Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.
Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865), Lincoln's Own Stories
Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.
Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865)
Everyone has the obligation to ponder well his own specific traits of character. He must also regulate them adequately and not wonder whether someone else's traits might suit him better. The more definitely his own a man's character is, the better it fits him.
Cicero (106 BC - 43 BC)
Without an acquaintance with the rules of propriety, it is impossible for the character to be established.
Confucius (551 BC - 479 BC), The Confucian Analects
Many a man's reputation would not know his character if they met on the street.
Elbert Hubbard (1856 - 1915)
People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.
Eleanor Roosevelt (1884 - 1962), My Day
Forming characters! Whose? Our own or others? Both. And in that momentous fact lies the peril and responsibility of our existence.
Personality can open doors, but only character can keep them open.
Elmer G. Letterman
I am a man of fixed and unbending principles, the first of which is to flexible at all times.
Everett Mckinley Dirkson
In attempts to improve your character, know what is in your power and what is beyond it.
Francis Thompson (1859 - 1907)
A person reveals his character by nothing so clearly as the joke he resents.
Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742 - 1799)
Our character...is an omen of our destiny, and the more integrity we have and keep, the simpler and nobler that destiny is likely to be.
George Santayana (1863 - 1952),
Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.
Helen Keller (1880 - 1968)
Of all the properties which belong to honorable men, not one is so highly prized as that of character.
Henry Clay (1777 - 1852)
A man's character is his fate.
Heraclitus (540 BC - 480 BC), On the Universe
People with courage and character always seem sinister to the rest.
Hermann Hesse (1877 - 1962)
The farther behind I leave the past, the closer I am to forging my own character.
You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself one.
James A. Froude (1818 - 1894)
How easy it is for generous sentiments, high courtesy, and chivalrous courage to lose their influence beneath the chilling blight of selfishness, and to exhibit to the world a man who was great in all the minor attributes of character, but who was found wanting when it became necessary to prove how much principle is superior to policy.
James Fenimore Cooper, The Last of the Mohicans, 1826
Character consists of what you do on the third and forth tries.
When the character of a man is not clear to you, look at his friends.
Character - the willingness to accept responsibility for one's own life - is the source from which self respect springs.
Joan Didion (1934 - ), "Slouching Towards Bethlehem"
Men show their characters in nothing more clearly than in what they think laughable.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 - 1832)
I take it as a man's duty to restrain himself.
Lois McMaster Bujold, Ethan of Athos, 1986
One can acquire everything in solitude - except character.
Marie Henri Beyle (1783 - 1842)
To succeed is nothing, it's an accident. but to feel no doubts about oneself is something very different: it is character.
Marie Leneru, Oprah Magazine, May 2004
The character of a man is known from his conversations.
Menander (342 BC - 292 BC)
I could never think well of a man's intellectual or moral character, if he was habitually unfaithful to his appointments.
The character of every act depends upon the circumstances in which it is done.
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. (1841 - 1935)
Underneath this flabby exterior is an enormous lack of character.
Oscar Levant (1906 - 1972)
Nature magically suits a man to his fortunes, by making them the fruit of his character.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882)
People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of their character.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882)
I appreciate people who are civil, whether they mean it or not. I think: Be civil. Do not cherish your opinion over my feelings. There's a vanity to candor that isn't really worth it. Be kind.
Richard Greenberg, NY Times Magazine, 03-26-2006
You can tell a lot about a fellow's character by his way of eating jellybeans.
Ronald Reagan (1911 - 2004), quoted in Observer, March 29 1981
Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don't turn up at all.
You can tell the character of every man when you see how he receives praise.
Seneca (5 BC - 65 AD), Epistles
Put more trust in nobility of character than in an oath.
Solon (638 BC - 559 BC)
Sometimes people carry to such perfection the mask they have assumed that in due course they actually become the person they seem.
W. Somerset Maugham (1874 - 1965), The Moon and Sixpence
Strong feelings do not necessarily make a strong character. The strength of a man is to be measured by the power of the feelings he subdues not by the power of those which subdue him.