Chekhov Stories


Dr. Andrei Rabin

Characters Dr. Andrei Rabin

Dr. Rabin is the protagonist of Ward No. 6. Although initially a caring and attentive physician, Rabin grows indifferent and unresponsive to his patients. He reasons that suffering serves a necessary purpose and argues, "Why hinder people dying if death is the normal and legitimate end of everyone?" The doctor thus justifies his own inaction through "rationalization." However, Rabin grows intrigued by the notion of mistreatment as he begins speaking to the lunatic Gromov. Although he disagrees with Gromov's philosophy, Rabin despairs that the intelligent young man has been incarcerated. The author demonstrates the cruel ironies of fate when the doctor is himself admitted to ward no. six as a lunatic. Unsurprisingly, Rabin soon rejects his stoic philosophy along with his ideas about the necessity of suffering. He becomes convinced of the immortality of the state system and, encouraged by Gromov, creates a disturbance in the ward. Rabin is beaten by the hospital porter for this offense and dies of a stroke the following day. Chekhov uses this plot development to emphasize fate's unpredictability and to condemn the injustices committed under the state's aegis.