Uncle Vanya Monologues

Uncle Vanya (Dr. Mikhail Lvovich Astrov)

Yes, ten years have made another man of me. And why? Because I am overworked. Nurse, I am on my feet from morning until evening. I know no rest at all: at night I shake under my bedclothes for fear I’ll be dragged out to visit some sick people. Ever since I’ve known you, I haven’t had a single carefree day. How could I help growing old? Life is tedious, anyhow; it is a senseless, dirty business, and drags heavily. Every one in this neighborhood is silly, and after you live with them for two or three years you grow silly yourself. It is inevitable. See what a long moustache I have grown. A silly, long moustache. Yes, I am as silly as all the others, nurse, but not as stupid; no I have not grown stupid. Thank God, my brain is not muddled yet, though my feelings have grown dull. I ask for nothing, I need nothing, I love no one, except yourself alone. When I was a child, I had a nurse just like you. During the third week of Lent, an epidemic of eruptive typhoid broke out at Malitskoi, and I was called there. The peasants were all stretched side by side in their huts, and the calves and pigs were running about the floor among the sick. How filthy it was, and such smoke! Beyond words! I slaved among those people all day. I hadn’t a crumb to eat. But when I got home there was still no rest for me: a switchman was carried in from the railroad; I laid him on the operating table and he died in my arms under the chloroform. And then although my feelings should have been deadened, they rose again; my conscience tortured me as if I had murdered him. I sat down and shut my eyes-like this-and thought: will our descendants two hundred years from to-day, for whom we are breaking the path, remember us in a kindly spirit? No, nurse, they will forget.

Uncle Vanya (Sonia)

Sonia says

What can we do? We must live our lives. Yes, we shall live, Uncle Vanya. We shall live through the long procession of days before us, and through the long evenings; we shall patiently bear the trials that fate imposes on us; we shall work for others without rest, both now and when we are old; and when our last hour comes we shall meet it humbly, and there, beyond the grave, we shall say that we have suffered and wept, that our life was bitter, and God will have pity on us. Ah, then dear, dear Uncle, we shall see that bright and beautiful life; we shall rejoice and look back upon our sorrow here; a tender smile -and -we shall rest. I have faith, Uncle, fervent, passionate faith. We shall rest. We shall rest. We shall hear the angels. We shall see heaven shining like a jewel. We shall see all evil and all our pain sink away in the great compassion that shall enfold the world. Our life will be as peaceful and tender and sweet as a caress. I have faith; I have faith. My poor, poor Uncle Vanya, you are crying! You have never known what happiness was, but wait, Uncle Vanya, wait! We shall rest. We shall rest. We shall rest.

Uncle Vanya (Sonya)

What can we do? We must live out our lives. Yes, we shall live, Uncle Vanya. We shall live all through the endless procession of days ahead of us, and through the long evenings. We shall bear patiently the burdens that fate imposes on us. We shall work without rest for others, both now and when we are old. And when our final hour comes, we shall meet it humbly, and there beyond the grave, we shall say that we have known suffering and tears, that our life was bitter. And God will pity us. Ah, then, dear, dear Uncle, we shall enter on a bright and beautiful life. We shall rejoice and look back upon our grief here. A tender smile – and – we shall rest. I have faith, Uncle, fervent, passionate faith. We shall rest. We shall rest. We shall hear the angels. We shall see heaven shining like a jewel. We shall see evil and all our pain disappear in the great pity that shall enfold the world. Our life will be as peaceful and gentle and sweet as a caress. I have faith; I have faith. My poor, poor Uncle Vanya, you are crying. You have never known what it is to be happy, but wait, Uncle Vanya, wait! We shall rest. We shall rest. We shall rest.

Uncle Vanya (Yelena)

Yelena says

There is no greater sorrow than to know another’s secret when you cannot help them. He is obviously not in love with her, but why shouldn’t he marry her? She is not pretty, but she is so clever and pure and good, she would make a splendid wife for a country doctor of his years. I can understand how the poor child feels. She lives here in this desperate loneliness with no one around her except these colourless shadows that go mooning about talking nonsense and knowing nothing except that they eat, drink, and sleep. Among them appears from time to time this Dr. Astroff, so different, so handsome, so interesting, so charming. It is like seeing the moon rise on a dark night. Oh, to surrender oneself to his embrace! To lose oneself in his arms! I am a little in love with him myself! Yes, I am lonely without him, and when I think of him I smile. That Uncle Vanya says I have the blood of a Nixey in my veins: “Give rein to your nature for once in your life!” Perhaps it is right that I should. Oh, to be free as a bird, to fly away from all your sleepy faces and your talk and forget that you have existed at all! But I am a coward, I am afraid; my conscience torments me. He comes here every day now. I can guess why, and feel guilty already; I should like to fall on my knees at Sonia’s feet and beg her forgiveness, and weep.