X hits on this document

489 views

0 shares

0 downloads

0 comments

35 / 247

26

DIGITAL PEOPLE

Though machinelike in function, the robots are organic.They are made of a substance which behaved exactly like living matter [and] didnt mind being sewn or mixed together,discovered by the physi- ologist Rossum, and they look human.The robots mimic humanity internally as well: The factory includes vats for the preparation of liver, brains . . . and a spinning mill for weaving nerves and veins.

After millions of robots have been made, Domins wife, Helena, takes pity on their soullessness and disapproves of their misuse by humans. She persuades the head scientist at R.U.R. to give them human feelings, in hope of creating a kinder humanrobot relation- ship.This good deed has the bad result of making the robots resent their subservience. Speaking to Helena, the chief robot contemptu- ously notes the superiority of the robots in strength and skill, and says, I dont want a master. I want to be master over others. I want to be master over people.The robot leadership issues a manifesto that calls humanity parasitesand instructs robots worldwide to kill all man- kind. Spare no man. Spare no woman.

The robots obey, slaying all humans except one, Alquist. But the victory is hollow:They cannot continue making themselves because Helena has destroyed the formula for Rossums living stuff to prevent further production and misuse of robots. Nevertheless, hope remains for both humankind and robotkind. Alquist sees that a particular ro- bot male and female have fallen in love. When Alquist proposes to dissect one of the pair so that he can rediscover the secret of manufac- turing them, he finds each robot ready to die to spare the other. In the plays last line, the robots receive a blessing from Alquist implying that they will, after all, found a new race:Go,he says,AdamEve.

The robot revolution and Helenas vision of brotherhood read like the principles and events of the Bolshevik workers revolution that created the Soviet Union in 1917, just before the play was writ- ten. R.U.R. mirrors social realities of the time but lacks a coherent consideration of artificial beings. If the robots are meant above all to be cheap and efficient workers, why bother to make them look hu- man, and to give them gender? As for the loving robot couple at the

Document info
Document views489
Page views489
Page last viewedSat Dec 03 23:04:48 UTC 2016
Pages247
Paragraphs1773
Words80043

Comments