Provocative Albert Camus Caligula Quotes From The Play About The Mad Roman Emperor

Here is a list of authentic Albert Camus Caligula quotes, taken from the play.

Caligula is a four-act play written by Albert Camus in 1938.

There are different revised versions of this play.

It is about the controversial mad Roman Emperor, Caligula.

Caligula is notorious for his cruelty and wild and seemingly insane behavior.

It is said that during the six months of his rule, Caligula was a noble and moderate emperor.

It was later he became an insane tyrant, who involved with cruelty, sadism, extravagance, and sexual perversion.

According to Camus, the theme of his play is that “men die and they are not happy“.

After the death of his sister-cum-lover, Caligula was obsessed to seek out for the Absolute.

Fueled by contempt and horror, Caligula tried to exercise, through murder and perversion of all values.

He forced his way through, and committed many tragic errors.

Then he found out that in the end was no good.

Ultimately, Caligula consented to die for having understood that no one could save himself all alone and that one could not be free in opposition to other men.

In 1979, the story of Caligula was also made into a controversial movie, which  stars Malcolm McDowell, Teresa Ann Savoy, Helen Mirren, Peter O’Toole, John Steiner and John Gielgud.

Albert Camus Caligula quotes

Authentic Albert Camus Caligula Quotes

Check out my selection of Albert Camus Caligula quotes from the play in both French and English language.


“…the only mistake one makes in life is to cause others suffering.” – Albert Camus

“…faire souffrir était la seule façon de se tromper.” (French)

(The Misunderstanding And Caligula By Albert Camus, Translated By Christopher Williams, Knocklofty Press, 2008, Caligula, Act One Sc. 6, P. 63)

(The quote is also found in: Caligula & Three Other Plays By Albert Camus, Knopf, 1958, Act I Sc. VI, P. 10)

(The quote in French is found in: Caligula Piece En Quatre Actes Par Albert Camus, Èdition De Pierre-Louis Rey, Éditions Gallimard, 1958, Acte I Sc.V, P. 53)

(The quote in French is also found in: Le Malentendu: Suivi De Caligula Par Albert Camus, Gallimard, 1958, Caligula, Acte I Sc. VII, P. 127)

(Another source of the quote in French is found in: Caligula Par Albert Camus, Distribooks Incorporated, 1972, Acte I Sc. VII, P. 30)


“[Love] It’s the kind of sickness that spares neither the clever nor the foolish.” – Albert Camus

“[L’amour] c’est le genre de maladie quin’épargne ni les intelligents ni les imbéciles.” (French)

(The Misunderstanding And Caligula By Albert Camus, Translated By Christopher Williams, Knocklofty Press, 2008, Caligula, Act One Sc. 1, P. 53)

(The quote in French is found in: Caligula Piece En Quatre Actes Par Albert Camus, Èdition De Pierre-Louis Rey, Éditions Gallimard, 1958, Acte I Sc. I, P. 39)


“The insecurity; that’s what makes one think.” – Albert Camus

“L’insécurité, voilà ce qui fait penser.” (French)

(The Misunderstanding And Caligula By Albert Camus, Translated By Christopher Williams, Knocklofty Press, 2008, Caligula, Act Four Sc. 4, P. 117)

(The quote in French is found in: Caligula Piece En Quatre Actes Par Albert Camus, Èdition De Pierre-Louis Rey, Éditions Gallimard, 1958, Acte IV Sc. IV, P. 146)


“To govern is to steal. Everybody knows that, but it is the manner of doing it.” – Albert Camus

“Gouverner, c’est voler, tout le monde sait ça. Mais il y a la manière.” (French)

(The Misunderstanding And Caligula By Albert Camus, Translated By Christopher Williams, Knocklofty Press, 2008, Caligula, Act One Sc. 8, P. 65)

(The quote in French is found in: Caligula Piece En Quatre Actes Par Albert Camus, Èdition De Pierre-Louis Rey, Éditions Gallimard, 1958, Acte I Sc. VIII, P. 56)


“… misfortune, it’s like marriage. You believe that you’re selecting and then you are chosen.” – Albert Camus

“…le malheur c’est comme le mariage. On croit qu’on choisit et puis on est choisi.” (French)

(The Misunderstanding And Caligula By Albert Camus, Translated By Christopher Williams, Knocklofty Press, 2008, Caligula, Act One Sc. 1, P. 55)

(The quote in French is found in: Caligula Piece En Quatre Actes Par Albert Camus, Èdition De Pierre-Louis Rey, Éditions Gallimard, 1958, Acte I Sc. I, P. 56)

(The quote in French is also found in: Le Malentendu: Suivi De Caligula Par Albert Camus, Gallimard, 1958, Caligula, Acte I Sc. I, P. 114)


“The lie is never innocent.” – Albert Camus

“Le mensonge n’est jamais innocent.” (French)

(The Misunderstanding And Caligula By Albert Camus, Translated By Christopher Williams, Knocklofty Press, 2008, Caligula, Act One Sc. 10, P. 68)

(The quote in French is found in: Caligula Piece En Quatre Actes Par Albert Camus, Èdition De Pierre-Louis Rey, Éditions Gallimard, 1958, Acte I Sc. X, P. 60)

(The quote in French is also found in: Le Malentendu: Suivi De Caligula Par Albert Camus, Gallimard, 1958, Caligula, Act I Sc. X, P. 134)


“…it’s so good to contradict oneself from time to time.” – Albert Camus

“…ç’est si bon de se contredire de temps en temps.” (French)

(The Misunderstanding And Caligula By Albert Camus, Translated By Christopher Williams, Knocklofty Press, 2008, Caligula, Act Three Sc. 6, P. 111)

(The quote in French is found in: Caligula Piece En Quatre Actes Par Albert Camus, Èdition De Pierre-Louis Rey, Éditions Gallimard, 1958, Acte III Sc. VI, P. 134)


“It’s clearly necessary that old age be forgiven.” – Albert Camus

“Il faut bien que vieillesse se passe.” (French)

(The Misunderstanding And Caligula By Albert Camus, Translated By Christopher Williams, Knocklofty Press, 2008, Caligula, Act Two Sc. 5, P. 82)

(The quote in French is found in: Caligula Piece En Quatre Actes Par Albert Camus, Èdition De Pierre-Louis Rey, Éditions Gallimard, 1958, Acte II Sc. V, P. 83)

(The quote in French is also found in: Caligula Par Albert Camus, Distribooks Incorporated, 1972, Acte II Sc. V, P. 61)


“This world, as it is constituted, is not bearable.Therefore I have need of the moon, or of happiness, or immortality, of something which is demented perhaps but which is not of this world.” – Albert Camus

“Ce monde, tel qu’il est fait, n’est pas supportable. J’ai donc besoin de la lune, ou du bonheur, ou de l’immortalité, de quelque chose qui soit dément.” (French)

(The Misunderstanding And Caligula By Albert Camus, Translated By Christopher Williams, Knocklofty Press, 2008, Caligula, Act One Sc. 4, P. 59)

(The quote in French is found in: Caligula Piece En Quatre Actes Par Albert Camus, Èdition De Pierre-Louis Rey, Éditions Gallimard, 1958, Acte I Sc. IV, P. 48)

(The quote in French is also found in: Caligula Par Albert Camus, Distribooks Incorporated, 1972, Acte I Sc. IV, P. 61)


“…what is a god that I desire to make myself equal to him? What I wish for today, with all my might, is beyond the reach of some gods.I take charge of a kingdom where the impossible is king.” – Albert Camus

“…qu’est-ce qu’un dieu pour que je désire m’égaler à lui ? Ce que je désire de toutes mes forces, aujourd’hui, est au-dessus des dieux. Je prends en charge un royaume où l’impossible est roi.” (French)

(The Misunderstanding And Caligula By Albert Camus, Translated By Christopher Williams, Knocklofty Press, 2008, Caligula, Act One Sc. 11, P. 70)

(The quote in French is found in: Caligula Piece En Quatre Actes Par Albert Camus, Èdition De Pierre-Louis Rey, Éditions Gallimard, 1958, Acte I Sc. XI, P. 63)

(The quote in French is also found in: Caligula Par Albert Camus, Distribooks Incorporated, 1972, Acte I Sc. IV, P. 41)


“A man is always free at the expense of someone.” – Albert Camus

“On est toujours libre aux dépens de quelqu’un.” (French)

(The Misunderstanding And Caligula By Albert Camus, Translated By Christopher Williams, Knocklofty Press, 2008, Caligula, Act Two Sc. 9, P. 86)

(The quote in French is found in: Caligula Piece En Quatre Actes Par Albert Camus, Èdition De Pierre-Louis Rey, Éditions Gallimard, 1958, Acte II Sc. IX, P. 88)

(The quote in French is also found in: Caligula Par Albert Camus, Distribooks Incorporated, 1972, Acte II Sc. IX, P. 66)


“…everywhere the very weight of the future and the past accompanies us!” – Albert Camus

“…partout le même poids d’avenir et de passé nous accompagne!” (French)

(The Misunderstanding And Caligula By Albert Camus, Translated By Christopher Williams, Knocklofty Press, 2008, Caligula, Act Two Sc. 14, P. 96)

(The quote in French is found in: Caligula Piece En Quatre Actes Par Albert Camus, Èdition De Pierre-Louis Rey, Éditions Gallimard, 1958, Acte II Sc. XIV, P. 105)

(The quote in French is also found in: Caligula Par Albert Camus, Distribooks Incorporated, 1972, Acte II Sc. XIV, P. 82)


“…a man cannot like the person of one’s own countenances that one tries to hide from oneself.” – Albert Camus

“…on ne peut aimer celui de ses visages qu’on essaie de masquer en soi.” (French)

(The Misunderstanding And Caligula By Albert Camus, Translated By Christopher Williams, Knocklofty Press, 2008, Caligula, Act Three Sc. 6, P. 110)

(The quote in French is found in: Caligula Piece En Quatre Actes Par Albert Camus, Èdition De Pierre-Louis Rey, Éditions Gallimard, 1958, Acte III Sc. VI, P. 130)

(The quote in French is also found in: Caligula Par Albert Camus, Distribooks Incorporated, 1972, Acte III Sc. VI, P. 107)


“There is nothing but hatred to make men intelligent.” – Albert Camus

“Il n’y a que la haine pour rendre les gens intelligents.” (French)

(The Misunderstanding And Caligula By Albert Camus, Translated By Christopher Williams, Knocklofty Press, 2008, Caligula, Act Two Sc. 14, P. 110)

(The quote in French is found in: Caligula Piece En Quatre Actes Par Albert Camus, Èdition De Pierre-Louis Rey, Éditions Gallimard, 1958, Acte II Sc. XIV, P. 100)

(The quote in French is also found in: Caligula Par Albert Camus, Distribooks Incorporated, 1972, Acte II Sc. XIV, P. 78)


“A man cannot live without reason.” – Albert Camus

“On ne peut vivre sans raison.” (French)

(The Misunderstanding And Caligula By Albert Camus, Translated By Christopher Williams, Knocklofty Press, 2008, Caligula, Act Two Sc. 2, P. 75)

(The quote in French is found in: Caligula Piece En Quatre Actes Par Albert Camus, Èdition De Pierre-Louis Rey, Éditions Gallimard, 1958, Acte II Sc. II, P. 73)

(The quote in French is also found in: Le Malentendu: Suivi De Caligula Par Albert Camus, Gallimard, 1958, Caligula, Act II Sc. II, P. 148)


“Other people create out of a deficiency of power. Me, I have no need of a piece of work: I live.” – Albert Camus

“Les autres créent par défaut de pouvoir. Moi, je n’ai pas besoin d’une œuvre: je vis.” (French)

(The Misunderstanding And Caligula By Albert Camus, Translated By Christopher Williams, Knocklofty Press, 2008, Caligula, Act Four Sc. 12, P. 127)

(The quote in French is found in: Caligula Piece En Quatre Actes Par Albert Camus, Èdition De Pierre-Louis Rey, Éditions Gallimard, 1958, Acte IV Sc. XII, P. 159)

(The quote in French is also found in: Le Malentendu: Suivi De Caligula Par Albert Camus, Gallimard, 1961, Caligula, Act IV Sc. XII, PP. 213-214)

(The second part of the quote is found here.)


Note:  All the above Albert Camus Caligula quotes are definitely authentic.

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