Words of Inspiration: The Fear of Death

A select collection of quotes about our fear of dying and death

Photo © Fursov Aleksey/Getty Images

While words can never fully express how much someone means to us, language can still provide comfort, solace, hope and even inspiration following the death of a loved one. Here, you will find a select collection of quotes about the fear of death we all feel at one time or another. You might find these lines helpful when writing a eulogy or condolence letter, particularly if you're having trouble finding the right words and need inspiration.

Francis Bacon, English author, philosopher and statesman
Men fear death as children fear to go in the dark; and as that natural fear in children is increased with tales, so is the other.

Ernest Becker, American author
The irony of man's condition is that the deepest need is to be free of the anxiety of death and annihilation; but it is life itself which awakens it, and so we must shrink from being fully alive.

Bertolt Brecht, German playwright
Do not fear death so much, but rather the inadequate life.

Susan Cheever, American author
Death is terrifying because it is so ordinary. It happens all the time.

Richard Dawkins, English evolutionary biologist and author
Being dead will be no different from being unborn -- I shall be just as I was in the time of William the Conqueror or the dinosaurs or the trilobites. There is nothing to fear in that.

John Dryden, English poet and playwright
Death, in itself, is nothing; but we fear,
To be we know not what, we know not where.

Albert Einstein, German-born theoretical physicist
The fear of death is the most unjustified of all fears, for there's no risk of accident for someone who's dead.

Homer, Greek poet
Better to flee from death than feel its grip.

Anais Nin, French-born author
People living deeply have no fear of death.

Plato, Greek philosopher
No one knows whether death, which people fear to be the greatest evil, may not be the greatest good.

Erich Maria Remarque, German author
But now, for the first time, I see you are a man like me. I thought of your hand-grenades, of your bayonet, of your rifle; now I see your wife and your face and our fellowship. Forgive me, comrade. We always see it too late. Why do they never tell us that you are poor devils like us, that your mothers are just as anxious as ours, and that we have the same fear of death, and the same dying and the same agony -- Forgive me, comrade; how could you be my enemy?

Jerry Seinfeld, American comedian
According to most studies, people's number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you're better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.

William Shakespeare, English playwright
Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,
It seems to me most strange that men should fear;
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.

(Julius Caesar, Act II, Scene 2)

Socrates, Greek philosopher
To fear death, my friends, is only to think ourselves wise, without being wise: for it is to think that we know what we do not know.

For anything that men can tell, death may be the greatest good that can happen to them: but they fear it as if they knew quite well that it was the greatest of evils. And what is this but that shameful ignorance of thinking that we know what we do not know?

Tecumseh, Native American leader
When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.

Mark Twain, American author
The fear of death follows from the fear of life.

A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.

Rebecca West, British author and journalist
Motherhood is neither a duty nor a privilege, but simply the way that humanity can satisfy the desire for physical immortality and triumph over the fear of death.

Related Articles:
Types of Death Fears
Are You Afraid of Dying? Readers Respond

You Might Also Like:
Words of Inspiration: Brother
Words of Inspiration: Child
Words of Inspiration: Death & Grief
Words of Inspiration: Downton Abbey
Words of Inspiration: Father
Words of Inspiration: Friend
Words of Inspiration: Grandparent
Words of Inspiration: Grief, Loss and Mourning
Words of Inspiration: Husband
Words of Inspiration: Infant
Words of Inspiration: Mother
Words of Inspiration: Pet
Words of Inspiration: Shakespeare
Words of Inspiration: Sister
Words of Inspiration: Soldier
Words of Inspiration: Wife
Words of Inspiration: Workplace
How to Write a Eulogy: 5 Tips for Success

Continue Reading