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CHARACTER
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[ Also see Ability Ancestry Attitude Audacity Bravery Capacity Circumstance Class Cleverness Conscience Consistency Daring Decision Dignity Disposition Distinction Duty Eloquence Enthusiasm Environment Ethics Example Fame Faults Genius Goodness Honor Individuality Innocence Integrity Kindness Man Men Merit Modesty Morality Names Nature Nobility Obedience Perfection Personality Principles Quality Rashness Recklessness Reform Reformation Reputation Resolution Responsibility Sportsmanship Talent Temper Temperament Virtue Women Worth ]

When he is best he is a little worse than a man, and when he is worst he is little better than a beast.
      - William Shakespeare,
        The Merchant of Venice (Portia at I, ii)

O, do not slander him, for he is kind.
      - William Shakespeare,
        The Tragedy of King Richard the Third
         (Clarence at I, iv)

Ah, Buckingham, now do I play the touch,
  To try if thou be current gold indeed:
    Young Edward lives.
      - William Shakespeare,
        The Tragedy of King Richard the Third
         (King Richard at IV, ii)

Unheedful vows may heedfully be broken,
  And he wants it that wants resolved will
    To learn his wit t' exchange the bad for better.
      - William Shakespeare,
        The Two Gentlemen of Verona
         (Proteus at II, vi)

Base men, that use them to so base effect!
  But truer stars did govern Proteus' birth;
    His words are bonds, his oath are oracles,
      His love sincere, his thoughts immaculate,
        His tears pure messengers sent from his heart,
          His heart as far from fraud as heaven from earth.
      - William Shakespeare,
        The Two Gentlemen of Verona
         (Julia at II, vii)

Let thy tongue tang arguments of state; put thyself into the trick of singularity.
      - William Shakespeare,
        Twelfth Night, or, What You Will
         (Malvolio at II, v)

Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world.
      - George Bernard Shaw

If you value a man's regard, strive with him. As to liking, you like your newspaper--and despise it.
      - George Bernard Shaw

A man of great common sense and good taste, meaning thereby a man without originality or moral courage.
      - George Bernard Shaw, Caesar and Cleopatra
         (notes)

What a man believes may be ascertained, not from his creed, but from the assumption on which he habitually acts.
      - George Bernard Shaw,
        Man and Superman--Maxims for Revolutionists

The amiable and the severe, Mr. Burke's sublime and beautiful, by different proportions, are mixed in every character. Accordingly, as either is predominant, men imprint the passions of love or fear. The best punch depends on a proper mixture of sugar and lemons.
      - William Shenstone

As headstrong as an allegory on the banks of the Nile.
      - Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Rivals
         (act III, st. 3)

I'm called away by particular business. But I leave my character behind me.
      - Richard Brinsley Sheridan,
        School for Scandal (act II, sc. 2)

There is no man suddenly either excellently good or extremely evil, but grows either as he holds himself up in virtue or lets himself slide to viciousness.
      - Sir Philip Sidney (Sydney), Arcadia
         (bk. I)

Gentlmen, we have a master; this young man does everything, can do everything and will do everything.
  [Fr., Messieurs, nous avons un maitre, ce jeune homme fait tout, peut tout, et veut tout.]
      - attributed to Count Emmanuel Joseph Sieyes,
        referring to Bonaparte

The effect of character is always to command consideration. We sport and toy and laugh with men or women who have none, but we never confide in them.
      - William Gilmore Simms

Although genius always commands admiration, character most secures respect. The former is more the product of the brain, the latter of heart-power; and in the long run it is the heart that rules in life.
      - Samuel Smiles

There are many persons of whom it may be said that they have no other possession in the world but their character, and yet they stand as firmly upon it as any crowned king.
      - Samuel Smiles

It is energy--the central element of which is will--that produces the miracles of enthusiasm in all ages. Everywhere it is the main-spring of what is called force of character, and the sustaining power of all great action.
      - Samuel Smiles, Character (ch. V)

Daniel Webster struck me much like a steam engine in trousers.
      - Sydney Smith, Lady Holland's Memoir
         (ch. IX)

He [Macaulay] is like a book in breeches.
      - Sydney Smith, Lady Holland's Memoir
         (ch. IX)

Lax in their gaiters, laxer in their gait.
      - Horace Smith and James Smith,
        Rejected Addresses--The Theatre

A bold bad man!
      - Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene
         (bk. I, canto I, st. 37)

The most careful reasoning characters are very often the most easily abashed.
      - Madame de Stael (Baronne Anne Louise Germaine de Stael-Holstein)

The only equitable manner in my opinion, of judging the character of a man is to examine if there are personal calculations in his conduct; if there are not, we may blame his manner of judging, but we are not the less bound to esteem him.
      - Madame de Stael (Baronne Anne Louise Germaine de Stael-Holstein)


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