Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof quotes

37 total quotes (ID: 114)

Big Daddy
Maggie the Cat
Multiple Characters


Big Daddy: Now, why do ya drink?!
Brick: Give me my crutch.
Big Daddy: Tell me first.
Brick: No, you give me a drink first and I'll tell ya.
Big Daddy: Tell me first! First you gotta tell me!
Brick: All right, disgust!
Big Daddy: DISGUST WITH WHAT?
Brick: You strike a hard bargain.
Big Daddy: Boy, do you want liquor that bad?
Brick: Yes, sir. I want liquor that bad. [Big Daddy hands him his crutch]
Big Daddy: Now tell me, what are you disgusted with?
Brick: Mendacity. You know what that is. It's lies and liars.
Big Daddy: Who's been lyin' to ya? Maggie? Has your wife been lyin' to ya?
Brick: No. Not one lie, not one person. The whole thing.
Big daddy: Mendacity. What do you know about mendacity? I could write a book on it...Mendacity. Look at all the lies that I got to put up with. Pretenses. Hypocrisy. Pretendin' like I care for Big Mama, I haven't been able to stand that woman in forty years. Church! It bores me. But I go. And all those swindlin' lodges and social clubs and money-grabbin' auxiliaries. It's-it's got me on the number one sucker list. Boy, I've lived with mendacity. Now why can't you live with it? You've got to live with it. There's nothin' to live with but mendacity. Is there?
Brick: Oh, yes sir. [Lifting his glass] You can live with this.
Big Daddy: That's not livin', that's a-dodgin away from life.
Brick: I want to dodge away from it.
Big Daddy: Then son, why don't you kill yourself?
Brick: 'Cause I like to drink.
Big Daddy: I can't talk to you.
Brick: I'm sorry.


Big Daddy: I suddenly noticed that you don't call me Big Daddy anymore. Ah, if you needed a Big Daddy, why didn't you come to me? You wanted somebody to lean on, why Skipper and why not me? I'm your father! I'm Big Daddy. Me! Why didn't you come to your kinfolks - the peoples that love ya?
Brick: You don't know what love means. To you, it's just another four letter word.
Big Daddy: Why you've got a mighty short memory. What was there that you wanted that I didn't buy for ya...
Brick: You can't buy love! You bought yourself a million dollars worth of junk. Look at it. Does it love you?
Big Daddy: Who'd you think I bought it for? Me? It's yours. The place, the money, every rotten thing is yours!
Brick: I don't want things! [He pushes down and smashes vases, an old athletic trophy and other accumulated objects]...Waste! Worthless! Worthless! ...[He destroys a life-sized poster of himself throwing a football and then breaks down in a fit of uncontrollable tears]
Big Daddy: Don't son. Please don't cry, boy. That's funny. I never saw you cry before. How's that? Did you ever cry...?
Brick: Can't you understand? I never wanted your place or your money or any-...I don't wanna own anything. All I wanted was a father, not a boss - I wanted you to love me.
Big Daddy: I did and I do.
Brick: No. Not me, and not Gooper, and not even Mama.
Big Daddy: That's a lie. I did love her. I give her anything, everything she wanted...
Brick: Things. Things, Papa. You gave her things. A house, a trip to Europe, all this junk, some jewelry, things. You gave her things, Papa, not love.
Big Daddy: I gave, I gave her an empire, boy...
Brick: The men who build empires die, and empires die too.
Big Daddy: No. No it won't. That's why I've got you and Gooper.
Brick: Look at Gooper. Look at what he's become. Is that what you wanted him to be? And look at me. You put it very well indeed. I'm a thirty year old kid and pretty soon, I'm gonna be a fifty year old kid. I don't know what to believe in. Now what's the good of livin' if you've got nothin' to believe in? There's gotta be some, some purpose in life, some meanin'. Look at me, for the sake of God, look at me before it's too late. For once in your life, look at me as I really am. Look at me. I'm a failure. I'm a drunk. On my own in the open market, I'm not worth the price of a decent burial.
Big Daddy: You and Gooper and the rest of ya, blamin' me for everythin', huh?
Brick: Nobody, just...We've known each other all my life, and we're strangers. Now you own twenty-eight thousand acres of the richest..., you own ten million dollars, you own a wife and two children, you own us but you don't love us.
Big Daddy: In my own way, I've...
Brick: No sir. You don't even like people. You wanted Gooper to have kids. You wanted me to have kids. Why?
Big Daddy: 'Cause I want a part of me to keep on living. I won't have an end with the grave. Look. This is what my father left me. A lousy old suitcase. Now on the inside was nothin'. Nothin' but his uniform from the Spanish-American War. This was his legacy to me. Nothin' at all. And I built this place from nothin'.
...
Big Daddy: [about morphine, as the pain hits] I'm not gonna stupify myself with that stuff. I wanna think clear. I wanna see everything and I wanna feel everything. I won't mind goin'. I've got the guts to die. What I want to know is, 'Have you got the guts to live?'

What's that smell in this room? Didn't you notice it Brick? Didn't you notice a powerful and obnoxious odor of mendacity in this room?...There ain't nothin' more powerful than the odor of mendacity...You can smell it. It smells like death.

Big Daddy: But it's always there in the morning, ain't it - the truth? And it's here right now. You're just feelin' sorry for yourself. That's all it is - self-pity. You didn't kill Skipper. He killed himself. You and Skipper and millions like ya are livin' in a kid's world, playin' games, touchdowns, no worries, no responsibilities. Life ain't no damn football game. Life ain't just a bunch of high spots. You're a thirty-year old kid. Soon you'll be a fifty-year old kid, pretendin' you're hearin' cheers when there ain't any. Dreamin' and drinkin' your life away. Heroes in the real world live twenty-four hours a day, not just two hours in a game. Mendacity, you won't...you won't live with mendacity but you're an expert at it. The truth is pain and sweat and payin' bills and makin' love to a woman that you don't love anymore. Truth is dreams that don't come true and nobody prints your name in the paper 'til you die...The truth is, you never grow'd up. Grown-ups don't hang up on their friends...and they don't hang up on their wives...and they don't hang up on life. Now that's the truth and that's what you can't face!
Brick: Can you face the truth...?
Big Daddy: Try me!
Brick: You or somebody else's truth?
Big Daddy: Bull. You're runnin' again.
Brick: Yeah, I am runnin'. Runnin' from lies, lies like birthday congratulations and many happy returns of the day when there won't be any...
Big Daddy [realizing that Brick is telling him he is dying] I'll outlive you. I'll bury you. I'll buy your coffin...It's death, ain't it?
Brick: You said it yourself, Big Daddy, mendacity is a system we live in.

Brick: That's what you hated. Bein' shut out.
Maggie: Not by the crowds, baby. By you, by the man I worshipped. That's why I hated Skipper.
Brick: You hated him so much that you got him drunk and went to bed with him.
Big Daddy: [After a long pause] Well, is that true?
Maggie: Oh Big Daddy, you don't think I ravished a football hero?
Brick: Skipper was drunk.
Maggie: So were you most of the time. I don't seem to make out so well with you.
Brick: Are you? Are you trying to say that nothing happened between you and Skipper?
Maggie: You know what happened!
Brick: I don't know what happened. I don't know, Maggie. Now I wasn't there. I couldn't play that Sunday. I wasn't in Chicago. I was in the hospital...
Maggie: But Skipper played. Oh, he played all right. Played his first professional game without Brick...Without you, Skipper was nothin'. Outside - big, tough, confident. Inside - pure jelly. You saw the game on TV. You saw what happened.
Brick: But I didn't see what happened in Skipper's hotel room. That little episode was not on TV. Go ahead, tell Big Daddy why you were in Skipper's room.
Maggie: He was sick, sick with drink and he wouldn't come out. He busted some furniture and the hotel manager said to stop him before he called the police. So I went to his room. I scratched on his door and begged him to let me in. He was half-crazy, violent and screamin' one minute and weak and cryin' the next. And all the time, scared stiff about you. So I said to him, maybe it was time we forgot about football. Maybe he ought to get a job and let me and Brick alone. I thought he'd hit me. He walked toward me with a funny sort of smile on his face. Then he did the strangest thing. He kissed me. That was the first time he'd ever touched me. And then I knew what I was gonna do. I'd get rid of Skipper. I'd show Brick that their deep true friendship was a big lie. I'd prove it by showin' that Skipper would make love to the wife of his best friend. He didn't need any coaxin'. He was more than willin'. He even seemed to have the same idea. I was tryin' to win back my husband. It didn't matter how. I would have done anythin' - even that. At the last second, I-I got panicky. Supposin' I lost you instead. Supposin' you'd hate me instead of Skipper. So I ran. Nothin' happened. I've tried to tell him [Brick] a hundred times but he won't let me. Nothin' happened.
Brick: Hallelujah - Saint Maggie! [He raises his drinking glass]
Maggie: I wanted to get rid of Skipper but not if it meant losin' you. [To Big Daddy] He blames me for Skipper's death. Maybe I got rid of Skipper. Skipper went out anyway. I didn't get rid of him at all. Isn't it an awful joke, honey? I lost you anyway.

Big Daddy: I put up with a lot of bull around here because I thought I was dyin'. That's when you started takin' over. Your loud voice and your old busybody buttin' in here, there, and everywhere. Sashayin' around here, makin' a big noise like a boss. I'm the only boss around here. I built this place with no help from you. And I'll run this place 'til the day I die. Now is that plain to ya, Ida? Is that perfectly clear to ya? Now I ain't gonna die. There ain't nothin' wrong with me but a spastic colon! Made spastic, I reckon, by all the lies and liars I've had to put up with around here. And all the hypocrisy I've had to live with these forty years I've lived with you.
Big Mama: In all these years, you never believed I loved you. And I did. I did so much. I did love you. I even loved your hate and your hardness.

Big Daddy: What are you runnin' away from? Why'd you hang up on Skipper when he called you? Answer me. What did he say? Was it about him and Maggie?
Brick: He said they'd made love.
Big Daddy: And you believed him.
Brick: Yes.
Big Daddy: Then why haven't you thrown her out? Somethin's missin' here. Now, now why did Skipper kill himself?
Brick: 'Cause somebody let him down. I let him down. When he called that night, I couldn't make much sense out of...There was one thing that was sure. Skipper was scared. Scared! It would happen that day on the football field, that I'd blame him, scared that I'd walk out on him. Skipper afraid - I couldn't believe that. I mean inside, he was real deep-down scared. And he broke like a rotten stick. He started cryin': 'I need you.' He kept babblin': 'Help me! Help me!' Me help him? How does one drownin' man help another drownin' man?
Big Daddy: So you hung up on him.
Brick: And then that phone started to ring again. And it rang and it rang and it wouldn't stop ringin'. And I lay in that hospital bed. I was unable to move or run from that sound and still, it kept ringin' louder and louder! And the sound of that was like Skipper screamin' for help. And I couldn't pick it up.
Big Daddy: So that's when he killed himself.
Brick: Yep. 'Cause I let him down. [Tears well up in his eyes] So that disgust with mendacity is really disgust with myself. And when I hear that click in my head, I don't hear the sound of that phone ringin' anymore. And I can stop thinkin'. I'm ashamed, Big Daddy. That's why I'm a drunk. When I'm drunk, I can stand myself.

Big Mama: There ain't nothin' wrong with Big Daddy but nerves...He's as sound as a dollar, and now he knows he is. That's why he ate such a supper. He had a load off his mind, knowin' he wasn't doomed to what he'd thought he was doomed to.

Brick: Big Daddy! Now what makes him so big? His big heart? His big belly? Or his big money?
Maggie: The heat has made you cross.
Brick: Give me my crutch.
Maggie: Why don't you put on your nice silk pajamas, honey, and come on down to the party? There's a lovely cool breeze.
Brick: Give me my crutch, Maggie.
Maggie: Lean on me, baby. [He turns and stiffly ignores her. She warmly hugs him from behind] You've got a nice smell about you. Is your bath water cool?
Brick: No.
Maggie: I know somethin' that would make you feel cool and fresh. Alcohol rub. Cologne.
Brick: No thanks. We'd smell alike. Like a couple of cats in the heat.
Maggie: It's cool on the lawn.
Brick: I'm not goin' down there, Maggie, not for you and not for Big Daddy.
Maggie: At least you can give him his present that I remembered to buy for you for his birthday. Do you think you could write a few words on this card?
Brick: You write somethin' Maggie.
Maggie: It's got to be your handwritin'. It's your present. It's got to be your handwritin'.
Brick: I didn't get him a present.
Maggie: Well, what's the difference?!
Brick: Then if there's no difference, you write the card.
Maggie: And have him know you didn't remember his birthday?
Brick: I didn't remember.
Maggie: Well, you don't have to prove it to him. Just-just write 'Love, Brick' for heaven's sakes.
Brick: NO!
Maggie: You've got to.
Brick: I don't have to do anything I don't want to! Now you keep forgettin' the conditions on which I agreed to stay on livin' with you.
Maggie: I'm not living with you. We occupy the same cage, that's all. You know, that's the first time you've raised your voice in a long time. Crack in the stone wall? I think that's a fine sign. Mighty fine.

Big Mama: Oh shoot, Maggie, you just don't like children.
Maggie: Why that's not true! I adore them - well brought up.
Big Mama: Well why don't you have some then and bring them up well instead of all the time pickin' on Gooper's an' Mae's?
Maggie: ...Big Mama, what you said about havin' children, it's still kind of a secret but...
Big Mama: Oh shoot, Maggie, stop playing so dumb. I mean, is he still drinkin' this stuff much?
Maggie: Oh, well he may have had a little highball...
Big Mama: Don't laugh about it! Some single men stop drinking when they get married. Others start. Brick never touched liquor before he was...
Maggie: [crying out] THAT'S NOT FAIR.
Big Mama: Fair or not fair. I want to ask you a question, one question: 'Do ya make Brick happy?' Well?
Maggie: Why don't you ask me if he makes me happy?
Big Mama: Cause I know that ...
Maggie: It works both ways.
Big Mama: Somethin' ain't right. You're childless and our son drinks... [she pats the bed for emphasis] When a marriage goes on the rocks, the rocks are there, right there!
Maggie: [now alone in the room] That's not fair.

Big Daddy: You expect me to turn over twenty-eight thousand acres of the richest land this side of valley Nile to a fool on the bottle?
Brick: No sir.
Big Daddy: I like you son, but why should I subsidize worthless behavior? Rot? Corruption?
Brick: Then turn it over to Gooper and Mae.
Big Daddy: I can't stand Gooper and Mae and those five screamin' monkeys. You know, I don't have to turn it over to any of ya. This day, I ain't made no will. And now I don't have to. The pressure's off. I can just wait and see if you pull yourself together or if you don't... [tenderly] Let's don't leave it like this, like all them other talks we've had. We always seem to talk around things. We seem to leave things unsaid and unspoken. But now we gotta talk straight.

Maggie: Why can't you lose your good looks, Brick? Most drinkin' men lose theirs. Why can't you? I think you've even gotten better-lookin' since you went on the bottle. You were such a wonderful lover...You were so excitin' to be in love with. Mostly, I guess, 'cause you were... If I thought you'd never never make love to me again... why I'd find me the longest, sharpest knife I could and I'd stick it straight into my heart. I'd do that. Oh Brick, how long does this have to go on? This punishment? Haven't I served my term? Can't I apply for a pardon?
Brick: Lately, that finishin' school voice of yours sounds like you was runnin' upstairs to tell somebody the house is on fire.
Maggie: Is it any wonder? You know what I feel like? I feel all the time like a cat on a hot tin roof.
Brick: Then jump off the roof, Maggie, jump off it. Now cats jump off roofs and they land uninjured. Do it. Jump.
Maggie: Jump where? Into what?
Brick: Take a lover.
Maggie: [angrily] I don't deserve that! I can't see any man but you. With my eyes closed, I just see you. Why can't you get ugly Brick? Why can't you please get fat or ugly or somethin' so I can stand it?
Brick: You'll make out fine. Your kind always does.
Maggie: Oh, I'm more determined than you think. I'll win all right.
Brick: Win what? What is, uh, the victory of a cat on a hot tin roof?
Maggie: Just stayin' on it, I guess. As long as she can.

Maggie: Why are you looking at me like that?
Brick: Like what, Maggie?
Maggie: Like you were just lookin'.
Brick: I wasn't conscious of lookin' at you, Maggie.
Maggie: [seductively] I was conscious of it. [He coldly turns from her and rises on his crutches] If you were thinkin' the same thing I was...
Brick: No, Maggie.
Maggie: Why not?!
Brick: Will you please keep your voice down?
Maggie: No! I know you better than you think. I've seen that look before. And I know what it used to mean. And it still means the same thing now.
Brick: You're not the same woman now, Maggie.
Maggie: Oh, don't you think I know that? Don't you think I know that...
Brick: [cooly detached] Know what, Maggie?
Maggie: That I've gone through this horrible transformation, that I've become hard and frantic and cruel...Oh Brick, I get so lonely.
Brick: Everybody gets that.
Maggie: Living with somebody you love can be lonelier than living entirely alone - if the one you love doesn't love you.
Brick: ...Would you like to live alone, Maggie?
Maggie: No! No, I wouldn't.

Mae Flynn Pollitt: [about her children] They're all Pollitts, I'm proud to say, every one of 'em. And I know that Big Daddy's just as proud as we are knowin' there's a whole dynasty of his flesh and blood waitin' to take over.

Brick: [after Maggie closes and locks the door] Now what did you do that for, Maggie?
Maggie: To give us a little privacy for a while.
Brick: Don't make a fool of yourself, Maggie.
Maggie: I don't mind makin' a fool of myself over you.
Brick: Well I mind. I feel embarrassed for you.
Maggie: Feel embarrassed! But I can't live on this way.
Brick: Now you agreed to accept that condition.
Maggie: I know I did, but I can't, I can't. [She fiercely hugs him.]
Brick: Let go, Maggie. [She doesn't respond and he pulls her away.] Now let go, Maggie.