The Wormwood Star
Act III of Atilla Shrugged "The Wormwood Star" is adapted from Part III Chapter 4 of Dostoyevsky's The Idiot.
The scene takes place at shortly before dawn on a Saint Petersburg summer's night, at Prince Myshkin's party, just after Hippolyte's attempted suicide. A peculiar account of famine in Medieval times provokes Lebedev to an interpretion of the Apocalypse of John, wherein he hints at the true bearing of the Wormwood Star.
“Not railways, properly speaking, presumptuous youth, but the general tendency of which railways may be considered as the outward expression and symbol. We hurry and push and hustle, for the good of humanity! ‘The world is becoming too noisy, too commercial!’ groans some solitary thinker. ‘Undoubtedly it is, but the noise of wagons bearing bread to starving humanity is of more value than tranquility of soul,’ replies another triumphantly, and passes on with an air of pride. As for me, I don’t believe in these wagons bringing bread to humanity. For, founded on no moral principle, these may well, even in the act of carrying bread to humanity, coldly exclude a considerable portion of humanity from enjoying it; that has been seen more than once.”
—Lebedev, Dostoyevsky's The Idiot
“I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine!”