Start: I will sit behind the door. I wil...

Pandora's Box

Martha Geschwitz

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Start: I will sit behind the door. I will look on at everything and not quiver an eye-lash. (Sits on the broken chair.) Men and women don't know themselves—they know not what they are. Only one who is neither man nor woman knows them. Every word they say is untrue, a lie. And they do not know it, for they are to-day so and to-morrow so, according as they have eaten, drunk, and loved, or not. Only the body remains for a time what it is, and only the children have reason. The men and women are like the animals: none knows what it does. When they are happiest they bewail themselves and groan, and in their deepest misery they rejoice over every tiny morsel. It is strange how hunger takes from men and women the strength to withstand misfortune. But when they have fed full they make this world a torture-chamber, they throw away their lives to satisfy a whim, a mood. Have there ever once been men and women to whom love brought happiness? And what is their happiness, save that they sleep better and can forget it all? My God, I thank thee that thou hast not made me as these. I am not man nor woman. My body has nothing common with their bodies. Have I a human soul? Tortured humanity has a little narrow heart; but I know I deserve nothing when I resign all, sacrifice all....

Wedekind, Frank, Pandora’s Box, Project Gutenberg, 2010, pp. 73-74. http://www.gutenberg.org/files/33415/33415-h/33415-h.htm

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