Male Monologues

  • “Mankind marches on…” – Peter Trofimov from ‘The Cherry Orchard’
    “Mankind marches on, going from strength to strength. All that now eludes us will one day be well within our grasp, but, as I say, we must work and we must do all we can for those who are trying to find the truth. Here in Russia very few people do work at present. The kind of Russian intellectuals I know, far and away the greater part of them anyway, aren’t looking for anything. They don’t do anything. They still don’t know the meaning of hard work. They call themselves an intelligensia, but they speak to their servants as inferiors and treat the peasants like animals. They don’t study properly, they never read anything serious, in fact they don’t do anything at all. Science is something they just talk about and they know precious little about art. Oh, they’re all very earnest. They all go round looking extremely solemn. They talk of nothing but weighty issues and they discuss abstract problems, while all the time everyone knows the workers are abominably fed and sleep without proper bedding, thirty or forty to a room–with bed-bugs everywhere, to say nothing of the stench, the damp, the moral degradation. And clearly all our fine talk is just meant to pull wool over our own eyes and other people’s too. Tell me, where are those children’s creches that there’s all this talk about? Where are the libraries? They’re just things people write novels about, we haven’t actually got any of them. What we have got it dirt, vulgarity and squalor. I loathe all those earnest faces. They scare me, and so do earnest conversations. Why can’t we keep quiet for a change?”

    “Yes, I have tricks in my pocket, I have things up my sleeve.” – Tom Wingfield from ‘The Glass Menagerie’
    “Yes, I have tricks in my pocket, I have things up my sleeve. But I am the opposite of a stage magician. He gives you illusion that has the appearance of truth. I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion. To begin with, I turn bark time. I reverse it to that quaint period, the thirties, when the huge middle class of America was matriculating in a school for the blind. Their eyes had failed them or they had failed their eyes, and so they were having their fingers pressed forcibly down on the fiery Braille alphabet of a dissolving economy. In Spain there was revolution. Here there was only shouting and confusion. In Spain there was Guernica. Here there were disturbances of labour, sometimes pretty violent, in otherwise peaceful cities such as Chicago, Cleveland, Saint Louis. . . . This is the social background of the play. The play is memory. Being a memory play, it is dimly lighted, it is sentimental, it is not realistic. In memory everything seems to happen to music. That explains the fiddle in the wings. I am the narrator of the play, and also a character in it. The other characters are my mother Amanda, my sister Laura and a gentleman caller who appears in the final scenes. He is the most realistic character in the play, being an emissary from a world of reality that we were somehow set apart from. But since I have a poet’s weakness for symbols, I am using this character also as a symbol; he is the long-delayed but always expected something that we live for. There is a fifth character in the play who doesn’t appear except in this larger-than-life-size photograph over the mantel. This is our father who left us a long time ago.He was a telephone man who fell in love with long distances; he gave up his job with the telephone company and skipped the light fantastic out of town. . . .The last we heard of him was a picture postcard from Mazatlan, on the Pacific coast of Mexico, containing a message of two words – ‘Hello – Good-bye!’ and no address. I think the rest of the play will explain itself …”

    “Try and calm yourself, and make your mind easy again…” – Torvald Helmer from ‘A Doll’s House’
    “Try and calm yourself, and make your mind easy again, my frightened little singing-bird. Be at rest, and feel secure; I have broad wings to shelter you under. [Walks up and down by the door.] How warm and cosy our home is, Nora. Here is shelter for you; here I will protect you like a hunted dove that I have saved from a hawk’s claws; I will bring peace to your poor beating heart. It will come, little by little, Nora, believe me. Tomorrow morning you will look upon it all quite differently; soon everything will be just as it was before. Very soon you won’t need me to assure you that I have forgiven you; you will yourself feel the certainty that I have done so. Can you suppose I should ever think of such a thing as repudiating you, or even reproaching you? You have no idea what a true man’s heart is like, Nora. There is something so indescribably sweet and satisfying, to a man, in the knowledge that he has forgiven his wife–forgiven her freely, and with all his heart. It seems as if that had made her, as it were, doubly his own; he has given her a new life, so to speak; and she has in a way become both wife and child to him. So you shall be for me after this, my little scared, helpless darling. Have no anxiety about anything, Nora; only be frank and open with me, and I will serve as will and conscience both to you–. What is this? Not gone to bed? Have you changed your things?”

    “We can’t strike.” – Marius from ‘Les Misérables’
    “We can’t strike. Why not? Because it’s against the law to strike! The king has declared that everything is a crime. Writing is a crime. Two weeks ago, the police destroyed the Galaty, the worker’s newspaper. They smashed the press. They burned over two thousand newspapers but that didn’t satisfy the king. Three days ago at a student meeting, a peaceful meeting, soldiers broke it up and arrested two of my friends. Writing, talking, going to class, speaking out is a crime. Being poor is a crime. Being poor is the worst crime of all. And if you commit these crimes, you are condemned for life. Our government has no mercy, no pity, no forgiveness. And there’s no work for us. And because there’s no work, our children are starving. Tell me: why are we powerless to save the people we love? All of you know. Tell me – why? The king betrayed us. We were promised the vote, do we have it? Do we have the vote? Where is the republic our fathers died for? It’s here my brothers. It lives here in our heads. But most of all, best of all, it’s here in our hearts. In our hearts – WE ARE THE REPUBLIC!”