The work appeared in 1902 was innovative in genre. In this socio-philosophical drama there is no traditional plot, the action develops in the dialogue of the characters. The place of events is a doss house for the “former” people who are caught up in the “bottom” of life.
Maxim Gorky defined the main question of the play in this way: “what is better, the truth or compassion? What is more necessary?”. The problem of drama is diverse: the place of a person and his role in life, faith in a person, the legitimacy of the existence of a comforting lie, the opportunity to change one’s own life.
After reading the summary “At the bottom” of the actions, you can get an idea of the heroes and the main conflicts of the play. The play is included in the program of the 11th grade literature.
Mikhail Kostylev, 54 years old, owner of a lodging house.
Vasilisa is the wife of Kostylev, 26, the mistress of Ashes.
Natasha is Vasilisa’s sister, 20 years old. He dreams of a wonderful future. Because of the beating of her sister, she gets to the hospital, leaving her disappears.
Luke is a wanderer, 60 years old, preaching a comforting lie.
Vaska Pepel is a thief, 28 years old, the desire to change his life awakens in him.
Mite Andrew Mitrich – “working man”, a mechanic 40 years old, hopes to return to his old life.
Baron – a former aristocrat of 33 years, a neighbor of Nastia, I am sure that he has “everything in the past.”
Satin is a guest, about 40 years old, believes that a person should be spiritually free.
Actor – a drunkard, a former actor, not seeing the possibility of change, ends his life by suicide.
Medvedev Abram is a 50-year-old policeman, Uncle Vasilisa and Natasha. I am convinced that “a man must behave himself.”
Anna – the wife of the tick, 30 years old, kind and calm, died in a doss house.
Alyoshka is a shoemaker, 20 years old.
Tatar, Krivoy Zob – loaders.
Nastya, a girl of easy virtue, 24 years old, dreams of true love.
Kvashnya is a 40-year-old woman, selling dumplings.
The action takes place in the early spring morning in the basement of a doss house, similar to a cave.
Sitting near one of the walls, Ticks pick up the keys to the old locks. In the center at the big dirty table “the Kvashnya” is in charge, the Baron eats bread, Nastya reads the worn out book. Anna is coughing behind the unfinished curtain on the bed in the corner. The Actor turns on the stove. Located on the bunks, is going to sew a cap Bubnov.
Turning to the Baron, Kvashnya says that having been married, she will never part with her freedom. The tick teases the woman with the words that she is lying and will be happy to marry Medvedev, who made her an offer. Kvashnya in reply says that he drove his wife to death.
Baron, snatching a book from Nastya, and, after reading the title – “Fatal love” – laughs.
Anna asks to stop screaming and quarreling, letting her die in peace.
Satin, Bubnov, Actor and Ticks are talking slowly. Satin says that he used to be a cultural person. Bubnov recollects that his profession is a furrier and once he had a “own institution.” The actor thinks that the main thing in life is not education, but talent.
Appears Kostylev, looking for his wife. He knocks at the door of Ash’s room, intending to talk, but Ashes drives him away. Kostylev leaves.
From the further conversation of the inhabitants of the basement, it becomes clear: Pepla has an affair with the wife of the hostess Vasilissa.
Satin asks for money from Ashe, he gives, and Satin talks about money and work. He believes life is good when work is pleasure, and if work is a duty, then life turns into slavery.
The actor and Satin leave.
Natasha appears, with her – a new guest, Luka. Ashes flirts with Natasha, but she does not take courtship.
The drunk Alyoshka comes in, he can not understand what he is worse than others, why they drive him everywhere.
Ashes, turning to Ticks, says that he “in vain squeaks.” The tick says that it will escape from here, does not want to live like everyone else here – “without honor and conscience”. Ashes, however, believes that people in the doss house are not worse than Mite. Ashes with the Baron go.
Appears Vasilisa, she drives the drunk Alyoshka, scolds the guests for the mud. Then I wonder if Natasha came in and spoke with Vasily. Leaves.
There is a noise and shouts in the passage: Vasilisa beats Natasha. Medvedev, Kvashnya and Bubnov flee to separate their sisters.
Act of the second
The play takes place in the same setting. Several guests are engaged in playing cards, followed by the actor and tick. Medvedev and Bubnov play checkers. Luka sits next to Anna’s bed.
Talking with Luke, Anna complains about her life. The Elder calms her, promising a paradise and rest after death.
The actor is going to “recite the couplets” to Luka, but discovers that he has forgotten poetry. He laments that everything is over for him – he “drank his soul”. Luke replies that not everything in the life of the actor is lost: there are free hospitals for drunkards, but do not remember in which city. He persuades the actor to suffer and to refrain from drunkenness. “A man – everything can… just wanted to,” – says Luka.
Sullen Ashes come in. He turns to Medvedev, asking if Vasilissa had beaten her sister badly. He refuses to talk, noticing that this is not his, the thief, the case. Ashes in response threaten to tell the investigator that “Mishka Kostylev with his wife” he steal and steal bought.
Luka tries to intervene in their conversation, but Ashes asks why Luka is lying, telling everyone that everything is fine. Luka convinces Vasily that instead of searching for the truth he needs to go to the “golden side”, Siberia, where he can find his way.
Vasilisa enters. She speaks with Ashes, and he admits that Vasilisa has bothered him – in her “there is no soul.” Vasilisa suggests that Peplus marry her sister in exchange for the murder of her annoyed husband.
Kostylev enters, between him and Vasily flashes a quarrel, but the fight is prevented by Luka. He advises Aspel not to deal with Vasilisa, but to go away from the doss house with the one that likes the thief-Natasha.
The wanderer, looking behind the canopy where Anna lies, discovers that she is dead.
Gradually, all the residents of the doss house gather near Anna’s bed.
Action – on the “wasteland”, cluttered and overgrown with weeds in the yard of the doss house.
Nastya tells the listeners the story of her love. Bubnov and Baron chuckle at her story, not believing, but the girl passionately proves that she experienced true love. She’s crying. Luke reassures her, says that since she herself believes, then such a love was, and her neighbor laughed, because in his life there was nothing real.
Inhabitants of the “bottom” talk about truth and lies.
Natasha says that she is inventing and waiting for someone “special” or something “unprecedented”. Although, what to expect – she does not understand, “it’s bad for everyone to live.”
Bubnov believes that people often cheat in order to “color the soul”, he himself does not see the point of lying, he is better “to bring down the whole truth, as it is, why be embarrassed?”
The tick of people hates and the truth to him to anything. Having said this, he runs away
Ashes appear, is included in the conversation. He asks Luka why he deceives, saying that everything is fine. Luke replies that “you can not always cure the soul”, so it’s worth pitying a person. He says that he will soon leave the doss house.
Ashes calls Natasha to leave with him, confesses his love, promises to quit theft. He feels that it is necessary to change life, “so to live, so that I myself can be respected.” Natasha is thoughtful, but still decides to believe him.
Kostylev and his wife are approaching. Vasilisa tries to push ash and husband, but Luke reassures Vasily.
Kostylev talks to Luke, says that a person must live by the rules, and all good people have a passport. Luka openly says that he thinks: Kostylev will never change, because he is like a land unsuitable for harvest – it’s no good for anything.
The owners of the doss house drive Luka away, and he promises to leave at night.
Bubnov tells Luka that “it’s always better to leave in time” and tells his story.
Satin and the actor, arguing about something, go into the basement. Satin says that nowhere the Actor will not go away and demands to say what Luke promised Akter. The wanderer asks how Satin could be in the doss house. He reluctantly tells that he was imprisoned because of his sister: “he killed a scoundrel in passion and irritation,” and after the prison all roads are closed.
The grim tick enters – he had to sell all the tools to bury Anna and do not understand how to live on.
From the apartment Kostylevyh can hear the cry of Natasha: “Beat! Kill!”. Actor and Satin come out to figure out what’s going on. Individual voices sound, it is clear from the replicas that the guests are trying to separate Vasilisa and Natasha.
Appear Kvashnya and Nastya, help to go Natasha – she is beaten and her feet are boiled with boiling water. Behind them go Kostylev, Vasilisa, the dwellers of the doss house. Appeared Ashes sees Natasha and beats the breadth of Kostylev. He falls. Vasilisa screams that they killed her husband, points to Ashes. Basil also says that Kostyleva herself rebuked him to kill her husband.
Natasha in hysterics accuses her sister and Ashes of conspiracy and, almost losing consciousness, asks to take her herself to jail.
Early spring. Night. The basement of the doss house. At the table Mite, Nastya, Satin, Baron. On the stove – Actor. In the corner where the room of Ashes was, lies the Tatar.
The inhabitants of the cellar recall Luka, who disappeared during the turmoil around Natasha and Kostylev. Nastya believes that he understood everything and saw everything. He called his interlocutors “rust.” The tick agrees – the old man is good, compassionate. Tatar believes that Luke lived under the law “Do not hurt a person.”
For Satin “old man” “like a crumb for the toothless,” besides, Luka confused the minds of the dwellers of the doss house.
The Baron calls Luka a charlatan.
Nastya, who became disgusted, and life, and people, wants to leave “to the ends of the world.” Baron, offering the girl to take with him an actor, mocks his dream to heal.
The tick remarks that the wanderer Luke “beckoned to somewhere, but he did not say the road himself.” In his opinion, he “rebelled very much against the truth.” It is true-and without it-there is nothing to breathe. “
Satin in excitement orders “to remain silent about the old man” – he, unlike everyone, understood that “the truth is a person”, but deceived out of pity for people. The wanderer influenced his attitude to the world as “acid on an old and dirty coin.”
Talk about the murder of Kostylev. After getting into the hospital after the sisters’ harassment and leaving her, Natasha disappeared. Everyone believes that Vasilisa will get out, and Ashes will fall if not to hard labor, then to prison – for sure.
Satin argues that a person should be respected, but “not humiliate him with pity.” The Baron admits that he lives as if in a dream, not seeing and understanding the meaning of life.
The actor, suddenly climbs off the stove and runs out of the cellar.
Medvedev comes in with Bubnov, followed by other dwellers of the doss house. Someone settles down for the night, a few people sing. The door is being pushed open. The Baron screams from the threshold – the Actor hanged himself in the vacant lot.
Satin says: “Eh, spoiled the song, dur-cancer!”
The play “At the bottom” Gorky lives and finds his readers and viewers for more than a century, attracting ambiguity of the questions posed, prompting again and again to think that there is faith in man’s life, love and what are the possibilities of man. By giving only a general idea of the play, a brief retelling of “At the bottom” suggests a further work of the reader with the full text of the drama.