Summary, Characters and theme of the play " The Bear" by Anton Chekhov B.A. part one

In this article, I have explained the summary, theme and characters of the play The Bear for the students of Punjab University. This is a very important play that is included in the syllabus of B. A.  of Punjab University. This short but comprehensive summary of the play The Bear.

The Bear summary

 The Bear Play


Comic Element in the Play

"The Bear" is a farce. The humour lies in the conflict character contrast and funny situation of the play. The humour of the play centres around the characters of Popova and Smirnov both are headstrong and obstinate and obdurate. Smirnov is more vigorous and powerful than Popova; He is the main source of laughter and amusement.

His way of talking his use of pointed remarks all excite laughter. What he says is highly enjoyable. His insistence on seeing Popova in spite of all resistance too is highly enjoyable. He has come to see Popova get back his debt. Popova does not pay him. His insistence provokes Popova. Popova leaves the room. Smirnov determines to stay there. The way which he used to create laughter in the play.

His remarks in the play are very humorous. He knows how to hit his opponent with suitable words. He accuses Popova of being and hypocrite in the most bitter language,. He says to Popove you may have been buried alive but you have not forgotten to powder your face these words are inhuman and cruel. Again we see him rebuking Popova I have not the pleasure of being either your husband or your fiance so please does not make scenes. Such remarks create a humorous atmosphere in the play.

Popova also creates humour through his dialogue.. Once she rebukes him in the following words Do you think I am afraid of you because you have large fists and bull's throat?

She calls him bear bourbon and a monster. When Smirnov challenges her over a duel of action on the part of po0pova is no doubt funny and pleasant. Although she does not know how to fire a pistol yet she accepts the challenge we can say that Popova and Smirnov are responsible for the comic element in the play.

2. Character sketch of Smirnov

Smirnov is an interesting and amusing character in the play. His witty and humorous remarks give the play a new freshness and vitality. He is and retired army officer. He has outspoken and frank behaviour.

He is a very powerful and energetic person. He comes to see Popova in spite of all her resistance. He shows a harish attitude with Luka. This obstinacy in his character becomes more pronounced when he decides to stay with Popova until he is paid.

He is a humorous and highly delightful person. He is very skilful in the art of imitating others. He considers her reference to her state of mind absurd and foolish. The reader enjoys it when he says. I slept badly and on top of everything her's a bit of fluff in mourning with a state of mind. These remarks create humour and Popova became furious.

His attitude with Popova is very harsh. He accuses Popova of unfaithfulness. He says that she cannot be forgotten to decorate her face. He tells Popova that she can not deceive him. He boasts before her very proudly Madam in my time I have seen more women than you have seen sparrows.

Again he brags. He says three-time I have fought for women and I have rejected many women and many women have rejected him. This shows that he was romantic and emotional youth in the past. We can say that he is a vigorous and forceful person.

3. Character sketch of Popova

It is very difficult to form a correct estimate of Popova's character at the first reading. When the play opens she is seen to be dressed in mourning at her. She is considered that she will remain in four walls all her life and never met anyone after his husband's death. She has decided never marry to anyone in future. All this suggests that she is very loyal and true to her husband But a deep study of the play shows that things are not what they seem.

One Question for the whole play

 The play " The Bear " is a farce. It is full of absurd situations and remarks. There are three main characters in the play and they all make us laugh with their behaviour and comments. 

Popova is a widow and her husband died seven months ago but she is still in a mourning state. Her servant, Luka advises her to give up mourning. He advises her to see her neighbours but she says that she is still in mourning till her death. Meanwhile, Simernove comes to take 1200 roubles from Popova. Her husband used to buy oats from him.

 Popova tells him that her steward is out and she will pay him after tomorrow. However, insists on taking the money that day. He behaves rudely. He even makes fun of Popva's mourning and her state of mind. Popova also becomes rude. They speak against each other sex and change harsh words with each other. They use insulting words with each other. Simernove thinks that he is insulted. He challenges to fight a duel. 

Popova accepts the challenge and brings her husband's revolver. She does not know how to fire. She asked Simernove to teach her how to fire. The situation changes and Smirnova is impressed by her boldness and beauty. He says that he does not want to fight a duel. He expresses his love for her. He offers her his hand. 

 Popova insists on fighting but then asks him to go. She changes her decision repeatedly and then decides to marry him. When Luka returns with other servents to beat Smirnova, he is surprised to see them touching each other. It is quite right to say that  Smirnova and Popova both have the same qualities of character. We find that both are rude, romantic, quarrelsome, and hot-tempered. Bothe swear not to marry all their lives but they change their decision.

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