The Quotes Page

A list of all memorable quotes of The Prisoner, compiled by Kirby

“Questions are a burden to others; answers a prison for oneself.”
--A sign from the Labour Exchange; Arrival

“Honour is the natural expression of a democratic society.”
--A sign from the Labour Exchange; Arrival

“Of the People, by the people, for the people.”
--A sign; Arrival, It's Your Funeral

“A still tongue makes a happy life”
--Village Maxim

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No.2: “But did you know we have our own little newspaper?”
No.6: “You must send me a copy.”
--No.2 discusses the Village; Arrival

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“I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered! My life is my own.”
--No.6; Arrival

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New No.2: “Good day, Number Six.”
No.6: “Number what?”
New No.2: “Six. For official purposes, everyone has a number. Yours is number 6.”
No.6: “I am not a number, I am a person.”

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“We're all pawns, m'dear.”
--The Ex-admiral; Arrival

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No.2: “What you should do is find yourself a nice young lady for the carnival. You're too independent. Now, they're pretty and unattached . . . ”
No.6: “What about her?” [points to The Observer]
No.2: “Quite unsuitable.”
No.6: “I'm independent, don't forget.”
--Dance of the Dead

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The Observer: “[The Village] has been going a long time.”
No.6: “Since the war? Before the war? WHICH war??”
The Observer: “A long time!”
--Dance of the Dead

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No.2: “We can treat folly with kindness . . . knowing that soon his wild spirit will quieten, and the foolishness will fall away to reveal a model citizen.”
No.6: “That day you'll never see.”
--Dance of the Dead

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“Never trust a woman. Even the four-legged variety.”
--No.6; Dance of the Dead

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No.2: “Are you going to run?”
No.6: “Like blazes. First chance I get.”
No.2: “I meant -- run for office?”
--Free For All

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“Unlike me, many of you have accepted the situation of your imprisonment and will die here like rotten cabbages.”
--No.6; Free For All

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Assistant: “He doesn't even bend a little.”
No.2: “That's why he'll break. It only needs one small thing. If he will answer one simple question, the rest will follow. 'Why did he resign?'”
--concerning No.6, Chimes of Big Ben

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No.2 [scanning book]: “Does not take sugar.” [chuckle] “ Frightened of putting on weight?”
No.6: “No, nor being reduced.”
--inside the Green Dome; Chimes of Big Ben

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No.6: “I'm going to escape and come back.”
No.2: “Escape and come back . . . ?”
No.6: “Ah, yes--escape, come back, wipe this place off the face of the earth, obliterate it . . . and you with it.”
--inside the Green Dome; Chimes of Big Ben

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No.2 [scanning book]: “There. . .At the age of fifteen, top of his class in woodwork! That's the sort of thing! I mean, join in!”
No.6: “I'll make you a handle for this door.”
--inside the Green Dome; Chimes of Big Ben

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No.6: “The whole earth as. . . `The Village'?”
No.2: “That is my hope. What's yours?”
No.6: “I'd like to be the first man on the moon!”
--Chimes of Big Ben

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No.2: “Well, be seeing you!”
No.6: “And you.” [Mumbling] “Not for long.”
--Chimes of Big Ben

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First Judge: “We're not quite sure what it means.”
No.6: “It means what it is.”
--at the art exhibition, Chimes of Big Ben

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Psychiatrist [aside to No.2 about No.6]: “ Interesting subject. I should like to know his breaking point.”
No.6: “Well, you could make that your life's ambition.”

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The Queen: “I want to be near you.”
No.6: “And everybody's near in this place . . . far too near.”

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No.2: “Tell me. . .are you still as keen as ever to leave us?”
No.6: “Any more questions?”
--The General

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No.6: “What are we all looking for?”
Professor's Wife: “Well, let's see. That gentleman over there. What do you think he's doing?”
No.6: “Tearing up a book.”
Professor's Wife: “He's creating a fresh concept. Construction arises out of the ashes of destruction. And that woman?”
No.6: “Standing on her head.”
Professor's Wife: “She's developing a new perspective.”
--The General

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No.6: “What do you think of this?”
[No.6 hands the Wife a portrait of herself as a general]
Professor's Wife: “Not altogether flattering. So art's your subject too?”
No.6: “No, no . . . Military history . . . Generals and that kind of thing.”
Professor's Wife: “I'm afraid you may be wasting your time.”
No.6: “What a pity . . . I understood that your husband was quite an authority on the subject.”
Professor's Wife: “He may be, but I'm not.”
[rips the portrait in two]
No.6: “Oh . . . `Creation out of destruction'?”
--The General

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Professor's Wife: “What does he want?”
No.2: “What some of us want, ultimately. To escape.”
Professor's Wife: “He persists about the General.”
No.2: “I shouldn't worry too much, my dear. I have an obsession about him myself.”
--concerning No.6, The General

No.2 and No.14 instinctively twist their heads to the same laboratory door that No.6 opens in his own dream.
--A.B. and C. (Not a quote, but “We like it.”)

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“By the time we've finished with him, he won't know whether he's Number Six or the cube root of infinity.”
--No.2; The Schizoid Man

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“I know every nut and bolt and cog--I built it with my own hands!”
--No.6, concerning his car; Many Happy Returns

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No.6: “I also have a problem . . . I'm not sure which side runs this Village.”
The Colonel (James): “A mutual problem.”
No.6: “Which I'm going to solve.”
The Colonel: “Quite.”
No.6: “If not here . . . then elsewhere.”
--Many Happy Returns

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“He's an old, old friend . . . who never gives up.”
--The Colonel [concerning no.6]; Many Happy Returns

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No.8: “Interesting . . . that he could separate fact from fantasy so quickly.”
No.2: “I told you he was different! I knew it wouldn't work! `Feed him with hallcinatory drugs. Put him in a dangerous environment. Talk to him through microphones!'”
No.8: “It's always worked and it would have worked this time if you hadn't . . . ”
No.2: “But it didn't, did it? `Give him love; take it away. Isolate him! Make him KILL . . . then face him with DEATH! He'll CRACK! Break him, even in his mind, and the rest will be easy!' Hmph. I should never have listened to you!”
No.8: “It would've worked, if you had kept your head . . .”
--Living in Harmony

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“I understand. The fact that you won't explain . . . explains everything.”
--the `retiring' Elderly No.2; It's Your Funeral

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No.6: “[The seal] is hollowed out, it's packed with explosives . . . ”
Elderly No.2: “And before I hand it over to my successor?”
No.6: “It will be detonated by radio!”
Elderly No.2 [pausing]: “I can think of better ways to die . . . ”
No.6: “And better causes to die for.”
--It's Your Funeral

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Chairman: “We deplore your spirit of disharmony.”
No.6: “That's a common complaint around here, isn't it?”
--A Change of Mind

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No.2: “I assure you, that no matter what significance you may hold for me, to the Village and its Committee, you are merely Citizen Number Six, who has to be tolerated, and if necessary, shaped to fit.”
No.6: “Public Enemy Number Six.”
--A Change of Mind

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“To borrow one of Number Two's sayings: `The butcher with the sharpest knife . . . has the warmest heart.' ”
--No.6; A Change of Mind

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“You still have a choice. You can still salvage your right to be individuals. Your rights to truth and free thought! Reject this false world of Number Two . . . reject it NOW!!”
--No.6; A Change of Mind

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No.15 [lunging at No. 6]: “I'll kill you!”
No.6 [calmly]: “Will you?”
--Hammer Into Anvil

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Sonia: “Mountaineering rope. . .but holds an elephant.”
No.6: “I must remember that next time I go climbing with one...”
--The Girl Who Was Death

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“He told [those kids] a . . . a blessed fairy tale. That one wouldn't drop his guard with his own GRANDMOTHER!”
--No.2 [concerning No.6]; The Girl Who Was Death

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No.2: “You missed, boy. You still can't [kill]!”
No.6: “I'm sorry, sorry . . .”
No.2: “Sorry!? You're sorry for everybody. Is that why you resigned??”
--Once Upon a Time

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“I feel a new man!”
--No.2, Fall Out

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“He has revolted. Resisted. Fought. Held fast. Maintained. Destroyed resistance. Overcome coercion. The right to be a person, someone or individual. We applaud his private war, and concede that despite materialistic efforts, he has survived intact and secure!”
--The President; Fall Out

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“All that remains is . . . recognition of a man.”
--The President; Fall Out

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And this, here, is one of our favorite musical notes in The Prisoner.

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If you notice any errors in the above quotes and know the correction(s), or if you wish to add quotes of your own, please e-mail me at and include the quote and/or corrections.

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Kirby J. Meyer, Last modified: May 6, 2018.