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                                                     A Brief Discussion of the Play "The Bear" by Anton Chekov

First Impression

The Boor or The Bear is an interesting one–act play. It is a play about the fickleness of feelings and commitment. It tells about how faithful a woman, even her husband had died, she was still faithful, and how irritated she was, after knowing that her husband had betrayed her, but she didn’t change, she still loved her husband very much by imprisoning herself in her house and receiving no one. Her faithful and personality made one man, Mr. Smirnov, finally fell in love with her, even it had been a confrontation, duel, and insulting each other. The main problem is she couldn’t pay her husband debt but Mr. Smirnov wanted her to pay, because he needed the many. This problem seems like a door open Mrs. Popov’s new life after about seven month imprisoning her herself. This play explores the ironies of life. It could happen today to life of any body.

The Fact of the Play

Mrs. Popov was a widow grieving a lot because of her husband death. She had been imprisoning herself for about seven months after her husband death and receiving no one. She had no spirit of life. It was showed from her saying “My life is over. He lies in his grave, and I have buried myself within these four walls. We are both dead.” She had proved her faithful even her husband betrayed her. Mr. Smirnov, proprietor of a country estate, a farmer, came asking for money that her husband had loaned because he had bought oats. Mrs. Popov and Mr. Smirnov had a duel after insulting each other. It seems that they looked like a dog and cat, which couldn’t be together. But, unpredictable Mr. Smirnov said that he loved her.

Exposition and Antecedent action

The story started by appearance of Mrs. Popov and her servant, Luka, it was stated “A well-furnished reception-room in MRS. POPOV'S home. MRS. POPOV is discovered in deep mourning, sitting upon a sofa, gazing steadfastly at a photograph. LUKA is also present.” It showed that Mrs. Popov was grieving. And her servant tried to rise her spirit of life; “It isn't right, ma'am. You're wearing yourself out! The maid and the cook have gone looking for berries; everything that breathes is enjoying life; even the cat knows how to be happy-slips about the courtyard and catches birds--but you hide yourself here in the house as though you were in a cloister. Yes, truly, by actual reckoning you haven't left this house for a whole year.” The next statement of Luka answer the cause of her grieving, “There you are again! It's too awful to listen to, so it is! Nikolai Michailovitch is dead; it was the will of the Lord, and the Lord has given him eternal peace. You have grieved over it and that ought to be enough.”

The Setting

In the beginning of the story the author stated the setting clearly, “A well-furnished reception-room in MRS. POPOV'S home. MRS. POPOV is discovered in deep mourning, sitting upon a sofa, gazing steadfastly at a photograph. LUKA is also present.” Then the entire story set in Mrs. Popov house, in the reception room, in the dining room and at the garden. Setting is much less consequence in this story. The Greek convention of the unities of place and time reduce the significance of setting in Antigone. The action occurred in one place, in Mrs. Popov’s house, within one day.

The plot

            The plot or the structure of action which this one-act play has is closed plot, where in here with its definite resolution of conflict. And the drama seems happy ending.

The story began with a conversation between Mrs. Popov and her servant. This is the exposition. Luka, they talk about her grieving because of her husband death. She had been imprisoning herself since her husband death and receiving no one.

Then she had to meet Mr. Smirnov who asked her to pay her husband loan. This is the complication appeared, she couldn’t pay him because she hadn’t any money in hand. She could pay it the following two days. But Mr. Smirnov couldn’t receive it. He wanted the money directly at that time, because he needed it to pay interest of a bank. But Mrs. Popov had nothing to do. Mr. Smirnov didn’t want to leave; consequently, she started to feel disturbed, while she was in grief and not interesting in talking about money matter. But Mr. Smirnov was mad, he could not receive it that because she was in grief, she didn’t care about this problem, while he needed the money very much to pay interest tomorrow, he was being pursued by the bank. He told her his problems and especially the problem with women and then he stared to throw off on women, he said he said “I am not speaking of present company, but of women in general; from the tiniest to the greatest, they are conceited, hypocritical, chattering, odious, deceitful from top to toe; vain, petty, cruel with a maddening logic ……… have you ever in your life seen a woman who was really true and faithful? Never! Only the old and the deformed are true and faithful. It's easier to find a cat with horns or a white woodcock, than a faithful woman.”

Then the crisis started to appear with a conflict when they were insulting each other. Mrs. Popov could not receive what he talked about women. She told her how she was irritated because her husband had betrayed her, but she still love her husband very much, she could not forget about him and she was still in grief after seven months imprisoning her herself and receive no one, she explain “Men true and faithful! So long as we have gone thus far, I may as well say that of all the men I have known, my husband was the best; I loved him passionately with all my soul, as only a young, sensible woman may love; I gave him my youth, my happiness, my fortune, my life. I worshipped him like a heathen. And what happened? This best of men betrayed me in every possible way. After his death I found his desk filled with love-letters. While he was alive he left me alone for months--it is horrible even to think about it--he made love to other women in my very presence, he wasted my money and made fun of my feelings--and in spite of everything I trusted him and was true to him. And more than that: he is dead and I am still true to him. I have buried myself within these four walls and I shall wear this mourning to my grave.” Mrs. Popov was really mad, many times she wanted him to leave her house, but he would just if she paid him the money. They were insulting each other and starting to use bad language.

Then, this is the crisis, Mrs. Popov and Mr. Smirnov in a duel with guns, pistols. He was surprised he had never met a woman like her. After Mrs. Popov took the pistols she wanted them to move to the garden and have a duel there. But then suddenly he didn’t want to fight. It was because he liked her.

Then the falling action happened with a surprised statement of Mr. Smirnov that he loved her. She couldn’t understand how came, she didn’t believe it after all what had happened; they were confronting, insulting, and even dueling. But he tried to make her sure “I love you as I have never loved before. Twelve women I jilted, nine jilted me, but not one of them all have I loved as I love you. I am conquered, lost; I lie at your feet like a fool and beg for your hand. Shame and disgrace! For five years I haven't been in love; I thanked the Lord for it, and now I am caught, like a carriage tongue in another carriage. I beg for your hand! Yes or no? Will you?--Good!”  Mrs. Popov had a conflict inside she was confused she wanted him to leave but would she let him go.

Finally she couldn’t avoid Mr. Smirnov kiss and the story ended.


HELENA IVANOVNA POPOV, Mrs. Popov, was a grieving widow because of her husband death. She was a faithful woman that even her husband had betrayed her she was still true and faithful. She was a pretty woman as her servant, Luka, said “Oh, my dear, dear ma'am, young and pretty as you are, if you'd only let your spirits live--! Beauty can't last forever. When ten short years are over, you'll be glad enough to go out a bit and meet the officers--and then it'll be too late.”

GRIGORI STEPANOVITCH SMIRNOV, proprietor of a country estate, Mr. Smirnov was a farmer, he stated his self “I'm too tender-hearted with them. But…” and there is some of Mr. Smirnov saying about himself, “Ugh, a fine figure! No use denying that. Dust, dirty boots, unwashed, uncombed, straw on my vest--the lady probably took me for a highwayman.” He was a frank man, even Mrs. Popov considered him as a Boor and vulgar man. But I think Mr. Smirnov was honest and expressive.

LUKA, servant of Mrs. Popov was an obedient man. He was kind and gentle, he suggested the best for Mrs. Popov.

A gardener, a Coachman, and several workmen were as obedient as Luka.

The Brief Summary

Mrs. Popov was a widow grieving a lot because of her husband death. She had been imprisoning herself for about seven months after her husband death and receiving no one. Then suddenly a man, Mr. Smirnov, came asking for money that her husband had loaned and he needed the money very much. But Mrs. Popov couldn’t pay at that day; she could pay the following two days. That made them, Mrs. Popov and Mr. Smirnov, had a confrontation and then insulted each other. Then they changed the conversation about their own problem in their insulting, about a faithful of a man or a woman. They started to be angry then she took guns, pistols, they had a duel. But they didn’t fight, because he told her that he like her. That was hard to believe. And the story ended in contrasting point Mr. Smirnov fell in love with Mrs. Popov.


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