He Who Gets Slapped – Monologue (Mancini)

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A monologue from the play by Leonid Andreyev (Adapted by Walter Wykes)

NOTE: This monologue is reprinted with the author’s permission. All inquiries should be directed to the author at: sandmaster@aol.com


You should see her. Little temptress. Black hair. Eyes as dark as night. And her smile! So … bewitching! Like the devil’s bride! Like Eve, holding the apple! Her eyes sparkling! Just daring you!

Laughing! Begging you to take a bite! Promising untold pleasures if you just have the courage to grasp it—to take her in your arms! How can a man be expected to resist such temptation?!


You’re the only one who understands me, HE. Why don’t I like things which aren’t forbidden? Why should I always, even at the moment of ecstasy, be reminded of some stupid law?!

This passion, I’m telling you, it’ll turn my hair gray and lead me to the grave—or prison.


Is it really my fault if she’s a few years younger than the law allows? I mean, how was I to know? Eh? Besides, it’s only our society, you know, that makes it such a crime. In the old days, it was quite normal.

It was expected. Everybody did it. Mary and Joseph even. She was only thirteen, you know. Nobody judges them. And you can’t tell me she didn’t know exactly what she was doing!

This girl—not the virgin mother. I didn’t teach her anything, if you know what I mean. But her parents don’t see it that way. And they know they’ve got me by the throat.


I can’t go to jail, HE. I wouldn’t last a month. I’m an intellectual—a man of refinement. The jails in this country … they don’t discriminate between men of my kind and real criminals. They’d eat me alive.

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