IVANOV Play Monologue by Anton Chekhov

In this dramatic male monologue, IVANOV is talking to Lebedev about his current state of life.  This monologues is Scene 10, Act 4 of the play IVANOV by Anton Chekhov.

IVANOV:  Listen, my poor man.  I won’t try and explain myself–whether I’m decent or rotten, sane or mad.  You wouldn’t understand.  I used to be young, eager, sincere, intelligent.  I loved, hated and believed differently from other people, I worked hard enough–I had hope enough–for ten men.  I tilted at windmills and banged my head against brick walls.  Without measuring my own strength, taking thought or knowing anything about life, I heaved a load on my back which promptly tore the muscles and cracked my spine.  I was in a hurry to expand all my youthful energy, drank too much, got over-excited, worked, never did things by halves.  But tell me, what else could you expect?  We’re so few, after all, and there’s such a lot to be done, God knows.  And now look how cruelly life, the life I challenged, is taking its revenge.  I broke under the strain.  I woke up to myself at the age of thirty, I’m like an old man in his dressing-gown and slippers.  Heavy-headed, dull-witted, worn out, broken, shattered, without faith or love, with no aim in life, I moon around, more dead than alive, and don’t know who I am, what I’m living for or what I want.  Love’s a fraud, or so I think, and any show of affection’s just sloppy sentimentality, there’s no point in working, songs and fiery speeches are cheap and stale.  Wherever I go I carry misery, indifference, boredom, discontent and disgust with life.  I’m absolutely done for.  You see a man exhausted at the age of thirty-five, disillusioned, crushed by his own pathetic efforts, bitterly ashamed of himself, sneering at his own feebleness.  how my pride rebels, I’m choking with fury.  [Staggering]  God, I’m on my last legs–I’m so weak I can hardly stand.  Where’s Matthew?  I want him to take me home.

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