You're sixty years old. Medicine won't help.

After Arkadina and Sorin inquire to Dorn about ways to alleviate Sorin's pain and fading health, Sorin expresses regret for his life. He regrets that he never fulfilled any of the dreams of his youth that included becoming a writer, doing well with the ladies and speaking in public well. As a doctor, Dorn curiously gives Sorin little advice. Instead of prescribing a remedy Dorn asks Sorin what he wants from Dorn. Does he want aspirin, etc. This apathetic response that asks the patient to make a prescription disturbs Sorin and Arkadina. Dorn's attitude is that Sorin cannot be helped. He is old and sick and therefore, should just live out what is left of his life as his destiny plans and no medicine can alter. Chekhov was a doctor and Dorn is one of several doctor characters Chekhov writes.

Chekhov was also ill, like Sorin living with tuberculosis for much of his adult life. Probably both Dorn's apathetic attitude and Sorin's desire for a remedy reflect Chekov's view of his own health. As a doctor, he must have known how serious and untreatable his condition was and at the same time, he probably wanted to live as long as he could and seek relief, if not a cure. Dorn's line about Sorin is funny not only because sixty is no longer an old age to a modern audience, but also because it says something greater about all of our lives. Nothing can cure death or prevent it. Anything we try to do to stay alive is in one way or another, postponing or ignoring the inevitable. Dorn's comment also makes us laugh because it pokes fun at older adults and their idiosyncrasies, describing Sorin's age as one that is unable to be helped.