anna Karenina (Anna Karenina)

    Author: Leo Tolstoy “Lord, forgive me everything.” More details

    Anna Karenina (Anna Karenina)

    Author: Leo Tolstoy

    “Lord, forgive me everything.”

  • Josef K (The Trial)

    Josef K (The Trial)

    Author: Frank Kafka “The dogs!” More details

    Josef K (The Trial)

    Author: Frank Kafka

    “The dogs!”

  • Catherine Barkley (A Farewell To Arms)

    Catherine Barkley (A Farewe…

    Author: Ernest Hemingway “Don’t worry, darling. I’m… More details

    Catherine Barkley (A Farewell To Arms)

    Author: Ernest Hemingway

    “Don’t worry, darling. I’m not a bit afraid. It’s just a dirty trick.”

  • The grandfather (Invisible Man)

    The grandfather (Invisible …

    Author: Ralph Ellison “Learn it to the young’uns.” More details

    The grandfather (Invisible Man)

    Author: Ralph Ellison

    “Learn it to the young’uns.”

  • Piggy (Lord of the Flies)

    Piggy (Lord of the Flies)

    Author: William Golding “Which is better – to have… More details

    Piggy (Lord of the Flies)

    Author: William Golding

    “Which is better – to have rules and agree, or to hunt and kill?”

  • Don Quixote (The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha)

    Don Quixote (The Ingenious …

    Author: Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra “I was mad, now I am… More details

    Don Quixote (The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha)

    Author: Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

    “I was mad, now I am in my senses. I was Don Quixote de La Mancha, I am now, as I said, Alanso Quixano, the good; and may my repentance and sincerity restore me to the esteem you used to have for me; and now let the Master Notary proceed.”

  • Roderick Usher (The Fall of the House of Usher)

    Roderick Usher (The Fall of…

    Author: Edgar Allan Poe “Madman! Madman! I tell you that… More details

    Roderick Usher (The Fall of the House of Usher)

    Author: Edgar Allan Poe

    “Madman! Madman! I tell you that she now stands without the door.”

  • Boxer (Animal Farm)

    Boxer (Animal Farm)

    Author: George Orwell “Forward in the name of Rebellion.… More details

    Boxer (Animal Farm)

    Author: George Orwell

    “Forward in the name of Rebellion. Long live Animal Farm! Long live comrade Napoleon. Napoleon is always right.”

  • Gollum (The Return of the King – The Lord of the Rings)

    Gollum (The Return of the K…

    Author: JRR Tolkein “My precious! O my Precious!” More details

    Gollum (The Return of the King – The Lord of the Rings)

    Author: JRR Tolkein

    “My precious! O my Precious!”

  • Sherlock Holmes (The Final Problem)

    Sherlock Holmes (The Final …

    Author: Arthur Conan Doyle “Pray give my greetings to… More details

    Sherlock Holmes (The Final Problem)

    Author: Arthur Conan Doyle

    “Pray give my greetings to Mrs. Watson, and believe me to be, my dear fellow. Very sincerely yours, Sherlock Holmes.”

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