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.