The Doctor’s Dilemmaby George Bernard Shaw
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.
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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