Doctor Zhivago Quotes


"While his mother was alive, Yuri did not know that his father had abandoned them long ago, had gone around various towns in Siberia and abroad, carousing and debauching, and that he had long ago squandered and thrown to the winds the millions of their fortune."


Being raised by his single mother, Yuri believed that his lifestyle was the only one possible. They weren't rich. Upon her death, he learned that he would have been heir to a very large family fortune if his father hadn't squandered all of it already on wasteful adventures in Siberia. This discovery was shocking to Yuri because wealth in Russia during the time was distributed in radically uneven ways and dependent almost entirely upon heritage. Since he was raised believing he was poor, he could barely imagine that his social identity should have been so drastically different.

"This world of baseness and falsity, where a well-fed little lady dares to look like that at witless working people, and the drunken victim of this order finds pleasure in jeering at one of his own kind, this world was now more hateful to him than ever."


Yuri is sensitive to the Russian class struggle. Based upon his upbringing, he understands the struggle of poverty and the value of hard work. To see a naive, wealthy socialite belittle the working-class people is distressing on a personal level for him. This event triggers his already building distaste for the aristocracy to solidify into a plan - orchestrating a labor strike.

"God exists, of course. But if He exists, then He -- is me. I'm going to order it."


Yuri is an artist. He believes that he can form new things from his own imagination, which proves to him that he possesses divinity - the power to create - within himself. Interestingly, he doesn't stop there. He applies this line of thought to all matter that he sees around him, claiming that the power is not his alone but because he and all other matter are composed of the same divine power. Thus God, or the divine, is a part of everything. When he says this, Yuri commands the wind to blow through a tree near him. It does.

"Over the lawns in an auditory hallucination hung the phantom fo his mother's voice; it sounded for him in the melodious turns of the birds and the buzzing of the bees."


Long after her death, Yuri continue to hear his mother's voice. Devoted and hard-working, his mom meant the world to him, so he struggles to cope with her departure. The fact that he hears audible voices that aren't there is a clue that he may be a schizophrenic. Another interpretation is that, along with his theological belief in the innate distribution of divinity throughout all matter, then he is hearing the reflection of his mother within himself.

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