Doctor Chebutykin, 3 Sisters, Character Study


[DOCTOR comes in; walking as though sober without staggering, he walks across the room, stops, looks round; then goes up to the washing-stand and begins to wash his hands.]

DOCTOR [morosely]. The devil take them all... damn them all. They think I'm a doctor, that I can treat all sorts of complaints, and I really know nothing about it, I've forgotten all I did know, I remember nothing, absolutely nothing. [OLGA and NATASHA go out unnoticed by him.] The devil take them. Last Wednesday I treated a woman -- she died, and it's my fault that she died. Yes... I did know something twenty-five years ago, but now I remember nothing, nothing. Perhaps I'm not a man at all but only pretend to have arms and legs and head; perhaps I don't exist at all and only imagine that I walk around, eat and sleep [weeps]. Oh, if only I didn't exist! [Stops weeping, morosely] I don't care! I don't care a scrap! [a pause] Who the hell knows.... The day before yesterday there was a conversation at the club: they talked about Shakespeare, Voltaire.... I've read nothing, nothing at all, but I looked as though I'd read them. And the others did the same as I did. The vulgarity! The meanness! And that woman I killed on Wednesday came back to my mind... and it all came back to my mind and everything seemed nasty, disgusting and all twisted in my soul.... I went and got drunk...

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