Bearly Believable

Cord Blomquist
Pre-Ap English
January 17, 1999

Anton Chekhov\'s The Bear, a widowed woman and a cranky land owner manage to find love amidst their tumult of negative emotions. The theme that love changes all things it touches is demonstrated through the passing of events that lead to this outcome. Dialogue of the characters, the action of the characters, and the characters themselves shape the theme. Unbelievable actions and change in mood on the part of the characters shows that love can sometimes come from an odd turn of events.
Dialogue would have to be the most unbelievable part of this play. As the play progresses the dialogue changes from civil and mannerly, to a very confusing bombardment of yelling and mixed feelings coming from both of the character. In the early part of the play Mrs. Popov speaks to Mr. Smirnov with respect, "You\'ll receive you\'re money the day after tomorrow," she said with a respectful and polite tone. Later Mrs Popov yells in this manner, "go away. . .No, Get out, get out! I hate you! But– don\'t go!" The differences in the dialogue shows how love is having it\'s effect on both Mrs. Popov\'s emotional control in her dialogue and her control of her diction.
Changes in both character\'s behavior are equally disturbing as the dramatic changes is dialogue. Popov\'s primary action in life prior to the story was weeping and mourning over he deceased husband. "Yes, really! Almost a year has passed since you\'ve (Popov) gone out of the house!" was said in the early in the play by Luka. In the opposite tone, "If she fights...I\'ll shoot her like a chicken!" was exclaimed by Mr. Smirnov near the end of the play. Mrs. Popov is now in a gunfight with Mr. Smirnov! These deeds clearly show how love is changing Mrs. Popov\'s Actions.
Character\'s aren\'t the only thing that is used to bring out the theme of change in the play. The structure of the play shows change very well, and not just changes that are temporary. With the odd last line of "Luka, tell them in the stable not to give Toby any oats today," we can see how there is not definite resolution to the play. This lack of resolution leaves us with the character at an excited state, therefore very different to their exposition selves. The structure had to be this way in order for the theme to be more easily discovered. The central idea of change due to love would not have been as effectively presented if the play had ended with Popov and Smirnov alone in a house, she still moping about and him still angry an grumpy when it came to the matter of his debtors. It was necessary to leave the play in a situation where the prior actions and dialogue of the characters were forgotten and all that was left was the new characters that had emerged from the love they had created.
Changes brought about by love were expressed in dialogue, actions, and structure. Although there is a lack of believability that this exact sequence of events would take place the idea is still conveyed. Chekhov shows through humor how something, like love, can veer humans off the coarse they were headed in and put them onto an altogether new one. The Bear is believable and easy to identify because it is based on the reality of human behavior.