If you have an end delimiter and you want to allow this end delimiter to appear literally you need to escape it
But why is this always considered a necessary feature for a quoting delimiter, trumping all other considerations like avoiding headaches like the OP describes?
For a language that has so many different quoting delimiters as Perl does, I would have expected there to be at least one that would simply drop the pedantic "must allow each and every Unicode character to appear in the string literal" requirement and do no escaping at all.
With a use-case like file paths, it's quite unlikely that not being able to include single quotes (or a similar special-char delimiter) would become a problem.
In addition, I'm not convinced that introducing a separate escape character (in this case, backslash) is technically necessary for implementing single-quoted strings that are supposed to allow single-quotes to appear inside them.
What would prevent the usage of the delimiting character as its own escape character? I.e. two consecutive single-quotes would not terminate a single-quoted string literal, they would be interpreted as one single-quote.
I don't see any reason for ever wanting to put two string literals right next to each other without space or comma in between, so it would not create any syntactical ambiguity.
Or am I missing something?