I found The Bear by Anton Chekov to be oddly entertaining; it had an almost realistic humor about them. The way the Mrs. Poppv pawned over her husband’s death even though he had cheated on her numerous of times were hilarious to me because I’ve known people like that who would stay with someone just to keep face for society. They would suffer and pretend to be happy just to say they have a husband. There was a lot of bizarre situation in this play that was unconventional to what I was use to.
The unreasonable actions and behaviors of the characters is what were entertaining about it. In the opening scene Mrs. Poppv wants to “share death”. She talks as if her life is over now that her husband is gone. You would expect that they had a good marriage but you come to learn that her husband was terrible and cheated on her daily. This makes her commitment to him comical. The way Smirnov barges into her house raving and ranting about his other debtors as though that should affect the way he handles the debt with her.
Everything was really over aggravated when the tax collector got angry he was really angry, when the widowers was depressed she was really depressed. For example the tax collector was so angry he broke the furniture the widower was so depressed she locked herself in her house. Both of the Mrs. Poppv and Smirnov do a great job at listening and looking with each other. At one point in the play Smirnov got really angry and knocked down a glass which by his reaction I do not think was suppose to happen but Mrs. Poppv was able to use that and make it seem as though it was a part of the play.
I felt like the over exaggeration is what made the play funnier because it was ridiculous how sad she was after her husband had been dead for so long “we understand your life sucks but get up and do something about it”. The tax collector was so fed up with life that he was ready to end his life because all of his debtors would not pay up and then he runs into this widow to whom which he loathes at first. What makes their interaction funny is the fact that both of them end up doing the opposite if what they think they want.
The tax collector talks about how he is done with love because he’s been the fool and ended up getting short changed. He talks about how he won’t be blinded because she is an attractive woman and how he was going to collect his debt at all cost. This really annoys Smirnov and he says, “Madam, you have buried yourself within the four walls of your house; but you haven’t forgotten to powder your face yet. ” Smirnov behaves awkwardly and rudely and says, “You cannot get round me with your dimpled cheeks and weeds.
I have refused twelve women and nine have refused me. I have fought duels three times on account of women. ” He calls all women insincere, selfish, faithless, and trivial to the marrow of their backbone. In the end he ends up falling in love with her and not collecting his debt. The widower says how she will stay committed to her late husband despite the fact that he was unfaithful to her throughout their marriage. She vows that she will never leave the house and she won’t even have contact with anyone besides the maid.
In the end she ends up giving in to the tax collector and leaving the house with him. The maid was my favorite with her subliminal hints of humor like how she made fun of the widow’s idea of locking herself in the house but the widow did not know she was making fun of her and the way she praying when the widow and the tax collector were arguing. Whenever she left the stage I was always waiting for her to come back just to see what she would do next. She was able to get her point across in a short amount of time.
She changed tactics at a drop of a dime for example when Mrs. Poppv asked her to get rid of Smirnov her first reaction was shock, then fear, the great fear. You were able to see these changes by the way she used her body and by the way her tone of voice changed when talking to Smirnov. Chekhov as a writer loves to play on real life emotions and demonstrate the complexity of the human race. In the Bear Chekhov demonstrates “how close (at times) is the relationship between anger and passion, and how strange and wonderful is the human condition. The fact that he named the play The Bear is a play on the aggressive emotion of the male main character and how his action can be related to that of a bear. Chekhov’s writing style was influenced by his other profession as a doctor and he often used his real life experiences as central them to his plays. The fact that The Bear was a one act play is remarkable to me because he is able to fit such complex emotion in to a short period of time; I also credit the actors and actresses for being able to portray this in a short time too.