The doctor dilemma: summary & commentry

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Information about The doctor dilemma: summary & commentry
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Published on September 16, 2014

Author: AbdelfattahAdel

Source: slideshare.net

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The doctor dilemma: summary & commentry

The Doctor's Dilemma by Bernard Shaw Plot Summary: The Doctor's Dilemma is about Dr. Colenso Ridgeon, who has recently been knighted because of a miraculous new treatment he developed for tuberculosis. As his friends arrive to congratulate him on his success, he is visited by two figures who present him with a difficult decision. He has room for one more patient in his clinic; should he give it to Louis Dubedat, a brilliant but absolutely immoral artist, or Dr. Blenkinsop, a poor and rather ordinary physician who is a truly good person? Dr. Ridgeon's dilemma is heightened when he falls in love with Jennifer Dubedat, the artist's wife, who is innocent of her husband's profligacy. Ridgeon, with only enough medicine to treat one of the two patients, chooses the honorable Blenkinsop over the rascally Dudebat. In the end Ridgeon justifies his behavior as a plan to let Dubechat die before his wife find out what an amoral cad he actually was. This, in fact, happens and Dubechat's artistic reputation soars. Dudebat dies, but when Rideon confesses his love to Jennifer, he discovers that she has already remarried Commentary: At one level this comedy--Shaw calls it a "tragedy"--deals with allocation of scarce medical resources. Which of the two men will Sir Ridgeon save? Blenkinsop is an honest doctor who works assiduously for the poor. Dubechat is a charming sociopath, who happens to be an extraordinary artist. The scientist resolves this problem with an interesting moral twist--he reasons that Dubechat's death will be a benefit because it will preserve his reputation. It will also potentially benefit Ridgeon, who covets Mrs. Dubechat. Various themes swirl about within this general framework--the value of science, the paternalism of the medical profession, and the fact that "everything that goes around, comes around." The play itself is preceded by an 88-page "Preface on Doctors" (1911) in which Shaw declaims at length about the general inadequacy of medicine in Britain and presents a proposal for an improved medical care system, including socialized medicine. Along the way, he takes off against two of his favorite bugaboos--animal research (vivisection) and vaccination. (Shaw evidently did not believe that vaccination was efficacious.)

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