Books

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.

  • Last words in literature

    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.”

  • Last words in literature 1

    Snowden (Catch 22)

    Author: Joseph Heller

    “I’m cold.”

  • Last words in literature 2

    Svidrigailov (Crime and Punishment)

    Author: Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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

  • Last words in literature 3

    Captain Beatty (Fahrenheit 451)

    Author: Ray Bradbury

    “Give it here, Montag.”

  • Last words in literature 4

    Jay Gatsby (The Great Gatsby)

    Author: F Scott Fitzgerald

    “Well, goodbye.”

  • Last words in literature 5

    Don Corleone (The Godfather)

    Author: Mario Puzo

    “Life is beautiful.”

  • Last words in literature 6

    Colonel Kurtz (Heart of Darkness)

    Author: Joseph Conrad

    “The horror! The horror!”

  • Last words in literature 7

    God (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)

    Author: Douglas Adams

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

  • Last words in literature 8

    Helen Burns (Jane Eyre)

    Author: Charlotte Brontë

    “Goodnight, Jane.”

  • Last words in literature 9

    Tommy (Carrie)

    Author: Stephen King

    "Tonight, you go first class."

  • Last words in literature 10

    Jean Valjean (Les Miserables)

    Author: Victor Hugo

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

  • Last words in literature 11

    Emma Bovary (Madame Bovary)

    Auhtor: Gustave Flaubert

    “The blind man!”

  • Last words in literature 12

    Captain Ahab (Moby-Dick)

    Author: Herman Melville

    “Thus, I give up the spear!”

  • Last words in literature 13

    Dorian Gray (The Picture of Dorian Gray)

    Author: Oscar Wilde

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

  • Last words in literature 14

    Popeye (Sanctuary)

    Author: William Faulkner

    “Fix my hair, Jack.”

  • Last words in literature 15

    McMurphy (One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest)

    Author: Ken Kesey

    “I’ve took their best punch.”

  • Last words in literature 16

    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.”

  • Last words in literature 17

    Lennie (Of Mice and Men)

    Author: John Steinbeck

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

  • Last words in literature 18

    Tess Durbeyfield (Tess of the d’Urbervilles)

    Author: Thomas Hardy

    “I am ready.”

  • Last words in literature 19

    Hamlet (Hamlet)

    Author: William Shakespeare

    “The rest is silence.”

  • Last words in literature 20

    Ike Marcus (Lush Life)

    Author: Richard Price

    “Not tonight, my man.”

  • Last words in literature 21

    Bunny Corcoran (The Secret History)

    Author: Donna Tartt

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

  • Last words in literature 22

    Lily Potter (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)

    Author: JK Rowling

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

  • Last words in literature 23

    Johnny Smith (The Dead Zone)

    Author: Stephen King

    “We knew each other.”

  • Last words in literature 24

    Iago (Othello)

    Author: William Shakespeare

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

  • Last words in literature 25

    Captain Flint (Treasure Island)

    Author: Robert Louis Stevenson

    “Fetch aft the rum, Darby.”

  • Last words in literature 26

    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…?"

  • Last words in literature 27

    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?”

  • Last words in literature 28

    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.”

  • Last words in literature 29

    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!”

  • Last words in literature 30

    Anna Karenina (Anna Karenina)

    Author: Leo Tolstoy

    “Lord, forgive me everything.”

  • Last words in literature 31

    Josef K (The Trial)

    Author: Frank Kafka

    “The dogs!”

  • Last words in literature 32

    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.”

  • Last words in literature 33

    The grandfather (Invisible Man)

    Author: Ralph Ellison

    “Learn it to the young’uns.”

  • Last words in literature 34

    Piggy (Lord of the Flies)

    Author: William Golding

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

  • Last words in literature 35

    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.”

  • Last words in literature 36

    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.”

  • Last words in literature 37

    Boxer (Animal Farm)

    Author: George Orwell

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

  • Last words in literature 38

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

    Author: JRR Tolkein

    “My precious! O my Precious!”

  • Last words in literature 39

    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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