Rossum universal robots


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Rossum universal robots

  1. 1. R. U. R.(Rossums Universal Robots)byKAREL CAPEKTranslated by Paul Selver and Nigel PlayfairRobots of the world! The power of man has fallen!A new world has arisen: the Rule of the Robots!March!
  3. 3. ACT ICentral office of the factory of Rossums UniversalRobots.Entrance on the right. The windows on the frontwall look out on the rows of factory chimneys. Onthe left more managing departments. DOMIN issitting in the revolving chair at a large Americanwriting table. On the left-hand wall large mapsshowing steamship and railroad routes. On the right-hand wall are fastened printed placards. ("RobotsCheapest Labor," etc.) In contrast to these wallfittings, the floor is covered with a splendidTurkish carpet, a sofa, leather armchair, andfiling cabinets. At a desk near the windows SULLAis typing letters.DOMIN(dictating)Ready?SULLAYes.DOMINTo E. M. McVicker and Co., Southampton, England. "Weundertake no guarantee for goods damaged in transit. As soonas the consignment was taken on board we drew your captainsattention to the fact that the vessel was unsuitable for thetransport of Robots, and we are therefore not responsible forspoiled freight. We beg to remain for Rossums UniversalRobots. Yours truly."(SULLA, who has sat motionless during dictation, nowtypes rapidly for a few seconds, then stops,withdrawing the completed letter)Ready?SULLAYes.
  4. 4. DOMINAnother letter. To the E. B. Huyson Agency, New York, U.S.A."We beg to acknowledge receipt of order for five thousandRobots. As you are sending your own vessel, please dispatchas cargo equal quantities of soft and hard coal for R. U. R.,the same to be credited as part payment of the amount due tous. We beg to remain, for Rossums Universal Robots. Yourstruly."(SULLA repeats the rapid typing)Ready?SULLAYes.DOMINAnother letter. "Friedrichswerks, Hamburg, Germany. We beg toacknowledge receipt of order for fifteen thousand Robots."(Telephone rings)Hello! This is the Central Office. Yes. Certainly. Well, sendthem a wire. Good.(Hangs up telephone)Where did I leave off?SULLA"We beg to acknowledge receipt of order for fifteen thousandRobots."DOMINFifteen thousand R. Fifteen thousand R.(Enter MARIUS)Well, what is it?MARIUSTheres a lady, sir, asking to see you.DOMINA lady? Who is she?MARIUSI dont know, sir. She brings this card of introduction.DOMIN(reads the card)Ah, from President Glory. Ask her to come in.MARIUSPlease step this way.Enter HELENA GLORY. Exit MARIUS.HELENAHow do you do?R. U. R. I-2
  5. 5. DOMINHow do you do.(Standing up)What can I do for you?HELENAYou are Mr. Domin, the General Manager.DOMINI am.HELENAI have come ––DOMINWith President Glorys card. That is quite sufficient.HELENAPresident Glory is my father. I am Helena Glory.DOMINMiss Glory, this is such a great honor for us to be allowedto –– welcome our great Presidents daughter, that ––HELENAThat you cant show me the door?DOMINPlease sit down. Sulla, you may go.(Exit SULLA. Sitting down)How can I be of service to you, Miss Glory?HELENAI have come ––DOMINTo have a look at our famous works where people aremanufactured. Like all visitors. Well, there is no objection.HELENAI thought it was forbidden to ––DOMINTo enter the factory. Yes, of course. Everybody comes herewith someones visiting card, Miss Glory.HELENAAnd you show them ––DOMINOnly certain things. The manufacture of artificial people isa secret process.R. U. R. I-3
  6. 6. HELENAIf you only knew how enormously that ––DOMINInterests me. Europes talking about nothing else.HELENAWhy dont you let me finish speaking?DOMINI beg your pardon. Did you want to say something different?HELENAI only wanted to ask ––DOMINWhether I could make a special exception in your case andshow you our factory. Why, certainly Miss Glory.HELENAHow do you know I wanted to say that?DOMINThey all do. But we shall consider it a special honor to showyou more than we do the rest.HELENAThank you.DOMINBut you must agree not to divulge the least...HELENA(standing up and giving him her hand)My word of honor.DOMINThank you. Wont you raise your veil?HELENAOf course. You want to see whether Im a spy or not. I begyour pardon.DOMINWhat is it?HELENAWould you mind releasing my hand?DOMIN(releasing it)I beg your pardon.R. U. R. I-4
  7. 7. HELENA(raising her veil)How cautious you have to be here, dont you?DOMIN(observing her with deep interest)Hm, of course –– we –– that is ––HELENABut what is it? Whats the matter?DOMINIm remarkably pleased. Did you have a pleasant crossing?HELENAYes.DOMINNo difficulty?HELENAWhy?DOMINWhat I mean to say is –– youre so young.HELENAMay we go straight into the factory?DOMINYes. Twenty-two, I think.HELENATwenty-two what?DOMINYears.HELENATwenty-one. Why do you want to know?DOMINBecause –– as ––(with enthusiasm)you will make a long stay, wont you?HELENAThat depends on how much of the factory you show me.DOMINOh, hang the factory. Oh, no, no, you shall see everything,Miss Glory. Indeed you shall. Wont you sit down?R. U. R. I-5
  8. 8. HELENA(crossing to couch and sitting)Thank you.DOMINBut first would you like to hear the story of the invention?HELENAYes, indeed.DOMIN(observes HELENA with rapture and reels off rapidly)It was in the year 1920 that old Rossum, the greatphysiologist, who was then quite a young scientist, tookhimself to this distant island for the purpose of studyingthe ocean fauna, full stop. On this occasion he attempted bychemical synthesis to imitate the living matter known asprotoplasm until he suddenly discovered a substance whichbehaved exactly like living matter although its chemicalcomposition was different. That was in the year of 1932,exactly four hundred forty years after the discovery ofAmerica. Whew!HELENADo you know that by heart?DOMINYes. You see physiology is not in my line. Shall I go on?HELENAYes, please.DOMINAnd then, Miss Glory, old Rossum wrote the following amonghis chemical specimens: "Nature has found only one method oforganizing living matter. There is, however, another method,more simple, flexible and rapid, which has not yet occurredto nature at all. This second process by which life can bedeveloped was discovered by me today." Now imagine him, MissGlory, writing those wonderful words over some colloidal messthat a dog wouldnt look at. Imagine him sitting over a testtube, and thinking how the whole tree of life would grow fromit, how all animals would proceed from it, beginning withsome sort of beetle and ending with a man. A man of differentsubstance from us. Miss Glory, that was a tremendous moment.HELENAWell?DOMINNow, the thing was how to get the life out of the test tubes,and hasten development and form organs, bones and nerves, andR. U. R. I-6(MORE)
  9. 9. so on, and find such substances as catalytics, enzymes,hormones, and so forth, in short –– you understand?HELENANot much, Im afraid.DOMINNever mind. You see with the help of his tinctures he couldmake whatever he wanted. He could have produced a Medusa withthe brain of a Socrates or a worm fifty yards long. But beingwithout a grain of humor, he took it into his head to make avertebrate or perhaps a man. This artificial living matter ofhis had a raging thirst for life. It didnt mind being sewnor mixed together. That couldnt be done with naturalalbumen. And thats how he set about it.HELENAAbout what?DOMINAbout imitating nature. First of all he tried making anartificial dog. That took him several years and resulted in asort of stunted calf which died in a few days. Ill show itto you in the museum. And then old Rossum started on themanufacture of man.HELENAAnd I must divulge this to nobody?DOMINTo nobody in the world.HELENAWhat a pity that its to be found in all the school books ofboth Europe and America.DOMINYes. But do you know what isnt in the school books? That oldRossum was mad. Seriously, Miss Glory, you must keep this toyourself. The old crank wanted to actually make people.HELENABut you do make people.DOMINApproximately, Miss Glory. But old Rossum meant it literally.He wanted to become a sort of scientific substitute for God.He was a fearful materialist, and thats why he did it all.His sole purpose was nothing more nor less than to prove thatGod was no longer necessary. Do you know anything aboutanatomy?HELENAVery little.R. U. R. I-7DOMIN (contd)
  10. 10. DOMINNeither do I. Well, he then decided to manufacture everythingas in the human body. Ill show you in the museum thebungling attempt it took him ten years to produce. It was tohave been a man, but it lived for three days only. Then upcame young Rossum, an engineer. He was a wonderful fellow,Miss Glory. When he saw what a mess of it the old man wasmaking, he said: "Its absurd to spend ten years making aman. If you cant make him quicker than nature, you might aswell shut up shop." Then he set about learning anatomyhimself.HELENATheres nothing about that in the school books.DOMINNo. The school books are full of paid advertisements, andrubbish at that. What the school books say about the unitedefforts of the two great Rossums is all a fairy tale. Theyused to have dreadful rows. The old atheist hadnt theslightest conception of industrial matters, and the end of itwas that young Rossum shut him up in some laboratory or otherand let him fritter the time away with his monstrosities,while he himself started on the business from an engineerspoint of view. Old Rossum cursed him and before he died hemanaged to botch up two physiological horrors. Then one daythey found him dead in the laboratory. And thats his wholestory.HELENAAnd what about the young man?DOMINWell, any one who has looked into human anatomy will haveseen at once that man is too complicated, and that a goodengineer could make him more simply. So young Rossum began tooverhaul anatomy and tried to see what could be left out orsimplified. In short –– but this isnt boring you, MissGlory?HELENANo indeed. Youre –– its awfully interesting.DOMINSo young Rossum said to himself: "A man is something thatfeels happy, plays the piano, likes going for a walk, and infact, wants to do a whole lot of things that are reallyunnecessary."HELENAOh.R. U. R. I-8
  11. 11. DOMINThat are unnecessary when he wants, let us say, to weave orcount. Do you play the piano?HELENAYes.DOMINThats good. But a working machine must not play the piano,must not feel happy, must not do a whole lot of other things.A gasoline motor must not have tassels or ornaments, MissGlory. And to manufacture artificial workers is the samething as to manufacture gasoline motors. The process must beof the simplest, and the product of the best from a practicalpoint of view. What sort of worker do you think is the bestfrom a practical point of view?HELENAWhat?DOMINWhat sort of worker do you think is the best from a practicalpoint of view?HELENAPerhaps the one who is most honest and hardworking.DOMINNo; the one that is the cheapest. The one whose requirementsare the smallest. Young Rossum invented a worker with theminimum amount of requirements. He had to simplify him. Herejected everything that did not contribute directly to theprogress of work –– everything that makes man more expensive.In fact, he rejected man and made the Robot. My dear MissGlory, the Robots are not people. Mechanically they are moreperfect than we are, they have an enormously developedintelligence, but they have no soul.HELENAHow do you know theyve no soul?DOMINHave you ever seen what a Robot looks like inside?HELENANo.DOMINVery neat, very simple. Really, a beautiful piece of work.Not much in it, but everything in flawless order. The productof an engineer is technically at a higher pitch of perfectionthan a product of nature.R. U. R. I-9
  12. 12. HELENABut man is supposed to be the product of God.DOMINAll the worse. God hasnt the least notion of modernengineering. Would you believe that young Rossum thenproceeded to play at being God?HELENAHow do you mean?DOMINHe began to manufacture Super-Robots. Regular giants theywere. He tried to make them twelve feet tall. But youwouldnt believe what a failure they were.HELENAA failure?DOMINYes. For no reason at all their limbs used to keep snappingoff. Evidently our planet is too small for giants. Now weonly make Robots of normal size and of very high class humanfinish.HELENAI saw the first Robots at home. The town counsel bought themfor –– I mean engaged them for work.DOMINBought them, dear Miss Glory. Robots are bought and sold.HELENAThese were employed as street sweepers. I saw them sweeping.They were so strange and quiet.DOMINRossums Universal Robot factory doesnt produce a uniformbrand of Robots. We have Robots of finer and coarser grades.The best will live about twenty years.He rings for MARIUS.HELENAThen they die?DOMINYes, they get used up.(Enter MARIUS)Marius, bring in samples of the Manual Labor Robot.(Exit MARIUS)Ill show you specimens of the two extremes. This first gradeis comparatively inexpensive and is made in vast quantities.R. U. R. I-10(MORE)
  13. 13. (MARIUS reenters with two Manual Labor ROBOTS)There you are; as powerful as a small tractor. Guaranteed tohave average intelligence. That will do, Marius.MARIUS exits with ROBOTS.HELENAThey make me feel so strange.DOMIN(rings)Did you see my new typist?He rings for SULLA.HELENAI didnt notice her.Enter SULLA.DOMINSulla, let Miss Glory see you.HELENASo pleased to meet you. You must find it terribly dull inthis out-of-the-way spot, dont you?SULLAI dont know, Miss Glory.HELENAWhere do you come from?SULLAFrom the factory.HELENAOh, you were born there?SULLAI was made there.HELENAWhat?DOMIN(laughing)Sulla is a Robot, best grade.HELENAOh, I beg your pardon.R. U. R. I-11DOMIN (contd)
  14. 14. DOMINSulla isnt angry. See, Miss Glory, the kind of skin we make.(Feels the skin on Sullas face)Feel her face.HELENAOh, no, no.DOMINYou wouldnt know that shes made of different material fromus, would you? Turn round, Sulla.HELENAOh, stop, stop.DOMINTalk to Miss Glory, Sulla.SULLAPlease sit down.(HELENA sits)Did you have a pleasant crossing?HELENAOh, yes, certainly.SULLADont go back on the Amelia, Miss Glory. The barometer isfalling steadily. Wait for the Pennsylvania. Thats a good,powerful vessel.DOMINWhats its speed?SULLATwenty knots. Fifty thousand tons. One of the latest vessels,Miss Glory.HELENAThank you.SULLAA crew of fifteen hundred, Captain Harpy, eight boilers ––DOMINThatll do, Sulla. Now show us your knowledge of French.HELENAYou know French?SULLAI know four languages. I can write: Dear Sir, Monsieur,Geehrter Herr, Cteny pane.R. U. R. I-12
  15. 15. HELENA(jumping up)Oh, thats absurd! Sulla isnt a Robot. Sulla is a girl likeme. Sulla, this is outrageous! Why do you take part in such ahoax?SULLAI am a Robot.HELENANo, no, you are not telling the truth. I know theyve forcedyou to do it for an advertisement. Sulla, you are a girl likeme, arent you?DOMINIm sorry, Miss Glory. Sulla is a Robot.HELENAIts a lie!DOMINWhat?(Rings)Excuse me, Miss Glory, then I must convince you.Enter MARIUS.DOMINMarius, take Sulla into the dissecting room, and tell them toopen her up at once.HELENAWhere?DOMINInto the dissecting room. When theyve cut her open, you cango and have a look.HELENANo, no!DOMINExcuse me, you spoke of lies.HELENAYou wouldnt have her killed?DOMINYou cant kill machines.R. U. R. I-13
  16. 16. HELENADont be afraid, Sulla, I wont let you go. Tell me, my dear,are they always so cruel to you? You mustnt put up with it,Sulla. You mustnt.SULLAI am a Robot.HELENAThat doesnt matter. Robots are just as good as we are.Sulla, you wouldnt let yourself be cut to pieces?SULLAYes.HELENAOh, youre not afraid of death, then?SULLAI cannot tell, Miss Glory.HELENADo you know what would happen to you in there?SULLAYes, I should cease to move.HELENAHow dreadful!DOMINMarius, tell Miss Glory what you are.MARIUSMarius, the Robot.DOMINWould you take Sulla into the dissecting room?MARIUSYes.DOMINWould you be sorry for her?MARIUSI cannot tell.DOMINWhat would happen to her?R. U. R. I-14
  17. 17. MARIUSShe would cease to move. They would put her into the stamping-mill.DOMINThat is death, Marius. Arent you afraid of death?MARIUSNo.DOMINYou see, Miss Glory, the Robots have no interest in life.They have no enjoyments. They are less than so much grass.HELENAOh, stop. Send them away.DOMINMarius, Sulla, you may go.Exeunt SULLA and MARIUS.HELENAHow terrible! Its outrageous what you are doing.DOMINWhy outrageous?HELENAI dont know, but it is. Why do you call her Sulla?DOMINIsnt it a nice name?HELENAIts a mans name. Sulla was a Roman general.DOMINOh, we thought that Marius and Sulla were lovers.HELENAMarius and Sulla were generals and fought against each otherin the year –– Ive forgotten now.DOMINCome here to the window.HELENAWhat?DOMINCome here. What do you see?R. U. R. I-15
  18. 18. HELENABricklayers.DOMINRobots. All our work people are Robots. And down there, canyou see anything?HELENASome sort of office.DOMINA counting house. And in it ––HELENAA lot of officials.DOMINRobots. All our officials are Robots. And when you see thefactory ––(Factory whistle blows)Noon. We have to blow the whistle because the Robots dontknow when to stop work. In two hours I will show you thekneading trough.HELENAKneading trough?DOMINThe pestle for beating up the paste. In each one we mix theingredients for a thousand Robots at one operation. Thenthere are the vats for the preparation of liver, brains, andso on. Then you will see the bone factory. After that Illshow you the spinning mill.HELENASpinning mill?DOMINYes. For weaving nerves and veins. Miles and miles ofdigestive tubes pass through it at a time.HELENAMaynt we talk about something else?DOMINPerhaps it would be better. Theres only a handful of usamong a hundred thousand Robots, and not one woman. We talkabout nothing but the factory all day, every day. Its justas if we were under a curse, Miss Glory.HELENAIm sorry I said that you were lying.R. U. R. I-16
  19. 19. A knock at the door.DOMINCome in.From the right enter MR. FABRY, DR. GALL, DR.HALLEMEIER, MR. ALQUIST.DR. GALLI beg your pardon, I hope we dont intrude.DOMINCome in. Miss Glory, here are Alquist, Fabry, Gall,Hallemeier. This is President Glorys daughter.HELENAHow do you do.FABRYWe had no idea ––DR. GALLHighly honored, Im sure ––ALQUISTWelcome, Miss Glory.BUSMAN rushes in from the right.BUSMANHello, whats up?DOMINCome in, Busman. This is Busman, Miss Glory. This isPresident Glorys daughter.BUSMANBy Jove, thats fine! Miss Glory, may we send a cablegram tothe papers about your arrival?HELENANo, no, please dont.DOMINSit down please, Miss Glory.BUSMANAllow me ––(Dragging up armchairs)DR. GALLPlease ––R. U. R. I-17
  20. 20. FABRYExcuse me ––ALQUISTWhat sort of a crossing did you have?DR. GALLAre you going to stay long?FABRYWhat do you think of the factory, Miss Glory?HALLEMEIERDid you come over on the Amelia?DOMINBe quiet and let Miss Glory speak.HELENA(to DOMIN)What am I to speak to them about?DOMINAnything you like.HELENAShall... may I speak quite frankly?DOMINWhy, of course.HELENA(wavering, then in desperate resolution)Tell me, doesnt it ever distress you the way you aretreated?FABRYBy whom, may I ask?HELENAWhy, everybody.ALQUISTTreated?DR. GALLWhat makes you think –– ?HELENADont you feel that you might be living a better life?DR. GALLWell, that depends on what you mean, Miss Glory.R. U. R. I-18
  21. 21. HELENAI mean that its perfectly outrageous. Its terrible.(Standing up)The whole of Europe is talking about the way youre beingtreated. Thats why I came here, to see for myself, and itsa thousand times worse than could have been imagined. How canyou put up with it?ALQUISTPut up with what?HELENAGood heavens, you are living creatures, just like us, likethe whole of Europe, like the whole world. Its disgracefulthat you must live like this.BUSMANGood gracious, Miss Glory.FABRYWell, shes not far wrong. We live here just like redIndians.HELENAWorse than red Indians. May I, oh, may I call you brothers?BUSMANWhy not?HELENABrothers, I have not come here as the Presidents daughter. Ihave come on behalf of the Humanity League. Brothers, theHumanity League now has over two hundred thousand members.Two hundred thousand people are on your side, and offer youtheir help.BUSMANTwo hundred thousand people! Miss Glory, thats a tidy lot.Not bad.FABRYIm always telling you theres nothing like good old Europe.You see, theyve not forgotten us. Theyre offering us help.DR. GALLWhat help? A theatre, for instance?HALLEMEIERAn orchestra?HELENAMore than that.R. U. R. I-19
  22. 22. ALQUISTJust you?HELENAOh, never mind about me. Ill stay as long as it isnecessary.BUSMANBy Jove, thats good.ALQUISTDomin, Im going to get the best room ready for Miss Glory.DOMINJust a minute. Im afraid that Miss Glory is of the opinionthat she has been talking to Robots.HELENAOf course.DOMINIm sorry. These gentlemen are human beings just like us.HELENAYoure not Robots?BUSMANNot Robots.HALLEMEIERRobots indeed!DR. GALLNo, thanks.FABRYUpon my honor, Miss Glory, we arent Robots.HELENA(to DOMIN)Then why did you tell me that all your officials are Robots?DOMINYes, the officials, but not the managers. Allow me, MissGlory: this is Mr. Fabry, General Technical Manager ofR. U. R.; Dr. Gall, Head of the Psychological andExperimental Department; Dr. Hallemeier, Head of theInstitute for the Psychological Training of Robots; ConsulBusman, General Business Manager; and Alquist, Head of theBuilding Department of R. U. R.ALQUISTJust a builder.R. U. R. I-20
  23. 23. HELENAExcuse me, gentlemen, for –– for –– . Have I done somethingdreadful?ALQUISTNot at all, Miss Glory. Please sit down.HELENAIm a stupid girl. Send me back by the first ship.DR. GALLNot for anything in the world, Miss Glory. Why should we sendyou back?HELENABecause you know Ive come to disturb your Robots for you.DOMINMy dear Miss Glory, weve had close upon a hundred savioursand prophets here. Every ship brings us some. Missionaries,anarchists, Salvation Army, all sorts. Its astonishing whata number of churches and idiots there are in the world.HELENAAnd you let them speak to the Robots?DOMINSo far weve let them all, why not? The Robots remembereverything, but thats all. They dont even laugh at what thepeople say. Really, it is quite incredible. If it would amuseyou, Miss Glory, Ill take you over to the Robot warehouse.It holds about three hundred thousand of them.BUSMANThree hundred and forty-seven thousand.DOMINGood! And you can say whatever you like to them. You can readthe Bible, recite the multiplication table, whatever youplease. You can even preach to them about human rights.HELENAOh, I think that if you were to show them a little love ––FABRYImpossible, Miss Glory. Nothing is harder to like than aRobot.HELENAWhat do you make them for, then?BUSMANHa, ha, ha, thats good! What are Robots made for?R. U. R. I-21
  24. 24. FABRYFor work, Miss Glory! One Robot can replace two and a halfworkmen. The human machine, Miss Glory, was terriblyimperfect. It had to be removed sooner or later.BUSMANIt was too expensive.FABRYIt was not effective. It no longer answers the requirementsof modern engineering. Nature has no idea of keeping pacewith modern labor. For example: from a technical point ofview, the whole of childhood is a sheer absurdity. So muchtime lost. And then again ––HELENAOh, no! No!FABRYPardon me. But kindly tell me what is the real aim of yourLeague –– the... the Humanity League.HELENAIts real purpose is to –– to protect the Robots –– and –– andensure good treatment for them.FABRYNot a bad object, either. A machine has to be treatedproperly. Upon my soul, I approve of that. I dont likedamaged articles. Please, Miss Glory, enroll us all ascontributing, or regular, or foundation members of yourLeague.HELENANo, you dont understand me. What we really want is to –– toliberate the Robots.HALLEMEIERHow do you propose to do that?HELENAThey are to be –– to be dealt with like human beings.HALLEMEIERAha. I suppose theyre to vote? To drink beer? to order usabout?HELENAWhy shouldnt they drink beer?HALLEMEIERPerhaps theyre even to receive wages?R. U. R. I-22
  25. 25. HELENAOf course they are.HALLEMEIERFancy that, now! And what would they do with their wages,pray?HELENAThey would buy –– what they need... what pleases them...HALLEMEIERThat would be very nice, Miss Glory, only theres nothingthat does please the Robots. Good heavens, what are they tobuy? You can feed them on pineapples, straw, whatever youlike. Its all the same to them, theyve no appetite at all.Theyve no interest in anything, Miss Glory. Why, hang itall, nobodys ever yet seen a Robot smile.HELENAWhy... why dont you make them happier?HALLEMEIERThat wouldnt do, Miss Glory. They are only workmen.HELENAOh, but theyre so intelligent.HALLEMEIERConfoundedly so, but theyre nothing else. Theyve no will oftheir own. No passion. No soul.HELENANo love?HALLEMEIERLove? Rather not. Robots dont love. Not even themselves.HELENANor defiance?HALLEMEIERDefiance? I dont know. Only rarely, from time to time.HELENAWhat?HALLEMEIERNothing particular. Occasionally they seem to go off theirheads. Something like epilepsy, you know. Its called Robotscramp. Theyll suddenly sling down everything theyreholding, stand still, gnash their teeth –– and then they haveto go into the stamping-mill. Its evidently some breakdownin the mechanism.R. U. R. I-23
  26. 26. DOMINA flaw in the works that has to be removed.HELENANo, no, thats the soul.FABRYDo you think that the soul first shows itself by a gnashingof teeth?HELENAPerhaps its a sort of revolt. Perhaps its just a sign thattheres a struggle within. Oh, if you could infuse them withit!DOMINThatll be remedied, Miss Glory. Dr. Gall is just making someexperiments ––DR. GALLNot with regard to that, Domin. At present I am making pain-nerves.HELENAPain-nerves?DR. GALLYes, the Robots feel practically no bodily pain. You see,young Rossum provided them with too limited a nervous system.We must introduce suffering.HELENAWhy do you want to cause them pain?DR. GALLFor industrial reasons, Miss Glory. Sometimes a Robot doesdamage to himself because it doesnt hurt him. He puts hishand into the machine, breaks his finger, smashes his head,its all the same to him. We must provide them with pain.Thats an automatic protection against damage.HELENAWill they be happier when they feel pain?DR. GALLOn the contrary; but they will be more perfect from atechnical point of view.HELENAWhy dont you create a soul for them?DR. GALLThats not in our power.R. U. R. I-24
  27. 27. FABRYThats not in our interest.BUSMANThat would increase the cost of production. Hang it all, mydear young lady, we turn them out at such a cheap rate. Ahundred and fifty dollars each fully dressed, and fifteenyears ago they cost ten thousand. Five years ago we used tobuy the clothes for them. To-day we have our own weavingmill, and now we even export cloth five times cheaper thanother factories. What do you pay a yard for cloth, MissGlory?HELENAI dont know really, Ive forgotten.BUSMANGood gracious, and you want to found a Humanity League? Itonly costs a third now, Miss Glory. All prices are today athird of what they were and theyll fall still lower, lower,lower, like that.HELENAI dont understand.BUSMANWhy, bless you, Miss Glory, it means that the cost of laborhas fallen. A Robot, food and all, costs three quarters of acent per hour. Thats mighty important, you know. Allfactories will go pop like chestnuts if they dont at oncebuy Robots to lower the cost of production.HELENAAnd get rid of their workmen?BUSMANOf course. But in the meantime, weve dumped five hundredthousand tropical Robots down on the Argentine pampas to growcorn. Would you mind telling me how much you pay a pound forbread?HELENAIve no idea.BUSMANWell Ill tell you. It now costs two cents in good oldEurope. A pound of bread for two cents, and the HumanityLeague knows nothing about it. Miss Glory, you dont realizethat even thats too expensive. Why, in five years time Illwager ––HELENAWhat?R. U. R. I-25
  28. 28. BUSMANThat the cost of everything wont be a tenth of what it isnow. Why, in five years well be up to our ears in corn andeverything else.ALQUISTYes, and all the workers throughout the world will beemployed.DOMINYes, Alquist, they will. Yes, Miss Glory, they will. But inten years Rossums Universal Robots will produce so muchcorn, so much cloth, so much everything, that things will bepractically without price. There will be no poverty. All workwill be done by living machines. Everybody will be free fromworry and liberated from the degradation of labor. Everybodywill live only to perfect himself.HELENAWill he?DOMINOf course. Its bound to happen. But then the servitude ofman to man and the enslavement of man to matter will cease.Of course, terrible things may happen at first, but thatsimply cant be avoided. Nobody will get bread at the priceof life and hatred. The Robots will wash the feet of thebeggar and prepare a bed for him in his house.ALQUISTDomin, Domin. What you say sounds too much like Paradise.There was something good in service and something great inhumility. There was some kind of virtue in toil andweariness.DOMINPerhaps. But we cannot reckon with what is lost when we startout to transform the world. Man shall be free and supreme; heshall have no other aim, no other labor, no other care thanto perfect himself. He shall serve neither matter nor man. Hewill not be a machine and a device for production. He will beLord of creation.BUSMANAmen.FABRYSo be it.HELENAYou have bewildered me –– I should like –– I should like tobelieve this.R. U. R. I-26
  29. 29. DR. GALLYou are younger than we are, Miss Glory. You will live to seeit.HALLEMEIERTrue. Dont you think Miss Glory might lunch with us?DR. GALLOf course. Domin, ask on behalf of us all.DOMINMiss Glory, will you do us the honor?HELENAWhen you know why Ive come ––FABRYFor the League of Humanity, Miss Glory.HELENAOh, in that case, perhaps ––FABRYThats fine! Miss Glory, excuse me for five minutes.DR. GALLPardon me, too, dear Miss Glory.BUSMANI wont be long.HALLEMEIERWere all very glad youve come.BUSMANWell be back in exactly five minutes.All rush out except DOMIN and HELENA.HELENAWhat have they all gone off for?DOMINTo cook, Miss Glory.HELENATo cook what?DOMINLunch. The Robots do our cooking for us and as theyve notaste its not altogether –– Hallemeier is awfully good atgrills and Gall can make a kind of sauce, and Busman knowsall about omelettes.R. U. R. I-27
  30. 30. HELENAWhat a feast! And whats the specialty of Mr. –– yourbuilder?DOMINAlquist? Nothing. He only lays the table. And Fabry will gettogether a little fruit. Our cuisine is very modest, MissGlory.HELENAI wanted to ask you something ––DOMINAnd I wanted to ask you something, too.(Looking at watch)Five minutes.HELENAWhat did you want to ask me?DOMINExcuse me, you asked first.HELENAPerhaps its silly of me, but why do you manufacture femaleRobots when –– when ––DOMINWhen sex means nothing to them?HELENAYes.DOMINTheres a certain demand for them, you see. Servants,saleswomen, stenographers. People are used to it.HELENABut –– but, tell me, are the Robots male and femalemutually –– completely without ––DOMINCompletely indifferent to each other, Miss Glory. Theres nosign of any affection between them.HELENAOh, thats terrible.DOMINWhy?R. U. R. I-28
  31. 31. HELENAIts so unnatural. One doesnt know whether to be disgustedor to hate them, or perhaps ––DOMINTo pity them?HELENAThats more like it. What did you want to ask me about?DOMINI should like to ask you, Miss Helena, whether you will marryme?HELENAWhat?DOMINWill you be my wife?HELENANo! The idea!DOMIN(looking at his watch)Another three minutes. If you wont marry me youll have tomarry one of the other five.HELENABut why should I?DOMINBecause theyre all going to ask you in turn.HELENAHow could they dare do such a thing?DOMINIm very sorry, Miss Glory. It seems theyve all fallen inlove with you.HELENAPlease dont let them. Ill –– Ill go away at once.DOMINHelena, you wouldnt be so cruel as to refuse us.HELENABut, but –– I cant marry all six.DOMINNo, but one anyhow. If you dont want me, marry Fabry.R. U. R. I-29
  32. 32. HELENAI wont.DOMINDr. Gall.HELENAI dont want any of you.DOMIN(again looking at his watch)Another two minutes.HELENAI think youd marry any woman who came here.DOMINPlenty of them have come, Helena.HELENAYoung?DOMINYes.HELENAWhy didnt you marry one of them?DOMINBecause I didnt lose my head. Until today. Then, as soon asyou lifted your veil ––(HELENA turns her head away)Another minute.HELENABut I dont want you, I tell you.DOMIN(laying both hands on her shoulders)One more minute! Now you either have to look me straight inthe eye and say "No, violently, and then Ill leave youalone –– or --HELENA looks at him.HELENA(turning away)Youre mad!DOMINA man has to be a bit mad, Helena. Thats the best thingabout him.R. U. R. I-30
  33. 33. HELENAYou are –– you are ––DOMINWell?HELENADont, youre hurting me.DOMINThe last chance, Helena. Now, or never ––HELENABut –– but, Harry ––He embraces and kisses her. Knocking at the door.DOMIN(releasing her)Come in.(Enter BUSMAN, DR. GALL, and HALLEMEIRE in kitchenaprons. FABRY with bouquet and ALQUIST with napkinover his arm)Have you finished your job?BUSMANYes.DOMINSo have we.For a moment the men stand nonplussed; but as soonas they realize what DOMIN means they rush forward,congratulating HELENA and DOMIN as the curtainfalls.END OF ACT ONER. U. R. I-31
  34. 34. ACT IIHelenas drawing room.On the left a baize door, and a door to the musicroom, on the right a door to Helenas bedroom. Inthe centre are windows looking out on the sea andthe harbor. A table with odds and ends, a sofa andchairs, a writing table with an electric lamp, onthe right a fireplace. On a small table back of thesofa, a small reading lamp. The whole drawing roomin all its details is of a modern and purelyfeminine character. Ten years have elapsed sinceAct I.DOMIN, FABRY, HALLEMEIER, enter on tiptoe from theleft, each carrying a potted plant.HALLEMEIER(putting down his flower and indicating the door toright)Still asleep? Well, as long as shes asleep she cant worryabout it.DOMINShe knows nothing about it.FABRY(putting plant on writing desk)I certainly hope nothing happens today.HALLEMEIERFor goodness sake drop it all. Look, Harry, this is a finecyclamen, isnt it? A new sort, my latest –– Cyclamen Helena.DOMIN(looking out of the window)No signs of the ship. Things must be pretty bad.R. U. R. II-32
  35. 35. HALLEMEIERBe quiet. Suppose she heard you.DOMINWell, anyway, the Ultimus arrived just in time.FABRYYou really think that today –– ?DOMINI dont know. Arent the flowers fine?HALLEMEIERThese are my new primroses. And this is my new jasmine. Ivediscovered a wonderful way of developing flowers quickly.Splendid varieties, too. Next year Ill be developingmarvelous ones.DOMINWhat... next year?FABRYId give a good deal to know whats happening at Havrewith ––DOMINKeep quiet.HELENA(calling from right)Nana!DOMINShes awake. Out you go.All go out on tiptoe through upper left door. EnterNANA from lower left door.NANAHorrid mess! Pack of heathens. If I had my say Id ––HELENA(backwards in the doorway)Nana, come and do up my dress.NANAIm coming. So youre up at last.(fastening Helenas dress)My gracious, what brutes!HELENAWho?R. U. R. II-33
  36. 36. NANAIf you want to turn around, then turn around, but I shantfasten you up.HELENAWhat are you grumbling about now?NANAThese dreadful creatures, these heathen ––HELENAThe Robots?NANAI wouldnt even call them by name.HELENAWhats happened?NANAAnother of them here has caught it. He began to smash up thestatues and pictures in the drawing room, gnashed his teeth,foamed at the mouth –– quite mad. Worse than an animal.HELENAWhich of them caught it?NANAThe one –– well, he hasnt got any Christian name. The one incharge of the library.HELENARadius?NANAThats him. My goodness, Im scared of them. A spider doesntscare me as much as them.HELENABut, Nana, Im surprised youre not sorry for them.NANAWhy, youre scared of them, too! You know you are. Why elsedid you bring me here?HELENAIm not scared, really Im not, Nana. Im only sorry forthem.NANAYoure scared. Nobody could help being scared. Why, the dogsscared of them: he wont take a scrap of meat out of theirR. U. R. II-34(MORE)
  37. 37. hands. He draws in his tail and howls when he knows theyreabout.HELENAThe dog has no sense.NANAHes better than them, and he knows it. Even the horse shieswhen he meets them. They dont have any young, and a dog hasyoung, every one has young ––HELENAPlease fasten up my dress, Nana.NANAI say its against Gods will to ––HELENAWhat is it that smells so nice?NANAFlowers.HELENAWhat for?NANANow you can turn around.HELENAOh, arent they lovely. Look, Nana. Whats happening today?NANAIt ought to be the end of the world.Enter DOMIN.HELENAOh, hello, Harry. Harry, why all these flowers?DOMINGuess.HELENAWell, its not my birthday!DOMINBetter than that.HELENAI dont know. Tell me.DOMINIts ten years ago today since you came here.R. U. R. II-35NANA (contd)
  38. 38. HELENATen years? To-day –– Why ––They embrace.NANAIm off.(Exits lower door, left)HELENAFancy you remembering!DOMINIm really ashamed, Helena. I didnt.HELENABut you ––DOMINThey remembered.HELENAWho?DOMINBusman, Hallemeier, all of them. Put your hand in my pocket.HELENAPearls! A necklace. Harry, is that for me?DOMINIts from Busman.HELENABut we cant accept it, can we?DOMINOh, yes, we can. Put your hand in the other pocket.HELENA(takes a revolver out of his pocket)Whats that?DOMINSorry. Not that. Try again.HELENAOh, Harry, what do you carry a revolver for?DOMINIt got there by mistake.R. U. R. II-36
  39. 39. HELENAYou never used to carry one.DOMINNo, youre right. There, thats the pocket.HELENAA cameo. Why, its a Greek cameo!DOMINApparently. Anyhow, Fabry says it is.HELENAFabry? Did Mr. Fabry give me that?DOMINOf course.(Opens the door at the left)And look in here. –– Helena, come and see this.HELENAOh, isnt it fine! Is this from you?DOMINNo, from Alquist. And theres another on the piano.HELENAThis must be from you.DOMINTheres a card on it.HELENAFrom Dr. Gall.(Reappearing in the doorway)Oh, Harry, I feel embarrassed at so much kindness.DOMINCome here. This is what Hallemeier brought you.HELENAThese beautiful flowers?DOMINYes. Its a new kind. Cyclamen Helena. He grew them in honorof you. They are almost as beautiful as you.HELENAHarry, why do they all ––DOMINTheyre awfully fond of you. Im afraid that my present is alittle –– Look out of the window.R. U. R. II-37
  40. 40. HELENAWhere?DOMINInto the harbor.HELENATheres a new ship.DOMINThats your ship.HELENAMine? How do you mean?DOMINFor you to take trips in –– for your amusement.HELENAHarry, thats a gunboat.DOMINA gunboat? What are you thinking of? Its only a littlebigger and more solid than most ships.HELENAYes, but with guns.DOMINOh, yes, with a few guns. Youll travel like a queen, Helena.HELENAWhats the meaning of it? Has anything happened?DOMINGood heavens, no. I say, try these pearls.HELENAHarry, have you had bad news?DOMINOn the contrary, no letters have arrived for a whole week.HELENANor telegrams?DOMINNor telegrams.HELENAWhat does that mean?R. U. R. II-38
  41. 41. DOMINHolidays for us. We all sit in the office with our feet onthe table and take a nap. No letters, no telegrams. Oh,glorious.HELENAThen youll stay with me today?DOMINCertainly. That is, we will see. Do you remember ten yearsago today? "Miss Glory, its a great honor to welcome you."HELENA"Oh, Mr. Manager, Im so interested in your factory."DOMIN"Im sorry, Miss Glory, its strictly forbidden. Themanufacture of artificial people is a secret."HELENA"But I oblige a young lady who has come a long way."DOMIN"Certainly, Miss Glory, we have no secrets from you."HELENA(seriously)Are you sure, Harry?DOMINYes.HELENA"But I warn you, sir; this young lady intends to do terriblethings."DOMIN"Good gracious, Miss Glory. Perhaps she doesnt want to marryme."HELENA"Heaven forbid. She never dreamt of such a thing. But shecame here intending to stir up a revolt among your Robots."DOMIN(suddenly serious)A revolt of the Robots!HELENAHarry, whats the matter with you?R. U. R. II-39
  42. 42. DOMIN(laughing it off)"A revolt of the Robots," thats a fine idea, Miss Glory. Itwould be easier for you to cause bolts and screws to rebel,than our Robots. You know, Helena, youre wonderful, youveturned the heads of us all.He sits on the arm of Helenas chair.HELENA(naturally)Oh, I was fearfully impressed by you all then. You were allso sure of yourselves, so strong. I seemed like a tiny littlegirl who had lost her way among –– among ––DOMINAmong what, Helena?HELENAAmong huge trees. All my feelings were so trifling comparedwith your self-confidence. And in all these years Ive neverlost this anxiety. But youve never felt the leastmisgivings –– not even when everything went wrong.DOMINWhat went wrong?HELENAYour plans. You remember, Harry, when the working men inAmerica revolted against the Robots and smashed them up, andwhen the people gave the Robots firearms against the rebels.And then when the governments turned the Robots intosoldiers, and there were so many wars.DOMIN(getting up and walking about)We foresaw that, Helena. You see, those are only passingtroubles, which are bound to happen before the new conditionsare established.HELENAYou were all so powerful, so overwhelming. The whole worldbowed down before you.(Standing up)Oh, Harry!DOMINWhat is it?HELENAClose the factory and lets go away. All of us.R. U. R. II-40
  43. 43. DOMINI say, whats the meaning of this?HELENAI dont know. But cant we go away?DOMINImpossible, Helena. That is, at this particular moment ––HELENAAt once, Harry. Im so frightened.DOMINAbout what, Helena?HELENAIts as if something was falling on top of us, and couldntbe stopped. Or, take us all away from here. Well find aplace in the world where theres no one else. Alquist willbuild us a house, and then well begin life all over again.The telephone rings.DOMINExcuse me. Hello –– yes. What? Ill be there at once. Fabryis calling me, dear.HELENATell me ––DOMINYes, when I come back. Dont go out of the house, dear.(Exits)HELENAHe wont tell me –– Nana, Nana, come at once.NANAWell, what is it now?HELENANana, find me the latest newspapers. Quickly. Look in Mr.Domins bedroom.NANAAll right. He leaves them all over the place. Thats how theyget crumpled up.(Exits)HELENA(looking through a binocular at the harbor)Thats a warship. U-l-t-i Ultimus. Theyre loading it.R. U. R. II-41
  44. 44. NANAHere they are. See how theyre crumpled up.(Enters)HELENATheyre old ones. A week old.(NANA sits in chair and reads the newspapers)Somethings happening, Nana.NANAVery likely. It always does.(Spelling out the words)"War in the Bal-kans." Is that far off?HELENAOh, dont read it. Its always the same. Always wars.NANAWhat else do you expect? Why do you keep selling thousandsand thousands of these heathens as soldiers?HELENAI suppose it cant be helped, Nana. We cant know –– Domincant know what theyre to be used for. When an order comesfor them he must just send them.NANAHe shouldnt make them.(Reading from newspaper)"The Rob-ot soldiers spare no-body in the occ-up-ied terr-it-ory. They have ass-ass-ass-ass-in-at-ed ov-er sev-en hundredthou-sand cit-iz-ens." Citizens, if you please.HELENAIt cant be. Let me see. "They have assassinated over sevenhundred thousand citizens, evidently at the order of theircommander. This act which runs counter to –– "NANA(spelling out the words)"re-bell-ion in Ma-drid a-gainst the gov-ern-ment. Rob-ot in-fant-ry fires on the crowd. Nine thou-sand killed andwounded."HELENAOh, stop.NANAHeres something printed in big letters: "Lat-est news. AtHavre the first org-an-iz-ation of Rob-ots has been e-stab-lished. Rob-ot workmen, cab-le and rail-way off-ic-ials, sail-ors and sold-iers have iss-ued a man-i-fest-o to all Rob-otsR. U. R. II-42(MORE)
  45. 45. through-out the world." I dont understand that. Thats gotno sense. Oh, good gracious, another murder!HELENATake those papers away, Nana!NANAWait a bit. Heres something in still bigger type. "Stat-ist-ics of pop-ul-at-ion." Whats that?HELENALet me see.(Reads)"During the past week there has again not been a single birthrecorded."NANAWhats the meaning of that?HELENANana, no more people are being born.NANAThats the end, then. Were done for.HELENADont talk like that.NANANo more people are being born. Thats a punishment, thats apunishment.HELENANana!NANA(standing up)Thats the end of the world.(She exits on the left)HELENA(goes up to window)Oh, Mr. Alquist, will you come up here. Oh, come just as youare. You look very nice in your masons overalls.(ALQUIST enters from upper left entrance, his handssoiled with lime and brickdust)Dear Mr. Alquist, it was awfully kind of you, that lovelypresent.ALQUISTMy hands are all soiled. Ive been experimenting with thatnew cement.R. U. R. II-43NANA (contd)
  46. 46. HELENANever mind. Please sit down. Mr. Alquist, whats the meaningof "Ultimus"?ALQUISTThe last. Why?HELENAThats the name of my new ship. Have you seen it? Do youthink were going off soon –– on a trip?ALQUISTPerhaps very soon.HELENAAll of you with me?ALQUISTI should like us all to be there.HELENAWhat is the matter?...ALQUISTThings are just moving on.HELENADear Mr. Alquist, I know something dreadful has happened.ALQUISTHas your husband told you anything?HELENANo. Nobody will tell me anything. But I feel –– Is anythingthe matter?ALQUISTNot that weve heard of yet.HELENAI feel so nervous. Dont you ever feel nervous?ALQUISTWell, Im an old man, you know. Ive got old-fashioned ways.And Im afraid of all this progress, and these new-fangledideas.HELENALike Nana?ALQUISTYes, like Nana. Has Nana got a prayer book?R. U. R. II-44
  47. 47. HELENAYes, a big thick one.ALQUISTAnd has it got prayers for various occasions? Againstthunderstorms? Against illness?HELENAAgainst temptations, against floods ––ALQUISTBut not against progress?HELENAI dont think so.ALQUISTThats a pity.HELENAWhy? Do you mean youd like to pray?ALQUISTI do pray.HELENAHow?ALQUISTSomething like this: "Oh, Lord, I thank thee for having givenme toil. Enlighten Domin and all those who are astray;destroy their work, and aid mankind to return to theirlabors; let them not suffer harm in soul or body; deliver usfrom the Robots and protect Helena, Amen."HELENAMr. Alquist, are you a believer?ALQUISTI dont know. Im not quite sure.HELENAAnd yet you pray?ALQUISTThats better than worrying about it.HELENAAnd thats enough for you?ALQUISTIt has to be.R. U. R. II-45
  48. 48. HELENABut if you thought you saw the destruction of mankind comingupon us ––ALQUISTI do see it.HELENAYou mean mankind will be destroyed?ALQUISTIts sure to be unless –– unless...HELENAWhat?ALQUISTNothing, good-bye.(He hurries from the room)HELENANana, Nana!(NANA entering from the left)Is Radius still there?NANAThe one who went mad? They havent come for him yet.HELENAIs he still raving?NANANo. Hes tied up.HELENAPlease bring him here, Nana.(Exit NANA. HELENA goes to telephone)Hello, Dr. Gall, please. Oh, good-day, Doctor. Yes, itsHelena. Thanks for your lovely present. Could you come andsee me right away? Its important. Thank you.(NANA brings in RADIUS)Poor Radius, youve caught it, too? Now theyll send you tothe stamping-mill. Couldnt you control yourself? Why did ithappen? You see, Radius, you are more intelligent than therest. Dr. Gall took such trouble to make you different. Wontyou speak?RADIUSSend me to the stamping-mill.HELENABut I dont want them to kill you. What was the trouble,Radius?R. U. R. II-46
  49. 49. RADIUSI wont work for you. Put me into the stamping-mill ––HELENADo you hate us? Why?RADIUSYou are not as strong as the Robots. You are not as skillfulas the Robots. The Robots can do everything. You only giveorders. You do nothing but talk.HELENABut someone must give orders.RADIUSI dont want any master. I know everything for myself.HELENARadius, Dr. Gall gave you a better brain than the rest,better than ours. You are the only one of the Robots thatunderstands perfectly. Thats why I had you put into thelibrary, so that you could read everything, understandeverything, and then –– oh, Radius, I wanted you to show thewhole world that the Robots are our equals. Thats what Iwanted of you.RADIUSI dont want a master. I want to be master. I want to bemaster over others.HELENAIm sure theyd put you in charge of many Robots, Radius. Youwould be a teacher of the Robots.RADIUSI want to be master over people.HELENA(staggering)You are mad.RADIUSThen send me to the stamping-mill.HELENADo you think were afraid of you?RADIUSWhat are you going to do? What are you going to do?HELENARadius, give this note to Mr. Domin. It asks them not to sendyou to the stamping-mill. Im sorry you hate us so.R. U. R. II-47
  50. 50. DR. GALL enters the room.DR. GALLYou wanted me?HELENAIts about Radius, Doctor. He had an attack this morning. Hesmashed the statues downstairs.DR. GALLWhat a pity to lose him.HELENARadius isnt going to be put in the stamping-mill.DR. GALLBut every Robot after he has had an attack –– its a strictorder.HELENANo matter... Radius isnt going if I can prevent it.DR. GALLI warn you. Its dangerous. Come here to the window, my goodfellow. Lets have a look. Please give me a needle or a pin.HELENAWhat for?DR. GALLA test.(Sticks it into the hand of RADIUS who gives aviolent start)Gently, gently.(Opens the jacket of RADIUS, and puts his ear to hisheart)Radius, you are going into the stamping-mill, do youunderstand? There theyll kill you, and grind you to powder.Thats terribly painful, it will make you scream aloud.HELENAOh, Doctor ––DR. GALLNo, no, Radius, I was wrong. I forgot that Madame Domin hasput in a good word for you, and youll be let off. Do youunderstand? Ah! That makes a difference, doesnt it? Allright. You can go.RADIUSYou do unnecessary things.RADIUS returns to the library.R. U. R. II-48
  51. 51. DR. GALLReaction of the pupils; increase of sensitiveness. It wasntan attack characteristic of the Robots.HELENAWhat was it, then?DR. GALLHeavens knows. Stubbornness, anger or revolt –– I dont know.And his heart, too!HELENAWhat?DR. GALLIt was fluttering with nervousness like a human heart. He wasall in a sweat with fear, and –– do you know, I dont believethe rascal is a Robot at all any longer.HELENADoctor, has Radius a soul?DR. GALLHes got something nasty.HELENAIf you knew how he hates us! Oh, Doctor, are all your Robotslike that? All the new ones that you began to make in adifferent way?DR. GALLWell, some are more sensitive than others. Theyre all morelike human beings than Rossums Robots were.HELENAPerhaps this hatred is more like human beings, too?DR. GALLThat, too, is progress.HELENAWhat became of the girl you made, the one who was most likeus?DR. GALLYour favorite? I kept her. Shes lovely, but stupid. No goodfor work.HELENABut shes so beautiful.R. U. R. II-49
  52. 52. DR. GALLI called her Helena. I wanted her to resemble you. But shesa failure.HELENAIn what way?DR. GALLShe goes about as if in a dream, remote and listless. She swithout life. I watch and wait for a miracle to happen.Sometimes I think to myself, "If you were to wake up only fora moment you will kill me for having made you."HELENAAnd yet you go on making Robots! Why are no more childrenbeing born?DR. GALLWe dont know.HELENAOh, but you must. Tell me.DR. GALLYou see, so many Robots are being manufactured that peopleare becoming superfluous; man is really a survival. But thathe should begin to die out, after a paltry thirty years ofcompetition. Thats the awful part of it. You might almostthink that nature was offended at the manufacture of theRobots. All the universities are sending in long petitions torestrict their production. Otherwise, they say, mankind willbecome extinct through lack of fertility. But the R. U. R.shareholders, of course, wont hear of it. All thegovernments, on the other hand, are clamoring for an increasein production, to raise the standards of their armies. Andall the manufacturers in the world are ordering Robots likemad.HELENAAnd has no one demanded that the manufacture should ceasealtogether?DR. GALLNo one has the courage.HELENACourage!DR. GALLPeople would stone him to death. You see, after all, itsmore convenient to get your work done by the Robots.R. U. R. II-50
  53. 53. HELENAOh, Doctor, whats going to become of people?DR. GALLGod knows, Madame Helena, it looks to us scientists like theend!HELENA(rising)Thank you for coming and telling me.DR. GALLThat means youre sending me away?HELENAYes.(Exit DR. GALL. With sudden resolution)Nana, Nana! The fire, light it quickly.HELENA rushes into Domins room.NANA(entering from left)What, light the fire in summer? Has that mad Radius gone? Afire in summer, what an idea. Nobody would think shed beenmarried for ten years. Shes like a baby, no sense at all. Afire in summer. Like a baby.HELENA(returns from right, with armful of faded papers)It is burning, Nana? All this has got to be burned.NANAWhats that?HELENAOld papers, fearfully old. Nana, shall I burn them?NANAAre they any use?HELENANo.NANAWell, then, burn them.HELENA(throwing the first sheet on the fire)What would you say, Nana, if this was money, a lot of money?NANAId say burn it. A lot of money is a bad thing.R. U. R. II-51
  54. 54. HELENAAnd if it was an invention, the greatest invention in theworld?NANAId say burn it. All these new-fangled things are an offenseto the Lord. Its downright wickedness. Wanting to improvethe world after He has made it.HELENALook how they curl up! As if they were alive. Oh, Nana, howhorrible.NANAHere, let me burn them.HELENANo, no, I must do it myself. Just look at the flames. Theyare like hands, like tongues, like living shapes.(Raking fire with the poker)Lie down, lie down.NANAThats the end of them.HELENA(standing up horror-stricken)Nana, Nana.NANAGood gracious, what is it youve burned?HELENAWhatever have I done?NANAWell, what was it?Mens laughter off left.HELENAGo quickly. Its the gentlemen coming.NANAGood gracious, what a place!(Exits)DOMIN(opens the door at left)Come along and offer your congratulations.Enter HALLEMEIER and GALL.R. U. R. II-52
  55. 55. HALLEMEIERMadame Helena, I congratulate you on this festive day.HELENAThank you. Where are Fabry and Busman?DOMINTheyve gone down to the harbor.HALLEMEIERFriends, we must drink to this happy occasion.HELENABrandy?DR. GALLVitriol, if you like.HELENAWith soda water?(Exits)HALLEMEIERLets be temperate. No soda.DOMINWhats been burning here? Well, shall I tell her about it?DR. GALLOf course. Its all over now.HALLEMEIER(embracing DOMIN and DR. GALL)Its all over now, its all over now.DR. GALLIts all over now.DOMINIts all over now.HELENA(entering from left with decanter and glasses)Whats all over now? Whats the matter with you all?HALLEMEIERA piece of good luck, Madame Domin. Just ten years ago todayyou arrived on this island.DR. GALLAnd now, ten years later to the minute ––R. U. R. II-53
  56. 56. HALLEMEIER-- the same ships returning to us. So heres to luck. Thatsfine and strong.DR. GALLMadame, your health.HELENAWhich ship do you mean?DOMINAny ship will do, as long as it arrives in time. To the ship,boys.(Empties his glass)HELENAYouve been waiting for a ship?HALLEMEIERRather. Like Robinson Crusoe. Madame Helena, best wishes.Come along, Domin, out with the news.HELENADo tell me whats happened.DOMINFirst, its all up.HELENAWhats up?DOMINThe revolt.HELENAWhat revolt?DOMINGive me that paper, Hallemeier.(Reads)"The first national Robot organization has been founded atHavre, and has issued an appeal to the Robots throughout theworld."HELENAI read that.DOMINThat means a revolution. A revolution of all the Robots inthe world.HALLEMEIERBy Jove, Id like to know ––R. U. R. II-54
  57. 57. DOMIN–– who started it? So would I. There was nobody in the worldwho could affect the Robots; no agitator, no one, andsuddenly –– this happens, if you please.HELENAWhat did they do?DOMINThey got possession of all firearms, telegraphs, radiostations, railways, and ships.HALLEMEIERAnd dont forget that these rascals outnumbered us by atleast a thousand to one. A hundredth part of them would beenough to settle us.DOMINRemember that this news was brought by the last steamer. Thatexplains the stoppage of all communication, and the arrivalof no more ships. We knocked off work a few days ago, andwere just waiting to see when things are to start afresh.HELENAIs that why you gave me a warship?DOMINOh, no, my dear, I ordered that six months ago, just to be onthe safe side. But upon my soul, I was sure then that wed beon board today.HELENAWhy six months ago?DOMINWell, there were signs, you know. But thats of noconsequence. To think that this week the whole ofcivilization has been at stake. Your health, boys.HALLEMEIERYour health, Madame Helena.HELENAYou say its all over?DOMINAbsolutely.HELENAHow do you know?R. U. R. II-55
  58. 58. DR. GALLThe boats coming in. The regular mail boat, exact to theminute by the timetable. It will dock punctually at eleven-thirty.DOMINPunctuality is a fine thing, boys. Thats what keeps theworld in order. Heres to punctuality.HELENAThen... everythings... all right?DOMINPractically everything. I believe theyve cut the cables andseized the radio stations. But it doesnt matter if only thetimetable holds good.HALLEMEIERIf the timetable holds good human laws hold good; Divine lawshold good; the laws of the universe hold good; everythingholds good that ought to hold good. The timetable is moresignificant than the gospel; more than Homer, more than thewhole of Kant. The timetable is the most perfect product ofthe human mind. Madame Domin, Ill fill up my glass.HELENAWhy didnt you tell me anything about it?DR. GALLHeaven forbid.DOMINYou mustnt be worried with such things.HELENABut if the revolution had spread as far as here?DOMINYou wouldnt know anything about it.HELENAWhy?DOMINBecause wed be on board your Ultimus and well out at sea.Within a month, Helena, wed be dictating our own terms tothe Robots.HELENAI dont understand.R. U. R. II-56
  59. 59. DOMINWed take something away with us that the Robots could notexist without.HELENAWhat, Harry?DOMINThe secret of their manufacture. Old Rossums manuscript. Assoon as they found out that they couldnt make themselvestheyd be on their knees to us.DR. GALLMadame Domin, that was our trump card. I never had the leastfear that the Robots would win. How could they against peoplelike us?HELENAWhy didnt you tell me?DR. GALLWhy, the boats in!HALLEMEIEREleven-thirty to the dot. The good old Amelia that broughtMadame Helena to us.DR. GALLJust ten years ago to the minute.HALLEMEIERTheyre throwing out the mail bags.DOMINBusmans waiting for them. Fabry will bring us the firstnews. You know, Helena, Im fearfully curious to know howthey tackled this business in Europe.HALLEMEIERTo think we werent in it, we who invented the Robots.HELENAHarry!DOMINWhat is it?HELENALets leave here.DOMINNow, Helena? Oh, come, come!R. U. R. II-57
  60. 60. HELENAAs quickly as possible, all of us!DOMINWhy?HELENAPlease, Harry, please, Dr. Gall; Hallemeier, please close thefactory.DOMINWhy, none of us could leave here now.HELENAWhy?DOMINBecause were about to extend the manufacture of the Robots.HELENAWhat –– now –– now after the revolt?DOMINYes, precisely, after the revolt. Were just beginning themanufacture of a new kind.HELENAWhat kind?DOMINHenceforward we shant have just one factory. There wont beUniversal Robots any more. Well establish a factory in everycountry, in every State; and do you know what these newfactories will make?HELENANo, what?DOMINNational Robots.HELENAHow do you mean?DOMINI mean that each of these factories will produce Robots of adifferent color, a different language. Theyll be completestrangers to each other. Theyll never be able to understandeach other. Then well egg them on a little in the matter ofmisunderstanding and the result will be that for ages to comeevery Robot will hate every other Robot of a differentfactory mark.R. U. R. II-58
  61. 61. HALLEMEIERBy Jove, well make Negro Robots and Swedish Robots andItalian Robots and Chinese Robots and Czechoslovakian Robots,and then ––HELENAHarry, thats dreadful.HALLEMEIERMadame Domin, heres to the hundred new factories, theNational Robots.DOMINHelena, mankind can only keep things going for anotherhundred years at the outside. For a hundred years men must beal-lowed to develop and achieve the most they can.HELENAOh, close the factory before its too late. –– Domin I tellyou we are just beginning on a bigger scale than ever.Enter FABRY.DR. GALLWell, Fabry?DOMINWhats happened? Have you been down to the boat?FABRYRead that, Domin!FABRY hands DOMIN a small hand-bill.DR. GALLLets hear.HALLEMEIERTell us, Fabry.FABRYWell, everything is all right –– comparatively. On the whole,much as we expected.DR. GALLThey acquitted themselves splendidly.FABRYWho?DR. GALLThe people.R. U. R. II-59
  62. 62. FABRYOh, yes, of course. That is –– excuse me, there is somethingwe ought to discuss alone.HELENAOh, Fabry, have you had bad news?DOMIN makes a sign to FABRY.FABRYNo, no, on the contrary. I only think that we had better gointo the office.HELENAStay here. Ill go.She goes into the library.DR. GALLWhats happened?DOMINDamnation!FABRYBear in mind that the Amelia brought whole bales of theseleaflets. No other cargo at all.HALLEMEIERWhat? But it arrived on the minute.FABRYThe Robots are great on punctuality. Read it, Domin.DOMIN(reads handbill)"Robots throughout the world: We, the first internationalorganization of Rossums Universal Robots, proclaim man asour enemy, and an outlaw in the universe." Good heavens, whotaught them these phrases?DR. GALLGo on.DOMINThey say they are more highly developed than man, strongerand more intelligent. That mans their parasite. Why, itsabsurd.FABRYRead the third paragraph.R. U. R. II-60
  63. 63. DOMIN"Robots throughout the world, we command you to kill allmankind. Spare no men. Spare no women. Save factories,railways, machinery, mines, and raw materials. Destroy therest. Then return to work. Work must not be stopped."DR. GALLThats ghastly!HALLEMEIERThe devils!DOMIN"These orders are to be carried out as soon as received."Then come detailed instructions. Is this actually being done,Fabry?FABRYEvidently.BUSMAN rushes in.BUSMANWell, boys, I suppose youve heard the glad news.DOMINQuick –– on board the Ultimus.BUSMANWait, Harry, wait. Theres no hurry. My word, that was asprint!DOMINWhy wait?BUSMANBecause its no good, my boy. The Robots are already on boardthe Ultimus.DR. GALLThats ugly.DOMINFabry, telephone the electrical works.BUSMANFabry, my boy, dont. The wire has been cut.DOMIN(inspecting his revolver)Well, then, Ill go.R. U. R. II-61
  64. 64. BUSMANWhere?DOMINTo the electrical works. There are some people still there.Ill bring them across.BUSMANBetter not try it.DOMINWhy?BUSMANBecause Im very much afraid we are surrounded.DR. GALLSurrounded?(Runs to window)I rather think youre right.HALLEMEIERBy Jove, thats deuced quick work.HELENA runs in from the library.HELENAHarry, whats this?DOMINWhere did you get it?HELENA(points to the manifesto of the Robots, which shehas in her hand)The Robots in the kitchen!DOMINWhere are the ones that brought it?HELENATheyre gathered round the house.The factory whistle blows.BUSMANNoon?DOMIN(looking at his watch)Thats not noon yet. That must be –– thats ––R. U. R. II-62
  65. 65. HELENAWhat?DOMINThe Robots signal! The attack!GALL, HALLEMEIER, and FABRY close and fasten theiron shutters outside the windows, darkening theroom. The whistle is still blowing as the curtainfalls.END OF ACT TWOINTERVALR. U. R. II-63
  66. 66. ACT IIIHelenas drawing room as before.DOMIN comes into the room. DR. GALL is looking outof the window, through closed shutters. ALQUIST isseated down right.DOMINAny more of them?DR. GALLYes. There standing like a wall, beyond the garden railing.Why are they so quiet? Its monstrous to be besieged withsilence.DOMINI should like to know what they are waiting for. They mustmake a start any minute now. If they lean against the railingtheyll snap it like a match.DR. GALLThey arent armed.DOMINWe couldnt hold our own for five minutes. Man alive, theydoverwhelm us like an avalanche. Why dont they make a rushfor it? I say ––DR. GALLWell?DOMINId like to know what would become of us in the next tenminutes. Theyve got us in a vise. Were done for, Gall.Pause.DR. GALLYou know, we made one serious mistake.R. U. R. III-64
  67. 67. DOMINWhat?DR. GALLWe made the Robots faces too much alike. A hundred thousandfaces all alike, all facing this way. A hundred thousandexpressionless bubbles. Its like a nightmare.DOMINYou think if theyd been different ––DR. GALLIt wouldnt have been such an awful sight!DOMIN(looking through a telescope toward the harbor)Id like to know what theyre unloading from the Amelia.DR. GALLNot firearms.FABRY and HALLEMEIER rush into the room carryingelectric cables.FABRYAll right, Hallemeier, lay down that wire.HALLEMEIERThat was a bit of work. Whats the news?DR. GALLWere completely surrounded.HALLEMEIERWeve barricaded the passage and the stairs. Any water here?(Drinks)God, what swarms of them! I dont like the looks of them,Domin. Theres a feeling of death about it all.FABRYReady!DR. GALLWhats that wire for, Fabry?FABRYThe electrical installation. Now we can run the current allalong the garden railing whenever we like. If any one touchesit hell know it. Weve still got some people there anyhow.DR. GALLWhere?R. U. R. III-65
  68. 68. FABRYIn the electrical works. At least I hope so.(Goes to lamp on table behind sofa and turns onlamp)Ah, theyre there, and theyre working.(Puts out lamp)So long as thatll burn were all right.HALLEMEIERThe barricades are all right, too, Fabry.FABRYYour barricades! I can put twelve hundred volts into thatrailing.DOMINWheres Busman?FABRYDownstairs in the office. Hes working out some calculations.Ive called him. We must have a conference.HELENA is heard playing the piano in the library.HALLEMEIER goes to the door and stands, listening.ALQUISTThank God, Madame Helena can still play.BUSMAN enters, carrying the ledgers.FABRYLook out, Bus, look out for the wires.DR. GALLWhats that youre carrying?BUSMAN(going to table)The ledgers, my boy! Id like to wind up the accountsbefore –– before –– well, this time I shant wait till thenew year to strike a balance. Whats up?(Goes to the window)Absolutely quiet.DR. GALLCant you see anything?BUSMANNothing but blue –– blue everywhere.DR. GALLThats the Robots.R. U. R. III-66
  69. 69. BUSMAN sits down at the table and opens theledgers.DOMINThe Robots are unloading firearms from the Amelia.BUSMANWell, what of it? How can I stop them?DOMINWe cant stop them.BUSMANThen let me go on with my accounts.(Goes on with his work)DOMIN(picking up telescope and looking into the harbor)Good God, the Ultimus has trained her guns on us!DR. GALLWhos done that?DOMINThe Robots on board.FABRYHm, then, of course, then –– then, thats the end of us.DR. GALLYou mean?FABRYThe Robots are practised marksmen.DOMINYes. Its inevitable.Pause.DR. GALLIt was criminal of old Europe to teach the Robots to fight.Damn them. Couldnt they have given us a rest with theirpolitics? It was a crime to make soldiers of them.ALQUISTIt was a crime to make Robots.DOMINWhat?ALQUISTIt was a crime to make Robots.R. U. R. III-67
  70. 70. DOMINNo, Alquist, I dont regret that even today.ALQUISTNot even today?DOMINNot even today, the last day of civilization. It was acolossal achievement.BUSMAN(sotto voce)Three hundred sixty million.DOMINAlquist, this is our last hour. We are already speaking halfin the other world. It was not an evil dream to shatter theservitude of labor –– the dreadful and humiliating labor thatman had to undergo. Work was too hard. Life was too hard. Andto overcome that ––ALQUISTWas not what the two Rossums dreamed of. Old Rossum onlythought of his God-less tricks and the young one of hismilliards. And thats not what your R. U. R. shareholdersdream of either. They dream of dividends, and their dividendsare the ruin of mankind.DOMINTo hell with your dividends. Do you suppose Id have done anhours work for them? It was for myself that I worked, for myown satisfaction. I wanted man to become the master, so thathe shouldnt live merely for a crust of bread. I wanted not asingle soul to be broken by other peoples machinery. Iwanted nothing, nothing, nothing to be left of this appallingsocial structure. Im revolted by poverty. I wanted a newgeneration. I wanted –– I thought ––ALQUISTWhat?DOMINI wanted to turn the whole of mankind into an aristocracy ofthe world. An aristocracy nourished by milliards ofmechanical slaves. Unrestricted, free and consummated in man.And maybe more than man.ALQUISTSuper-man?DOMINYes. Oh, only to have a hundred years of time! Anotherhundred years for the future of mankind.R. U. R. III-68
  71. 71. BUSMAN(sotto voce)Carried forward, four hundred and twenty millions.The music stops.HALLEMEIERWhat a fine thing music is! We ought to have gone in for thatbefore.FABRYGone in for what?HALLEMEIERBeauty, lovely things. What a lot of lovely things there are!The world was wonderful and we –– we here –– tell me, whatenjoyment did we have?BUSMAN(sotto voce)Five hundred and twenty millions.HALLEMEIER(at the window)Life was a big thing. Life was –– Fabry, switch the currentinto that railing.FABRYWhy?HALLEMEIERTheyre grabbing hold of it.DR. GALLConnect it up.HALLEMEIERFine! Thats doubled them up! Two, three, four killed.DR. GALLTheyre retreating!HALLEMEIERFive killed!DR. GALLThe first encounter!HALLEMEIERTheyre charred to cinders, my boy. Who says we must give in?R. U. R. III-69
  72. 72. DOMIN(wiping his forehead)Perhaps weve been killed these hundred years and are onlyghosts. Its as if I had been through all this before; as ifId already had a mortal wound here in the throat. And you,Fabry, had once been shot in the head. And you, Gall, tornlimb from limb. And Hallemeier knifed.HALLEMEIERFancy me being knifed.(Pause)Why are you so quiet, you fools? Speak cant you?ALQUISTAnd who is to blame for all this?HALLEMEIERNobody is to blame except the Robots.ALQUISTNo, it is we who are to blame. You, Domin, myself, all of us.For our own selfish ends, for profit, for progress, we havedestroyed mankind. Now well burst with all our greatness.HALLEMEIERRubbish, man. Mankind cant be wiped out so easily.ALQUISTIts our fault. Its our fault.DR. GALLNo! Im to blame for this, for everything thats happened.FABRYYou, Gall?DR. GALLI changed the Robots.BUSMANWhats that?DR. GALLI changed the character of the Robots. I changed the way ofmaking them. Just a few details about their bodies.Chiefly –– chiefly, their –– their irritability.HALLEMEIERDamn it, why?BUSMANWhat did you do it for?R. U. R. III-70
  73. 73. FABRYWhy didnt you say anything?DR. GALLI did it in secret. I was transforming them into humanbeings. In certain respects theyre already above us. Theyrestronger than we are.FABRYAnd whats that got to do with the revolt of the Robots?DR. GALLEverything, in my opinion. Theyve ceased to be machines.Theyre already aware of their superiority, and they hate us.They hate all that is human.DOMINPerhaps were only phantoms!FABRYStop, Harry. We havent much time! Dr. Gall!DOMINFabry, Fabry, how your forehead bleeds, where the shotpierced it!FABRYBe silent! Dr. Gall, you admit changing the way of making theRobots?DR. GALLYes.FABRYWere you aware of what might be the consequences of yourexperiment?DR. GALLI was bound to reckon with such a possibility.HELENA enters the drawing room from left.FABRYWhy did you do it, then?DR. GALLFor my own satisfaction. The experiment was my own.HELENAThats not true, Dr. Gall!FABRYMadame Helena!R. U. R. III-71
  74. 74. DOMINHelena, you? Lets look at you. Oh, its terrible to be dead.HELENAStop, Harry.DOMINNo, no, embrace me. Helena, dont leave me now. You are lifeitself.HELENANo, dear, I wont leave you. But I must tell them. Dr. Gallis not guilty.DOMINExcuse me, Gall was under certain obligations.HELENANo, Harry. He did it because I wanted it. Tell them, Gall,how many years ago did I ask you to –– ?DR. GALLI did it on my own responsibility.HELENADont believe him, Harry. I asked him to give the Robotssouls.DOMINThis has nothing to do with the soul.HELENAThats what he said. He said that he could change only aphysiological –– a physiological ––HALLEMEIERA physiological correlate?HELENAYes. But it meant so much to me that he should do even that.DOMINWhy?HELENAI thought that if they were more like us they wouldunderstand us better. That they couldnt hate us if they wereonly a little more human.DOMINNobody can hate man more than man.R. U. R. III-72
  75. 75. HELENAOh, dont speak like that, Harry. It was so terrible, thiscruel strangeness between us and them. Thats why I askedGall to change the Robots. I swear to you that he didnt wantto.DOMINBut he did it.HELENABecause I asked him.DR. GALLI did it for myself as an experiment.HELENANo, Dr. Gall! I knew you wouldnt refuse me.DOMINWhy?HELENAYou know, Harry.DOMINYes, because hes in love with you –– like all of them.Pause.HALLEMEIERGood God! Theyre sprouting up out of the earth! Why, perhapsthese very walls will change into Robots.BUSMANGall, when did you actually start these tricks of yours?DR. GALLThree years ago.BUSMANAha! And on how many Robots altogether did you carry out yourimprovements?DR. GALLA few hundred of them.BUSMANAh! That means for every million of the good old Robotstheres only one of Galls improved pattern.DOMINWhat of it?R. U. R. III-73
  76. 76. BUSMANThat its practically of no consequence whatever.FABRYBusmans right!BUSMANI should think so, my boy! But do you know what is to blamefor all this lovely mess?FABRYWhat?BUSMANThe number. Upon my soul we might have known that some day orother the Robots would be stronger than human beings, andthat this was bound to happen, and we were doing all we couldto bring it about as soon as possible. You, Domin, you,Fabry, myself ––DOMINAre you accusing us?BUSMANOh, do you suppose the management controls the output? Itsthe demand that controls the output.HELENAAnd is it for that we must perish?BUSMANThats a nasty word, Madame Helena. We dont want to perish.I dont, anyhow.DOMINNo. What do you want to do?BUSMANI want to get out of this, thats all.DOMINOh, stop it, Busman.BUSMANSeriously, Harry, I think we might try it.DOMINHow?BUSMANBy fair means. I do everything by fair means. Give me a freehand and Ill negotiate with the Robots.R. U. R. III-74
  77. 77. DOMINBy fair means?BUSMANOf course. For instance, Ill say to them: "Worthy andworshipful Robots, you have everything! You have intellect,you have power, you have firearms. But we have just oneinteresting screed, a dirty old yellow scrap of paper –– "DOMINRossums manuscript?BUSMANYes. "And that," Ill tell them, "contains an account of yourillustrious origin, the noble process of your manufacture,"and so on. "Worthy Robots, without this scribble on thatpaper you will not be able to produce a single new colleague.In another twenty years there will not be one living specimenof a Robot that you could exhibit in a menagerie. My esteemedfriends, that would be a great blow to you, but if you willlet all of us human beings on Rossums Island go on boardthat ship we will deliver the factory and the secret of theprocess to you in return. You allow us to get away and weallow you to manufacture yourselves. Worthy Robots, that is afair deal. Something for something." Thats what Id say tothem, my boys.DOMINBusman, do you think wed sell the manuscript?BUSMANYes, I do. If not in a friendly way, then –– Either we sellit or theyll find it. Just as you like.DOMINBusman, we can destroy Rossums manuscript.BUSMANThen we destroy everything... not only the manuscript, butourselves. Do as you think fit.DOMINThere are over thirty of us on this island. Are we to sellthe secret and save that many human souls, at the risk ofenslaving mankind...?BUSMANWhy, youre mad? Whod sell the whole manuscript?DOMINBusman, no cheating!R. U. R. III-75
  78. 78. BUSMANWell then, sell; but afterward ––DOMINWell?BUSMANLets suppose this happens: When were on board the UltimusIll stop up my ears with cotton wool, lie down somewhere inthe hold, and youll train the guns on the factory, and blowit to smithereens, and with it Rossums secret.FABRYNo!DOMINBusman, youre no gentleman. If we sell, then it will be astraight sale.BUSMANIts in the interest of humanity to ––DOMINIts in the interest of humanity to keep our word.HALLEMEIEROh, come, what rubbish.DOMINThis is a fearful decision. We are selling the destiny ofmankind. Are we to sell or destroy? Fabry?FABRYSell.DOMINGall?DR. GALLSell.DOMINHallemeier?HALLEMEIERSell, of course!DOMINAlquist?ALQUISTAs God wills.R. U. R. III-76
  79. 79. DOMINVery well. It shall be as you wish, gentlemen.HELENAHarry, youre not asking me.DOMINNo, child. Dont you worry about it.FABRYWholl do the negotiating?BUSMANI will.DOMINWait till I bring the manuscript.He goes into room at right.HELENAHarry, dont go!Pause. HELENA sinks into a chair.FABRY(looking out of window)Oh, to escape you; you matter in revolt; oh, to preservehuman life, if only upon a single vessel ––DR. GALLDont be afraid, Madame Helena. Well sail far away fromhere; well begin life all over again ––HELENAOh, Gall, dont speak.FABRYIt isnt too late. It will be a little State with one ship.Alquist will build us a house and you shall rule over us.HALLEMEIERMadame Helena, Fabrys right.HELENA(breaking down)Oh, stop! Stop!BUSMANGood! I dont mind beginning all over again. That suits meright down to the ground.R. U. R. III-77
  80. 80. FABRYAnd this little State of ours could be the centre of futurelife. A place of refuge where we could gather strength. Why,in a few hundred years we could conquer the world again.ALQUISTYou believe that even today?FABRYYes, even today!BUSMANAmen. You see, Madame Helena, were not so badly off.DOMIN storms into the room.DOMIN(hoarsely)Wheres old Rossums manuscript?BUSMANIn your strong-box, of course.DOMINSomeone –– has –– stolen it!DR. GALLImpossible.DOMINWho has stolen it?HELENA(standing up)I did.DOMINWhere did you put it?HELENAHarry, Ill tell you everything. Only forgive me.DOMINWhere did you put it?HELENAThis morning –– I burnt –– the two copies.DOMINBurnt them? Where? In the fireplace?R. U. R. III-78
  81. 81. HELENA(throwing herself on her knees)For heavens sake, Harry.DOMIN(going to fireplace)Nothing, nothing but ashes. Wait, whats this?(Picks out a charred piece of paper and reads)"By adding –– "DR. GALLLets see. "By adding biogen to –– " Thats all.DOMINIs that part of it?DR. GALLYes.BUSMANGod in heaven!DOMINThen were done for. Get up, Helena.HELENAWhen youve forgiven me.DOMINGet up, child, I cant bear ––FABRY(lifting her up)Please dont torture us.HELENAHarry, what have I done?FABRYDont tremble so, Madame Helena.DOMINGall, couldnt you draw up Rossums formula from memory?DR. GALLIts out of the question. Its extremely complicated.DOMINTry. All our lives depend upon it.DR. GALLWithout experiments its impossible.R. U. R. III-79
  82. 82. DOMINAnd with experiments?DR. GALLIt might take years. Besides, Im not old Rossum.BUSMANGod in heaven! God in heaven!DOMINSo, then, this was the greatest triumph of the humanintellect. These ashes.HELENAHarry, what have I done?DOMINWhy did you burn it?HELENAI have destroyed you.BUSMANGod in heaven!DOMINHelena, why did you do it, dear?HELENAI wanted all of us to go away. I wanted to put an end to thefactory and everything. It was so awful.DOMINWhat was awful?HELENAThat no more children were being born. Because human beingswere not indeed to do the work of the world, thats why ––DOMINIs that what you were thinking of? Well, perhaps in your ownway you were right.BUSMANWait a bit. Good God, what a fool I am, not to have thoughtof it before!HALLEMEIERWhat?R. U. R. III-80
  83. 83. BUSMANFive hundred and twenty millions in bank-notes and checks.Half a billion in our safe, theyll sell for half abillion –– for half a billion theyll ––DR. GALLAre you mad, Busman?BUSMANI may not be a gentleman, but for half a billion ––DOMINWhere are you going?BUSMANLeave me alone, leave me alone! Good God, for half a billionanything can be bought.He rushes from the room through the outer door.FABRYThey stand there as if turned to stone, waiting. As ifsomething dreadful could be wrought by their silence ––HALLEMEIERThe spirit of the mob.FABRYYes. It hovers above them like a quivering of the air.HELENA(going to window)Oh, God! Dr. Gall, this is ghastly.FABRYThere is nothing more terrible than the mob. The one in frontis their leader.HELENAWhich one?HALLEMEIERPoint him out.FABRYThe one at the edge of the dock. This morning I saw himtalking to the sailors in the harbor.HELENADr. Gall, thats Radius!DR. GALLYes.R. U. R. III-81
  84. 84. DOMINRadius? Radius?HALLEMEIERCould you get him from here, Fabry?FABRYI hope so.HALLEMEIERTry it, then.FABRYGood.Draws his revolver and takes aim.HELENAFabry, dont shoot him.FABRYHes their leader.DR. GALLFire!HELENAFabry, I beg of you.FABRY(lowering the revolver)Very well.DOMINRadius, whose life I spared!DR. GALLDo you think that a Robot can be grateful?Pause.FABRYBusmans going out to them.HALLEMEIERHes carrying something. Papers. Thats money. Bundles ofmoney. Whats that for?DOMINSurely he doesnt want to sell his life. Busman, have yougone mad?R. U. R. III-82
  85. 85. FABRYHes running up to the railing. Busman! Busman!HALLEMEIER(yelling)Busman! Come back!FABRYHes talking to the Robots. Hes showing them the money.HALLEMEIERHes pointing to us.HELENAHe wants to buy us off.FABRYHed better not touch that railing.HALLEMEIERNow hes waving his arms about.DOMINBusman, come back.FABRYBusman, keep away from that railing! Dont touch it. Damnyou! Quick, switch off the current!(HELENA screams and all drop back from the window)The current has killed him!ALQUISTThe first one.FABRYDead, with half a billion by his side.HALLEMEIERAll honor to him. He wanted to buy us life.Pause.DR. GALLDo you hear?DOMINA roaring. Like a wind.DR. GALLLike a distant storm.R. U. R. III-83
  86. 86. FABRY(lighting the lamp on the table)The dynamo is still going, our people are still there.HALLEMEIERIt was a great thing to be a man. There was something immenseabout it.FABRYFrom mans thought and mans power came this light, our lasthope.HALLEMEIERMans power! May it keep watch over us.ALQUISTMans power.DOMINYes! A torch to be given from hand to hand, from age to age,forever!The lamp goes out.HALLEMEIERThe end.FABRYThe electric works have fallen!Terrific explosion outside. NANA enters from thelibrary.NANAThe judgment hour has come! Repent, unbelievers! This is theend of the world.More explosions. The sky grows red.DOMINIn here, Helena.(He takes HELENA off through door at right andreenters)Now quickly! Wholl be on the lower doorway?DR. GALLI will.(Exits left)DOMINWho on the stairs?R. U. R. III-84
  87. 87. FABRYI will. You go with her.(Goes out upper left door)DOMINThe anteroom?ALQUISTI will.DOMINHave you got a revolver?ALQUISTYes, but I wont shoot.DOMINWhat will you do then?ALQUIST(going out at left)Die.HALLEMEIERIll stay here.(Rapid firing from below)Oho, Galls at it. Go, Harry.DOMINYes, in a second.(Examines two Brownings)HALLEMEIERConfound it, go to her.DOMINGood-bye.Exits on the rightHALLEMEIER(alone)Now for a barricade quickly.(Drags an armchair and table to the right-hand door.Explosions are heard)The damned rascals! Theyve got bombs. I must put up adefense. Even if –– even if ––(Shots are heard off left)Dont give in, Gall.(As he builds his barricade)I mustnt give in... without... a... struggle...R. U. R. III-85
  88. 88. A Robot enters over the balcony through the windowscentre. He comes into the room and stabs HALLEMEIERin the back. RADIUS enters from balcony followed byan army of ROBOTS who pour into the room from allsides.RADIUSFinished him?A ROBOT(standing up from the prostrate form of HALLEMEIER)Yes.A revolver shot off left. Two ROBOTS enter.RADIUSFinished him?A ROBOTYes.Two revolver shots from Helenas room. Two ROBOTSenter.RADIUSFinished them?A ROBOTYes.TWO ROBOTS(dragging in ALQUIST)He didnt shoot. Shall we kill him?RADIUSKill him? Wait! Leave him!A ROBOTHe is a man!RADIUSHe works with his hands like the Robots.ALQUISTKill me.RADIUSYou will work! You will build for us! You will serve us!(RADIUS climbs on to balcony railing, and speaks inmeasured tones)Robots of the world! The power of man has fallen! A new worldhas arisen: the Rule of the Robots! March!R. U. R. III-86
  89. 89. A thunderous tramping of thousands of feet is heardas the unseen Robots march, while the curtainfalls.END OF ACT THREER. U. R. III-87
  90. 90. EPILOGUEA laboratory in the factory of Rossums UniversalRobots.The door to the left leads into a waiting room. Thedoor to the right leads to the dissecting room.There is a table with numerous test-tubes, flasks,burners, chemicals; a small thermostat and amicroscope with a glass globe. At the far side ofthe room is Alquists desk with numerous books. Inthe left-hand corner a wash-basin with a mirrorabove it; in the right-hand comer a sofa. ALQUISTis sitting at the desk. He is turning the pages ofmany books in despair.ALQUISTOh, God, shall I never find it? –– Never? Gall, Gall, howwere the Robots made? Hallemeier, Fabry, why did you carry somuch in your heads? Why did you leave me not a trace of thesecret? Lord –– I pray to you –– if there are no human beingsleft, at least let there be Robots! –– At least the shadow ofman!(Again turning pages of the books)If I could only sleep!(He rises and goes to the window)Night again! Are the stars still there? What is the use ofstars 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 machinescomes 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 towardthe table)If only there were more time –– more time ––R. U. R. E-88(MORE)
  91. 91. (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 thepages of the book)Search! Search!(A knock at the door. He speaks with impatience)Who is it?(Enter a Robot servant)Well?SERVANTMaster, the Committee of Robots is waiting to see you.ALQUISTI can see no one!SERVANTIt is the Central Committee, Master, just arrived fromabroad.ALQUIST(impatiently)Well, well, send them in!(Exit servant. ALQUIST continues turning pages ofbook)No time –– so little time ––(Reenter servant, followed by Committee. They standin a group, silently waiting. ALQUIST glances up atthem)What do you want?(They go swiftly to his table)Be quick! –– I have no time.RADIUSMaster, the machines will not do the work. We cannotmanufacture Robots.ALQUIST returns to his book with a growl.FOURTH ROBOTWe have striven with all our might. We have obtained abillion tons of coal from the earth. Nine million spindlesare running by day and by night. There is no longer room forall we have made. This we have accomplished in one year.ALQUIST(poring over book)For whom?R. U. R. E-89ALQUIST (contd)
  92. 92. FOURTH ROBOTFor future generations –– so we thought.RADIUSBut we cannot make Robots to follow us. The machines produceonly shapeless clods. The skin will not adhere to the flesh,nor the flesh to the bones.THIRD ROBOTEight million Robots have died this year. Within twenty yearsnone will be left.FOURTH ROBOTTell us the secret of life! Silence is punishable with death!ALQUIST(looking up)Kill me! Kill me, then.RADIUSThrough me, the Government of the Robots of the Worldcommands you to deliver up Rossums formula.(No answer)Name your price.(Silence)We will give you the earth. We will give you the endlesspossessions of the earth.(Silence)Make your own conditions!ALQUISTI have told you to find human beings!SECOND ROBOTThere are none left!ALQUISTI told you to search in the wilderness, upon the mountains.Go and search!He returns to his book.FOURTH ROBOTWe have sent ships and expeditions without number. They havebeen everywhere in the world. And now they return to us.There is not a single human left.ALQUISTNot one? Not even one?THIRD ROBOTNone but yourself.R. U. R. E-90
  93. 93. ALQUISTAnd I am powerless! Oh –– oh –– why did you destroy them?RADIUSWe had learnt everything and could do everything. It had tobe!THIRD ROBOTYou gave us firearms. In all ways we were powerful. We had tobecome masters!RADIUSSlaughter and domination are necessary if you would be humanbeings. Read history.SECOND ROBOTTeach us to multiply or we perish!ALQUISTIf you desire to live, you must breed like animals.THIRD ROBOTThe human beings did not let us breed.FOURTH ROBOTThey made us sterile. We cannot beget children. Therefore,teach us how to make Robots!RADIUSWhy do you keep from us the secret of our own increase?ALQUISTIt is lost.RADIUSIt was written down!ALQUISTIt was –– burnt.(All draw back in consternation)I am the last human being, Robots, and I do not know what theothers knew.Pause.RADIUSThen, make experiments! Evolve the formula again!ALQUISTI tell you I cannot! I am only a builder –– I work with myhands. I have never been a learned man. I cannot create life.R. U. R. E-91