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Last words in literature

Last words in literature

Last words in literature
Danielle de Wolfe
02 October 2013

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)

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)

Author: Joseph Heller

“I’m cold.”

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)

Author: Ray Bradbury

“Give it here, Montag.”

Jay Gatsby (The Great Gatsby)

Author: F Scott Fitzgerald

“Well, goodbye.”

Don Corleone (The Godfather)

Author: Mario Puzo

“Life is beautiful.”

Colonel Kurtz (Heart of Darkness)

Author: Joseph Conrad

“The horror! The horror!”

God (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)

Author: Douglas Adams

“Oh dear, I hadn’t thought of that.”

Helen Burns (Jane Eyre)

Author: Charlotte Brontë

“Goodnight, Jane.”

Tommy (Carrie)

Author: Stephen King

"Tonight, you go first class."

Jean Valjean (Les Miserables)

Author: Victor Hugo

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

Emma Bovary (Madame Bovary)

Auhtor: Gustave Flaubert

“The blind man!”

Captain Ahab (Moby-Dick)

Author: Herman Melville

“Thus, I give up the spear!”

Dorian Gray (The Picture of Dorian Gray)

Author: Oscar Wilde

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

Popeye (Sanctuary)

Author: William Faulkner

“Fix my hair, Jack.”

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)

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)

Author: John Steinbeck

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

Tess Durbeyfield (Tess of the d’Urbervilles)

Author: Thomas Hardy

“I am ready.”

Hamlet (Hamlet)

Author: William Shakespeare

“The rest is silence.”

Ike Marcus (Lush Life)

Author: Richard Price

“Not tonight, my man.”

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)

Author: JK Rowling

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

Johnny Smith (The Dead Zone)

Author: Stephen King

“We knew each other.”

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)

Author: Robert Louis Stevenson

“Fetch aft the rum, Darby.”

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)

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)

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)

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)

Author: Leo Tolstoy

“Lord, forgive me everything.”

Josef K (The Trial)

Author: Frank Kafka

“The dogs!”

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)

Author: Ralph Ellison

“Learn it to the young’uns.”

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)

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)

Author: Edgar Allan Poe

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

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)

Author: JRR Tolkein

“My precious! O my Precious!”

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.”