|Photograph of scene designed by Jo Mielziner for George Bernard Shaw's "Doctor's Dilemma." Courtesy of the New York Public Library Digital Library. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Title: The Doctor’s Dilemma: A Tragedy
Author: George Bernard Shaw
Main Characters: Sir Patrick Cullen, Sir Ralph Bloomfield Bonnington, Sir Colenso Ridgeon, Cutler Walpole, Leo Schutzmacher, Dr.Blenkinsop, Louis Dubedat, Redpenny, The newspaper man, Mr.Danty, Jennifer Dubedat, Emmy and Minnie Tinwill.
Description of the main characters:
Sir Patrick Cullen:
Sir Patrick Cullen was a doctor. He advises Ridgeon and the other young doctors like Leo Schtzmacher, Dr.Blenkinsop, Sir Ralph Bloomfield Bonnington. He likes to grunt for everything. He is jealous of Ridgeon's new discovery.
Sir Ralph Bloomfield Bonnington:
Sir Ralph Bloomfield Bonnington is a tall man . He is a kind doctor. He is Ridgeon's friend. He is a born healer. He is known to everyone as B.B.
Sir Colenso Ridgeon:
Sir Colenso Ridgeon is a man of fifty. He won his knighthood by finding how to cure consumption and tuberculosis. The medicine he invented cures people only if he uses the medicine. If other doctors use it the patients get killed.
Cutler Walpole is an energetic man of forty. He is never in doubt. He is not hesitant. He is a great surgeon. He thinks every disease is because of blood-poisoning.
Leo Schutzmacher is a not very rich man. He was Ridgeon's classmate in the university college school. He is known to Ridgeon as Loony. He earns money with two magical words: 'CURE GUARANTEED.'
Dr.Blenkinsop is very different from the others. He is clearly not a prosperous man. He wears shabby clothes and there are lines from the face because of worrying. He is also Ridgeon's friend.
Setting/Theme of the story: Ridgeon becomes Sir Colenso Ridgeon as he finds out the cure for tuberculosis + consumption. His friends, Dr.Blenkinsop, B.B, Schutzmacher, Cutler Walpole and Sir Patrick Cullen, congratulate him. While all these doctors congratulate Ridgeon a lady waits outside to meet Ridgeon. Emmy, the serving woman, sends the lady inside to Ridgeon. She introduces herself as Jenifer Dubedat. She tells Ridgeon that her husband has tuberculosis and insists that he should save her husband. Ridgeon does not accept. He says that he already has 10 cases and cannot take any more. She pleads him and he accepts. Later Dr.Blenkinsop gets tuberculosis and Ridgeon takes upon the case. Hence he hands over Mr.Dubedat's case to B.B. As the medicine invented by Ridgeon for tuberculosis works only if Ridgeon uses it and kills if not used by him, Louis Dubedat dies and Blenkinsop survives. Since Ridgeon knows that the medicine would kill Louis if not used by him and yet hands over the case to B.B , the death of Louis becomes a tragedy.