Tag Archives: proverb

The road to hell is paved with good intentions

Pen and ink on A4 paper. The road to hell is paved with good intentions

Pen and ink on a4 paper inspired by the word intention which is the theme of the week on Illustration Friday.
Illustration of the saying the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Playing around with some coloured inks I hardly use. My apologies for the cheesy pitchforks.

Taken from Wikipedia [link]
The saying is thought to have originated with Saint Bernard of Clairvaux who wrote, “L’enfer est plein de bonnes volontés et désirs” (hell is full of good wishes and desires)

The meaning of the phrase is that individuals may do bad things even though they intend the results to be good. An example might be the economic policies of the 1920s and 1930s. These were intended to be a prudent response to the economic turmoil following World War I and the Wall Street Crash but they helped to cause the Great Depression and, with the unrealistic Treaty of Versailles,1919, World War II in which millions of people suffered and died.

Another interpretation is that good intentions may not result in a good outcome because of inaction due to procrastination, laziness or other counter-productive factor.

Quite simply, it could also mean that good ideas or thoughts lead to negative consequences that were unintended. A person begins with good thoughts, promising to themselves to do the right thing, however, priorities in life change, time becomes a limiting factor, and alas, the good intentions go astray.

How uplifting!