We are not nouns, we are verbs

Stephen Fry was interviewed in this weeks Radio Times. The following snippet caught my attention:

Oscar Wilde said that if you know what you want to be, then you inevitably become it - that is your punishment, but if you never know, then you can be anything. There is a truth to that. We are not nouns, we are verbs. I am not a thing - an actor, a writer - I am a person who does things - I write, I act - and I never know what I am going to do next. I think you can be imprisoned if you think of yourself as a noun.


  1. Anonymous7:50 pm

    I love this quote. I often use a modified version in essays in school Very useful for tackling almost Any question that has even a trace of existentialism in it. Good show old boy

  2. My pleasure. Do you know the exact quote and its source?