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The Doctor’s Dilemma

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The Doctor’s Dilemma

by George Bernard Shaw

Genre: Drama
Format of Original Source: Play
Recommended Adaptation Length: 60 Minutes

Candidate for Adaptation? Not Likely


Only one man can be saved: shall it be an honest man who works assiduously for the poor, or a charming parasite who happens to be an extraordinary artist? Along the way, the play provides Shaw with an opportunity to discuss and skewer the medical profession, and contemplate mortality.
an excerpt:
RIDGEON [slowly] Mrs Dubedat: do you really believe in my knowledge and skill as you say you do?

MRS DUBEDAT. Absolutely. I do not give my trust by halves.

RIDGEON. I know that. Well, I am going to test you–hard. Will you believe me when I tell you that I understand what you have just told me; that I have no desire but to serve you in the most faithful friendship; and that your hero must be preserved to you.

MRS DUBEDAT. Oh forgive me. Forgive what I said. You will preserve him to me.

RIDGEON. At all hazards. [She kisses his hand. He rises hastily]. No: you have not heard the rest. [She rises too]. You must believe me when I tell you that the one chance of preserving the hero lies in Louis being in the care of Sir Ralph.

MRS DUBEDAT [firmly] You say so: I have no more doubt: I believe you. Thank you.

RIDGEON. Good-bye. [She takes his hand]. I hope this will be a lasting friendship.

MRS DUBEDAT. It will. My friendships end only with death.

RIDGEON. Death ends everything, doesnt it? Goodbye.


There’s a very interesting question at the heart of this play (the eponymous question in the show’s title), but 80% of the play is a discourse rather than a drama. If you were to adapt this play, you would need to invent more events and storyline, or possibly use the 20% which is devoted to story to drive a short one-act.


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