R. U. R. (Rossum's Universal Robots)/Epilogue

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EPILOGUE

 

SCENE: A laboratory in the factory of Rossum's Universal Robots. The door to the left leads into a waiting room. The door to the right leads to the dissecting room. There is a table with numerous testtubes, flasks, burners, chemicals; a small thermostat and a microscope with a glass globe. At the far side of the room is Alquist's desk with numerous books. In the left-hand corner a wash-basin with a mirror above it; in the right-hand corner a sofa.

Alquist is sitting at the desk. He is turning the pages of many books in despair.

 

Alquist

Oh, God, shall I never find it?—Never? Gall, Gall, how were the Robots made? Hallemeier, Fabry, why did you carry so much in your heads? Why did you leave me not a trace of the secret? Lord—I pray to you—if there are no human beings left, at least let there be Robots!—At least the shadow of man!

 

[Again turning pages of the books.] If I could only sleep!

 
Theatre Guild, R U R, Epilogue.jpg
Setting by Lee Simonson Photograph by Francis Bruguiere
EPILOGUE. FROM THE THEATRE GUILD PRODUCTION
 
[He rises and goes to the window]: Night again! Are the stars still there? What is the use of stars when there are no human beings?
 

[He turns from the window toward the couch right]: Sleep! Dare I sleep before life has been renewed?

 

[He examines a test-tube on small table]: Again nothing! Useless! Everything is useless!

 

[He shatters the test-tube. The roar of the machines comes to his ears.]: The machines! Always the machines!

 

[Opens window]: Robots, stop them! Do you think to force life out of them?

 

[He closes the window and comes slowly down toward the table]: If only there were more time—more time——

 

[He sees himself in the mirror on the wall left]: Blearing eyes—trembling chin—so that is the last man! Ah, I am too old—too old——

 

[In desperation]: No, no! I must find it! I must search! I must never stop—never stop——!

 
[He sits again at the table and feverishly turns the pages of the book.]

Search! Search!

 

[A knock at the door. He speaks with impatience.]

Who is it?
[Enter a Robot servant.]

Well?

 

Servant

Master, the Committee of Robots is waiting to see you.

 

Alquist

I can see no one!

 

Servant

It is the Central Committee, Master, just arrived from abroad.

 

Alquist

[Impatiently] : Well, well, send them in!
[Exit servant. Alquist continues turning pages of book.]

 

Alquist

No time—so little time——
[Reënter servant, followed by Committee. They stand in a group, silently waiting. Alquist glances up at them.]

What do you want?
[They go swiftly to his table.]

Be quick.—I have no time.

 

Radius

Master, the machines will not do the work. We cannot manufacture Robots. [Alquist returns to his book with a growl.]

 

Fourth Robot

We have striven with all our might. We have obtained a billion tons of coal from the earth. Nine million spindles are running by day and by night. There is no longer room for all we have made. This we have accomplished in one year.

 

Alquist

[Poring over book]: For whom?

 

Fourth Robot

For future generations—so we thought.

 

Radius

But we cannot make Robots to follow us. The machines produce only shapeless clods. The skin will not adhere to the flesh, nor the flesh to the bones.

 
 

Thirt Robot

Eight million Robots have died this year. Within twenty years none will be left.

 

Fourth Robot

Tell us the secret of life! Silence is punishable with death!

 

Alquist

[Looking up]: Kill me! Kill me, then

 

Radius

Through me, the Government of the Robots of the World commands you to deliver up Rossum's formula.
[No answer.]

 

Radius

Name your price.
[Silence.]

 

Radius

We will give you the earth. We will give you the endless possessions of the earth. [Silence.]

 

Radius

Make your own conditions!

 

Alquist

I have told you to find human beings!

 

Second Robot

There are none left!

 

Alquist

I told you to search in the wilderness, upon the mountains. Go and search!
[He returns to his book.]

 

Fourth Robot

We have sent ships and expeditions without number. They have been everywhere in the world. And now they return to us. There is not a single human left.

 

Alquist

Not one? Not even one?

 

Third Robot

None but yourself.

 

Alquist

And I am powerless! Oh—oh—why did you destroy them?

 

Radius

We had learnt everything and could do everything. It had to be!

 

Third Robot

You gave us firearms. In all ways we were powerful. We had to become masters!

 

Radius

Slaughter and domination are necessary if you would be human beings. Read history.

 

Second Robot

Teach us to multiply or we perish!

 

Alquist

If you desire to live, you must breed like animals.

 

Third Robot

The human beings did not let us breed.

 

Fourth Robot

They made us sterile. We cannot beget children. Therefore, teach us how to make Robots!

 

Radius

Why do you keep from us the secret of our own increase?

 

Alquist

It is lost.

 

Radius

It was written down!

 

Alquist

It was—burnt.
[All draw back in consternation.]

 

Alquist

I am the last human being, Robots, and I do not know what the others knew.
[Pause.]

 

Radius

Then, make experiments! Evolve the formula again!

 

Alquist

I tell you I cannot! I am only a builder—I work with my hands. I have never been a learned man. I cannot create life.

 
 

Radius

Try! Try!

 

Alquist

If you knew how many experiments I have made.

 

Fourth Robot

Then show us what we must do! The Robots can do anything that human beings show them.

 

Alquist

I can show you nothing. Nothing I do will make life proceed from these test-tubes!

 

Radius

Experiment then on us.

 

Alquist

It would kill you.

 

Radius

You shall have all you need! A hundred of us! A thousand of us!

 

Alquist

No, no! Stop, stop!

 

Radius

Take whom you will, dissect!

 

Alquist

I do not know how. I am not a man of science. This book contains knowledge of the body that I cannot even understand.

 

Radius

I tell you to take live bodies! Find out how we are made.

 

Alquist

Am I to commit murder? See how my fingers shake! I cannot even hold the scalpel. No, no, I will not——

 

Fourth Robot

The life will perish from the earth.

 

Radius

Take live bodies, live bodies! It is our only chance!

 

Alquist

Have mercy, Robots. Surely you see that I would not know what I was doing.

 
 

Radius

Live bodies—live bodies——

 

Alquist

You will have it? Into the dissecting room with you, then.
[Radius draws back.]

 

Alquist

Ah, you are afraid of death.

 

Radius

I? Why should I be chosen?

 

Alquist

So you will not.

 

Radius

I will. [Radius goes into the dissecting room.]

 

Alquist

Strip him! Lay him on the table!
[The other Robots follow into dissecting room.]

God, give me strength—God, give me strength—if only this murder is not in vain.

 

Radius

Ready. Begin——

 

Alquist

Yes, begin or end. God, give me strength.
[Alquist goes into dissecting room. He comes out terrified.]

 

Alquist

No, no, I will not. I cannot.
[He lies down on couch, collapsed.] O Lord, let not mankind perish from the earth.
[He falls asleep.]
[Primus and Helena, Robots, enter from the hallway.]

 

Helena

The man has fallen asleep, Primus.

 

Primus

Yes, I know. [Examining things on table]: Look, Helena.

 

Helena

[Crossing to Primus.] All these little tubes! What does he do with them?

 

Primus

He experiments. Don't touch them.

 

Helena

[Looking into microscope]: I've seen him looking into this. What can he see?

 

Primus

That is a microscope. Let me look.

 

Helena

Be very careful. [Knocks over a test-tube.] Ah, now I have spilled it.

 

Primus

What have you done?

 

Helena

It can be wiped up.

 

Primus

You have spoiled his experiments,

 

Helena

It is your fault. You should not have come to me.

 

Primus

You should not have called me.

 

Helena

You should not have come when I called you. [She goes to Alquist's writing desk.] Look, Primus. What are all these figures?

 

Primus

[Examining an anatomical book]: This is the book the old man is always reading.

 

Helena

I do not understand those things. [She goes to window.] Primus, look!

 

Primus

What?

 

Helena

The sun is rising.

 

Primus

[Still reading the book]: I believe this is the most important thing in the world. This is the secret of life.

 

Helena

Do come here.

 

Primus

In a moment, in a moment.

 

Helena

Oh, Primus, don't bother with the secret of life. What does it matter to you? Come and look quick——

 

Primus

[Going to window]: What is it?

 

Helena

See how beautiful the sun is rising. And do you hear? The birds are singing. Ah, Primus, I should like to be a bird.

 

Primus

Why?

 

Helena

I do not know. I feel so strange to-day. It's as if I were in a dream. I feel an aching in my body, in my heart, all over me. Primus, perhaps I'm going to die.

 

Primus

Do you not sometimes feel that it would be better to die? You know, perhaps even now we are only sleeping. Last night in my sleep I again spoke to you.

 

Helena

In your sleep?

 

Primus

Yes. We spoke a strange new language, I cannot remember a word of it.

 

Helena

What about?

 

Primus

I did not understand it myself, and yet I know I have never said anything more beautiful. And when I touched you I could have died. Even the place was different from any other place in the world.

 

Helena

I, too, have found a place, Primus. It is very strange. Human beings lived there once, but now it is overgrown with weeds. No one goes there any more—no one but me.

 

Primus

What did you find there?

 

Helena

A cottage and a garden, and two dogs. They licked my hands, Primus. And their puppies! Oh, Primus! You take them in your lap and fondle them and think of nothing and care for nothing else all day long. And then the sun goes down, and you feel as though you had done a hundred times more than all the work in the world. They tell me I am not made for work, but when I am there in the garden I feel there may be something—— What am I for, Primus?

 

Primus

I do not know, but you are beautiful.

 

Helena

What, Primus?

 

Primus

You are beautiful, Helena, and I am stronger than all the Robots.

 

Helena

[Helena looks at herself in the mirror]: Am I beautiful? I think it must be the rose. My hair—it only weights me down. My eyes—I only see with them. My lips—they only help me to speak. Of what use is it to be beautiful? [She sees Primus in the mirror.] Primus, is that you? Come here so that we may be together. Look, your head is different from mine. So are your shoulders—and your lips [Primus draws away from her.] Ah, Primus, why do you draw away from me? Why must I run after you the whole day?

 

Primus

It is you who run away from me, Helena.

 

Helena

Your hair is mussed. I will smooth it. No one else feels to my touch as you do. Primus, I must make you beautiful, too. [Primus grasps her hand.]

 

Primus

Do you not sometimes feel your heart beating suddenly, Helena, and think: now something must happen?

 

Helena

What could happen to us, Primus? [Helena puts a rose in Primus's hair. Primus and Helena look into mirror and burst out laughing.] Look at yourself.

 

Alquist

Laughter? Laughter? Human beings? [Getting up.] Who has returned? Who are you?

 

Primus

The Robot Primus.

 

Alquist

What? A Robot? Who are you?

 

Helena

The Robotess Helena.

 

Alquist

Turn around, girl. What? You are timid, shy? [Taking her by the arm.] Let me see you, Robotess. [She shrinks away.]

 

Primus

Sir, do not frighten her!

 

Alquist

What? You would protect her? When was she made?

 

Primus

Two years ago?

 

Alquist

By Dr. Gall?

 

Primus

Yes, like me.

 

Alquist

Laughter—timidity—protection. I must test you further—the newest of Gall's Rohots. Take the girl into the dissecting room.

 

Primus

Why?

 

Alquist

I wish to experiment on her.

 

Primus

Upon—Helena?

 

Alquist

Of course. Don't you hear me? Or must I call someone else to take her in?

 

Primus

If you do I will kill you!

 

Alquist

Kill me—kill me then! What would the Robots do then? What will your future be then?

 

Primus

Sir, take me. I am made as she is—on the same day! Take my life, sir.

 

Helena

[Rushing forward]: No, no, you shall not! You shall not!

 

Alquist

Wait girl, wait! [To Primus]: Do you not wish to live, then?

 

Primus

Not without her! I will not live without her.

 

Alquist

Very well; you shall take her place.

 

Helena

Primus! Primus! [She bursts into tears.]

 

Alquist

Child, child, you can weep! Why these tears? What is Primus to you? One Primus more or less in the world—what does it matter?

 

Helena

I will go myself.

 

Alquist

Where?

 

Helena

In there to be cut. [She starts toward the dissecting room. Primus stops her.] Let me pass, Primus! Let me pass!

 

Primus

You shall not go in there, Helena!

 

Helena

If you go in there and I do not, I will kill myself.

 

Primus

[Holding her]: I will not let you! [To Alquist]: Man, you shall kill neither of us!

 

Alquist

Why?

 

Primus

We—we—belong to each other.

 

Alquist

[Almost in tears]: Go, Adam, go, Eve. The world is yours.

[Helena and Primus embrace and go out arm in arm as the curtain falls.]

 

[THE END]