The Bear by Anton Chekhov Part 1 (Let's Learn Series #26 - English Literature)

in steemiteducation •  4 years ago 

       Hello everyone, it was a rough time to be away from Steemit for 2 weeks! I always wanted to make a post but I was stuck with school stuff and things. Today, I had to stay home instead of attending school. So I finally got some time to make a post. (I'll tell you more things on my today's Ulog)


Since the week before the last, we were doing the drama, 'The Bear' for English Literature. So here I'll be talking about some literary facts and some things I experienced and also my thoughts about it. 

Source

First of all, have you watched or read the drama, 'The Bear' written by Anton Chekhov? If you still haven't you can read the script here. And you can watch the drama here. 

I shouldn't forget to state that it's a great great drama. Even from the superficial meaning, it's a great, funny and a romantic drama. And when we further move to the profound meaning, its greatness, fun and the romanticism doubles. Let's start.

The Bear - Anton Chekhov

The connections and relationships between the characters.

   Popova is a beautiful young widow. 

   Nicolai is her late husband. 

   Luka is a servant in Popova's house. 

   Smirnov is a landowner who had given a loan to Nicolai. 


(I'll just focus on the important points)

 LUKA.
Well, there you are! Nicolai Mihailovitch is dead, well, it's the will of God, and may his soul rest in peace.... You've mourned him—and quite right. But you can't go on weeping and wearing mourning for ever. My old woman died too, when her time came. Well? I grieved over her, I wept for a month, and that's enough for her, but if I've got to weep for a whole age, well, the old woman isn't worth it.  

Here in the last sentences, Luka says that his wife died and he had wept for a month. But if he wept for his lifetime, his late wife isn't worth it. 

Here, humour is aroused with realism. We also get to know that Luka is a practical person. 

 POPOVA.
[With determination] I must ask you never to talk to me about it! You know that when Nicolai Mihailovitch died, life lost all its meaning for me. I vowed never to the end of my days to cease to wear mourning, or to see the light.... You hear? Let his ghost see how well I love him.... Yes, I know it's no secret to you that he was often unfair to me, cruel, and... and even unfaithful, but I shall be true till death, and show him how I can love. There, beyond the grave, he will see me as I was before his death.... 

In these lines, we get to know that Popova's late husband, Nicolai wasn't a sincere, kind and a truthful husband to Popova. Popova was sincere to her husband but Nicolai wasn't sincere to his wife. And still Popova is sincere to her late husband. She was and is a truthful wife to Nicolai no matter how much Nicolai was insincere to his wife. 

 POPOVA.
He was so fond of Toby! He always used to ride on him to the Korchagins and Vlasovs. How well he could ride! What grace there was in his figure when he pulled at the reins with all his strength! Do you remember? Toby, Toby! Tell them to give him an extra feed of oats. 

Here, Popova finds a big connection between Toby, a horse and Nicolai. Since Popova couldn't serve Nicolai anymore, she serves his favorite horse, Toby with oats. These show us how much Popova loves her late husband. 

 POPOVA.
[Looks at the photograph] You will see, Nicolas, how I can love and forgive.... My love will die out with me, only when this poor heart will cease to beat. [Laughs through her tears] And aren't you ashamed? I am a good and virtuous little wife. I've locked myself in, and will be true to you till the grave, and you... aren't you ashamed, you bad child? You deceived me, had rows with me, left me alone for weeks on end.... 

Popova is unable to look away from the photograph, she can't forget her late husband. She's ready to forgive Nicolai for all the bad and insincere things he's done to her. These lines also shows us the love of Popova to her late husband.

 SMIRNOV.
[To LUKA] You fool, you're too fond of talking.... Ass! [Sees POPOVA and speaks with respect] Madam, I have the honour to present myself, I am Grigory Stepanovitch Smirnov, landowner and retired lieutenant of artillery! I am compelled to disturb you on a very pressing affair.
 

Smirnov changes his behaviour suddenly when he sees Popova. That shows us that he's a well mannered, disciplined man who knows how to behave before women. Then he gives a self introduction.

 POPOVA.
[Not giving him her hand] What do you want?
 

Here, Popova doesn't wants to shake hands with Smirnov because she has cut all her connections with men when his husband died. It further shows us how much sincere Popova is to her late husband. 

 POPOVA.
[Sighing, to LUKA] So don't you forget, Luka, to give Toby an extra feed of oats. [Exit LUKA] If Nicolai Mihailovitch died in debt to you, then I shall certainly pay you, but you must excuse me to-day, as I haven't any spare cash. The day after to-morrow my steward will be back from town, and I'll give him instructions to settle your account, but at the moment I cannot do as you wish.... Moreover, it's exactly seven months to-day since the death of my husband, and I'm in a state of mind which absolutely prevents me from giving money matters my attention. 

The love of Popova to his late husband is further highlighted by the repetition of telling Luka to serve Toby who represents Nicolai. In the next sentences, we get to know that Popova is a responsible person. She knows that it's her duty to pay the debt but then she expresses her excuses and ideas that she is unable to pay him in a polite manner. 

 SMIRNOV.
And I'm in a state of mind which, if I don't pay the interest due to-morrow, will force me to make a graceful exit from this life feet first. They'll take my estate!
 

Here Smirnov repeats Popova's words to hurt her. 

From this point on, they are having short conversations; the conversation is becoming impolite little by little. With the exclamation marks (!) and the short lines, the say theri expressions strongly.

SMIRNOV.                                                                                                                                                                        Thank you so much. I'll make a note of it. [Shrugs his shoulders] And then people want me to keep calm! I meet a man on the road, and he asks me "Why are you always so angry, Grigory Stepanovitch?" But how on earth am I not to get angry? I want the money desperately. I rode out yesterday, early in the morning, and called on all my debtors, and not a single one of them paid up! I was just about dead-beat after it all, slept, goodness knows where, in some inn, kept by a Jew, with a vodka-barrel by my head. At last I get here, seventy versts from home, and hope to get something, and I am received by you with a "state of mind"! How shouldn't I get angry.

"Thank you so much. I'll make a note of it." Here Smirnov is being sarcastic and ironical. And the rest shows us how much frustrated and disappointed Smirnov is. 

 SMIRNOV.
I didn't come to your steward, but to you! What the devil, excuse my saying so, have I to do with your steward!

The words "excuse my saying so" shows Smirnov's gentleman qualities. 

 SMIRNOV.
Well, there! "A state of mind."... "Husband died seven months ago!" Must I pay the interest, or mustn't I? I ask you: Must I pay, or must I not? Suppose your husband is dead, and you've got a state of mind, and nonsense of that sort.... And your steward's gone away somewhere, devil take him, what do you want me to do? Do you think I can fly away from my creditors in a balloon, or what? Or do you expect me to go and run my head into a brick wall? I go to Grusdev and he isn't at home, Yaroshevitch has hidden himself, I had a violent row with Kuritsin and nearly threw him out of the window, Mazugo has something the matter with his bowels, and this woman has "a state of mind." Not one of the swine wants to pay me! Just because I'm too gentle with them, because I'm a rag, just weak wax in their hands! I'm much too gentle with them! Well, just you wait! You'll find out what I'm like! I shan't let you play about with me, confound it! I shall jolly well stay here until she pays! Brr!... How angry I am to-day, how angry I am! All my inside is quivering with anger, and I can't even breathe.... Foo, my word, I even feel sick! [Yells] Waiter!
 

Smirnov uses rough words as he's used to when he was an army officer. He is unable of controlling his temper. He's a very emotional as well as a determined person. 

 SMIRNOV.
Get me some kvass or water! [Exit LUKA] What a way to reason! A man is in desperate need of his money, and she won't pay it because, you see, she is not disposed to attend to money matters!... That's real silly feminine logic. That's why I never did like, and don't like now, to have to talk to women. I'd rather sit on a barrel of gunpowder than talk to a woman. Brr!... I feel quite chilly—and it's all on account of that little bit of fluff! I can't even see one of these poetic creatures from a distance without breaking out into a cold sweat out of sheer anger. I can't look at them.
 

Smirnov thinks that Popova is lying that she's got no money. Smirnov has associated many women and he knows their behaviour and their nature. 

 SMIRNOV.
Get out! [Exit LUKA] Ill and will see nobody! No, it's all right, you don't see me.... I'm going to stay and will sit here till you give me the money. You can be ill for a week, if you like, and I'll stay here for a week.... If you're ill for a year—I'll stay for a year. I'm going to get my own, my dear! You don't get at me with your widow's weeds and your dimpled cheeks! I know those dimples! [Shouts through the window] Simeon, take them out! We aren't going away at once! I'm staying here! Tell them in the stable to give the horses some oats! You fool, you've let the near horse's leg get tied up in the reins again! [Teasingly] "Never mind...." I'll give it you. "Never mind." [Goes away from the window] Oh, it's bad.... The heat's frightful, nobody pays up. I slept badly, and on top of everything else here's a bit of fluff in mourning with "a state of mind."... My head's aching.... Shall I have some vodka, what? Yes, I think I will. [Yells] Waiter!
 

These lines show the determination of Smirnov. He says that he knows women nature and he can't be fooled by women. Then he's taking the authority of Popova's house to his hands. 


I'll stop here today. I will make the Part 2 soon and post here. Until then, enjoy the drama :D

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The Bear is a good short play and I like your discussion of it in this post! Thanks for talking about this dramatic yet romantic play, dear teacher. :)

Thanks my dear student :D