Scene 16: I am Dead

The Nikolai’s summer home, bed. Six a.m. Lisa, wearing the same dress, which is now rumpled and badly hooked up.

Lisa: Listen to me, Nicholas. We haven’t much longer to be together and I want to say all I have to say.

Stavrogin: What do you mean, Lisa? Why haven’t we much longer to be together?

Lisa: Because I am dead.

Stavrogin: Dead? Why, Lisa? You must live.

Lisa: You have forgotten that as we arrived here yesterday I told you that you had brought a dead woman. I have lived since then. I have had my hour of life on earth, and that is enough. I want to leave you now.

Stavrogin: Don’t despise me that way. I fear nothing except losing the hope you gave me. I was lost, like a drowning man, and I thought that your love would save me. Do you have any idea what that new hope cost me? I paid for it with life itself.

Lisa: Your life or someone else’s?

Stavrogin: What do you mean? Tell me at once what you mean!

Lisa: I simply asked you if you had paid for that hope with your life or mine. Why do you stare at me so? What did you think? You look as if you were afraid, as if you had been afraid for sometime…You are so pale now…

Stavrogin: If you know something, I know nothing, I swear. That’s not what I meant.

Lisa: I don’t understand you.

Stavrogin: A bad dream…A nightmare…We were talking of two different things.

Lisa: I don’t know what you were talking about…Nicholas…Is it possible that you didn’t guess yesterday that I would leave you today? Did you know it-yes or no? Don’t lie; did you know it?

Stavrogin: I knew it.

Lisa: You knew it and yet you took me.

Stavrogin: Yes, condemn me. You have the right to do so. I knew also that I didn’t love you and yet I took you. I have never felt love for anyone. I desire, that’s all. And I took advantage of you. But I always hoped that someday I could love, and I have always hoped that it would be you. The fact that you were willing to follow me gave strength to that hope. I shall love, yes, I shall love you….

Lisa: You will love me! And I imagined…Ah! I followed you through pride to rival you in generosity; I followed you to ruin myself with you and to share in your misfortune. But, despite everything, I imagined that you loved me madly. And you… You hope to love me someday. What a little fool I was! Don’t make fun of these tears. I love being sentimental about myself. But that is enough! I am not capable of anything and you are not capable of anything either. Let us now console ourselves by sticking out our tongues at each other. That way our pride at least will not suffer.

Stavrogin: Don’t weep, I can’t endure it.

Lisa: I am calm. I gave my life for an hour with you. Now I am calm. As for you, you will forget. You will have other hours and other moments.

Stavrogin: Never, never! No one but you…

Lisa: Ah! You…

Stavrogin: Yes, yes. I shall love you. Now I am sure of it. Someday my heart will relax at last. I shall bow my head and forget myself in your arms. You alone can cure me…

Lisa: Cure you! I don’t want to. I don’t want to be the sister of Charity for you. Ask Dasha instead; she will follow you everywhere like a dog. And don’t worry about me. I knew in advance what was in store for me. I always knew that if I followed you, you would lead me to a spot inhabited by a monstrous spider as big as a man, that we would spend our life watching the spider and trembling with fear, and that our love would go no farther…

[ Lisa Exits, after Peter Enters ]

Peter: It was a mere coincidence. Legally you are not involved…

Stavrogin: They were burned? Assassinated?

Peter: Assassinated. Unfortunately, the house only half burned and the bodies were found. Captain’s throat was slit. His sister had been slashed over and over again with a knife. But it was a prowler, most certainly. I have heard that, the night before, Captain was drunk and showed everybody the fifteen rubles I had given him.

Stavrogin: You had given him fifteen hundred rubles?

Peter: Yes quite deliberately. And from you.

Stavrogin: From me?

Peter: But listen at least to the way things turned out… (Stavrogin gives him a violent blow.) Oh, you might have broken my arm! Of course, he boasted of having that money. Fedka saw it, that’s all. I’m sure now it was Fedka. He must not have understood your true intentions.

Stavrogin: Was it Fedka who lighted the fire?

Peter: No. No. You know that such fires were planned in our group action. It’s a very Russian way of starting a revolution… But it came to soon! I was disobeyed, that’s all, and I’ll have to take steps. But don’t forget this misfortune has its advantages. For instance, you are a widower and you can marry Lisa tomorrow. Where is she? I want to give her the good news. (Stavrogin suddenly laughs) You are laughing?

Stavrogin: Yes. I am laughing at one who apes me, I am laughing at you. Good news, indeed! But don’t you think that those corpses will upset her somewhat?

Peter: Not at all! Why? Besides, legally… And she’s a young lady who isn’t fazed by anything. You’ll be amazed to see the way she steps over those corpses. Once she’s married, she’ll forget.

Stavrogin: There will be no marriage.

Peter: No? As soon as I saw you two together, I realized that it hadn’t worked. Ah! A complete flop? I was sure it would all end in nonsense…Good. I shall easily marry her off to Maurice; who must be waiting for her outside now in the rain. As for others-the ones who were killed-it’s better not to tell her anything about that. She’ll find out soon enough.

[ Lisa Re-enters, dressed ]

Lisa: What shall I find out soon enough? Who has killed someone? What did you say about Maurice?

Peter: Well, young lady, so we listen at doors!

Lisa: What did you say about Maurice? Has he been killed?

Stavrogin: No Lisa. It was only my wife and her brother were killed.

Peter: A strange, a monstrous coincidence! Someone took advantage of the fire to kill and rob them. It must have been Fedka.

Lisa: Nicholas! Is he telling the truth?

Stavrogin: No. He is not telling the truth.

Peter: But don’t you see that this man has lost his reason! Besides, he spent the night with you.

Lisa: Nicholas, talk to me as if you stood before God at this moment. Are you guilty or not? I will trust your word as I would God’s word. I shall follow you, like a dog, to the end of the world.

Stavrogin: I did not kill and I was against that murder, but I knew they would be assassinated and I did not keep the murders from doing it. Now, leave me.

Lisa: No! No! No!

[ Exits ]

Peter: So I have wasted my time with you!

Stavrogin: I loathe and detest everything that exists, people, you and Lisa. I hate everything that lives on earth, and I myself first of all. So let destruction reign and crush them all those who ape Stavrogin, and Stavrogin himself…