UBC Theses and Dissertations
Chekhov's doctors : a prescription for a better life Ledingham, Georgina May
Anton Chekhov pursued two careers simultaneously throughout his life—that of a doctor as well as a writer of prose and drama. It is not surprising, therefore, to discover many physicians amongst his characters but it is puzzling that the portrayal of doctors is frequently unflattering despite his admitted indebtedness to the profession. The thesis herein proposed is that the poor image Chekhov presents points to the necessity of self-determination in matters of emotional and spiritual health; if the doctors are incapable of healing themselves and those in their care, the patients might well take the biblical directive, "Arise! Take up thy bed and walk." In his stated desire to show people how bad and dreary their lives are, thereby assisting them in fashioning better lives, Chekhov's prescription is one of self-help. The short stories—Late-Blooming Flowers, Anyuta, Ward No. 6, The Head Gardener's Tale and The Doctor's Visit—and the plays— Platonov, Ivanov, The Seagull, The Wood-Demon, Uncle Vanya and Three Sisters—have been examined; beneath the incompetence and villainy of the doctors an affirming statement is discovered in the otherwise melancholy canon of Chekhov.
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