Anton Chekhov was a Russian playwright and short story producer who is considered one of the greatest writers of short fiction in history. His career as a playwright produced four classics and his best short stories are held in high esteem by writers and critics. Chekhov had at first written stories to earn money but as his artistic ambition grew, he made formal innovation which has influenced the evolution of modern short stories.
In the Bet, Chekhov puts forth a really intriguing argument, whether captivity is worse than death penalty. He portrays this through the characters in his play, during which a banker proposes a lawyer to participate during a bet where he’s asked to spend fifteen years of his life in voluntary confinement with the minimum level of entertainment available at his disposal. The lawyer is embodied as a awfully naive youth who indulges himself during this with no regrets or remorse. Through this Chekhov brings to our attention the foolishness of youth where the lawyer, just to achieve two million dollars gave up fifteen years of his independence. it’s then left to our interpretation on whether the lawyer has changed for the higher or for the more severe as, during those years, the lawyer certainly grows wiser but also cynical and pessimistic. He shows gratitude towards the banker and is thankful to him for the wisdom he gained from the books but he also despises the very wisdom he gained from them. it’s very aptly shown how separation from human society has taken a toll on the lawyers he starts perceiving men with contempt and ridicules their naivety. The story ends with the layer renouncing the 2 million dollars which it seems is meant to point out how the lawyer now doesn’t care about monetary gains like he accustomed. Whether it had been an utter failure or an immeasurable gain on the lawyer’s part is left open-ended.
CHARACTER SKETCH OF THE LAWYER
In the bet initially, the lawyer is introduced by Chekhov as a young man who is tempted by the proposal of two million million dollars and is prepared to sacrifice his independence for it. Later on, because the story progresses, the lawyer is shown to become very wise and idealistic. He values his ideals and morals then again he also gives in to his voices when he starts drinking and smoking constantly. Nevertheless, the lawyer reaches wise words and starts despising human interactions altogether which shows how years of confinement have taken a toll on him. After dwelling within the literary wonders of the banker’s books he involves realize that every one material and earthly possessions area worthless and humans who strive to achieve from them are foolish to try and do so for death which is able to eventually come won’t allow you to leave a trace behind. This shows that the lawyer who was once very daring and greedy for obtaining the money has become very cynical and free from material gains. Lastly, the lawyer is shown renouncing the 2 million dollars and thereby sticking to his moral principle.