A monologue from the play by August Strindberg

  • NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from Plays by August Strindberg, v. 1. Trans. Edwin Bj√∂rkman. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1912.
  • CAPTAIN: So you didn't get free this time after all! But then, you didn't get me locked up either! Yes, I know you wanted to put me in prison, but I wipe it out. All who come near us turn evil and go their way. They are weak, and the evil is strong! [Pause] How commonplace life has become! Formerly blows were struck; now you shake your fist at the most! I am fairly certain that, three months from now, we shall celebrate our silver wedding--with Curt as best man--and with the Doctor and Gerda among the guests. The Quartermaster will make the speech and the Sergeant-Major will lead the cheering. And if I know the Colonel right, he will come on his own invitation-- Yes, you may laugh! But do you recall the silver wedding of Adolph--in the Fusiliers? The bride had to carry her wedding ring on the right hand, because the groom in a tender moment had chopped off her left ring finger with his dirk. [Pause] Are you crying? No, I believe you are laughing! Yes, child, partly we weep and partly we laugh. Which is the right thing to do?--Don't ask me! The other day I read in a newspaper that a man had been divorced seven times--which means that he had been married seven times--and finally, at the age of ninety-eight, he ran away with his first wife and married her again. Such is love! If life be serious, or merely a joke, is more than I can decide. Often it is most painful when a joke, and its seriousness if after all more agreeable and peaceful. But when at last you try to be serious, somebody comes and plays a joke on you--as Curt, for instance! Do you want a silver wedding? [Silence] Oh, say yes! They will laugh at us, but what does it matter? We may laugh also, or keep serious, as the occasion may require.