A monologue from the play by Jacinto Benavente
NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from Plays: Second Series. Trans. John Garrett Underhill. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1919.
PRINCESS HELENA: No, I am not laughing. I realize now that it was a mistake for me to throw myself upon the mercy of a man who never had any. We are banished because we live our own lives in the sincerity of our affections, because we refuse to learn hypocrisy of you and of the Princes you tolerate about your throne, and who are worthy of it, because they maintain a hollow pretense of love and respect for what nobody any longer either loves or respects. Prince Michael may remain at Court in the enjoyment of all his dignities; he will never marry an actress like Prince Stephen, because he is provided with three or four of them already; Princess Leonora may remain–she will not hear of a divorce; nothing is so convenient as a husband to cover up her antipathy to marriage; Princess Clothilda may remain, who never allowed her husband to interfere with her. They are virtuous officially, they neither shock nor jeopardize the security of the Empire! I am not built that way. You are right; I was a fool to appeal to you and your laws, when all I had to do was to satisfy my own conscience. Could anything be more ridiculous? Why appeal to others for what we have already in ourselves? Why revolutionize the world when it is so easy to revolutionize our own consciences? From this hour forth, I give you warning; I, Princess Helena, have become a ferocious anarchist. The world, your Empire, your precious society, the whole of it, with its laws, its morality and its lies–well, you can have it, it is good enough for you; let it remain as it is; there are people who do not know how to live in any other way–but I tell you that a bomb has burst in my heart, in my life, that has blown into a thousand fragments all this world, with its laws and its lies! Let me out, Baroness. Follow me!Order now