A monologue from the play by Anton Chekhov

  • NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from The Moscow Arts Theatre Series of Plays. Ed. Oliver M. Sayler. New York: Brentanos, 1922.
  • TCHEBUTIKIN: [Morosely] Devil take them all ... take them all ... They think I'm a doctor and can cure everything, and I know absolutely nothing, I've forgotten all I ever knew, I remember nothing, absolutely nothing. Devil take it. Last Wednesday I attended a woman in Zosip -- and she died, and it's my fault she died. Yes ... I used to know a certain amount twenty-five years go, but I don't remember anything now. Nothing. Perhaps I'm not really a man, and am only pretending that I have arms and legs and a head; perhaps I don't exist at all, and only imagine that I walk, and eat, and sleep. [Cries] Oh, if only I didn't exist! [Stops crying; morosely] The devil only knows ... Day before yesterday they were talking at the club; they mentioned Shakespeare, Voltaire ... I've never read, never read at all, and I made believe as if I had. So did the others. Oh, how beastly! How petty! And then I remembered the woman whom I attended and who died on Wednesday ... and I couldn't get her out of my thoughts, and everything in my soul turned crooked, nasty, wretched ... So I drank to forget.