The Bear by Anton Chekhov
The Bear by Anton Chekhov Review
The Bear by Anton Chekhov. Although The Bear is one of Anton Chekhov’s lesser-known plays, this “Farce in One-Act,” as it is subtitled, is an excellent representative of its genre. This is one of Chekhov’s very short plays, an unquestionable comedy, as opposed to the author’s full length dramas which he considered comedies, but which are certainly of a more serious ilk. Written, published, and performed in 1888, Chekhov’s play reflects on and pokes fun of liberal discourses in mid- to late-nineteenth-century Russia, in particular those concerned with “The Woman Question.” The Bear is engaged in dialogue with Chekhov’s contemporaries and earlier Russian literature on women’s emancipation, such as Ivan Turgenev’s On the Eve (1859) and Nikolai Chernyshevsky’s What Is to Be Done? (1863). The play condenses so much of human nature into this short, comical, bizarre, and ultimately triumphant act. Chekhov demonstrates how close (at times) is the relationship between anger and passion, and how strange and wonderful is the human condition.
A Brief Biography
Anton Chekhov was a Russian playwright and short-story writer, who was famous for his masterful short stories and lyrical dreams. He was born in 1860 in Taganrog, located south in Russia. He’s the third of 6 children.
As Anton Chekhov grew up, he attended secondary school in Taganrog and in 1879 he enrolled in the School of Medicine at the University of Moscow. Six years later, he graduated. While in university, Anton Chekhov unfortunately got tuberculosis. Besides, he had to earn money to pay his way through college and support his family; Chekhov made a living by writing stories, short sketches or jokes to journals or papers. Later, a writer called Dmitry Grigotovich found his talent in writing and helped him improve the quality of his stories. As a result, Chekhov’s reputation began to grow.
In 1890 Chekhov made a trip to the Prison Island of Sakhalin, which is in the Far East. After his return to Russia, Chekhov was devoted to the relief work during the 1892 famine. Then, he bought a small estate at Melikhovo and moved there with his family. While living there, Chekhov created some of his best-known works. In addition to that, he produced two of his major plays, The Sea-Gull and Uncle Vanya. In 1898, the newly formed Moscow Art Theatre successfully put The Sea-Gull on the stage. Thanks to the success, the theatre also began to establish its reputation.
Chekhov is famed as a master of the short story. Although some of his best prose pieces are almost novel length, the stories, as well as his better-known short works, achieve their effect with a minimum of artistic means. All of Chekhov’s best work is an illustration of his dictum or statement: ” Conciseness is the sister of talent.” Chekhov’s plays deal with the passing of the vitality of the Russian gentry.