Exploring Chance In Pushkins the Queen of Spades Essay

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Exploring Chance In Pushkin's the Queen of Spades

It is said in The Bible that God has given Man 'free will.' Unfortunately for Man, The Bible does not entail exactly what 'free will' is. Some speculate that there is a force called Chance. These people believe that through a serious of coincidence, luck, and their own choices, they can control their future. Others believe in a force known as Fate. With this line of thinking, everything has a goal, and those goals will be met eventually. This gives the believer a sense of inevitability and they tend to be more laid back due to the philosophy of least resistance. Least resistance is the idea of 'it's going to happen anyway, so there?'s no real point in pushing back.' In Pushkin's 'Queen of Spades', chance and fate seem to endlessly intertwine themselves to the point where there appears to be a third force somewhat dictating their actions. In some instances, the lives of the characters seem to be going in a set path (Fate). At other instances, it appears as if had this not just happened to happen at this point in time, this person's life wouldn't have been affected in this way (Chance). Are Fate and Chance separate forces, or puppets on the strings of another power' Chances are, they're one in the same.

     The play opens with a man, Tomsky, who ?just so happens? to be telling the story of his grandmother and how she ?fatefully? came upon the secret to wealth. First, looking at it from the chance perspective, had this not happened, life would have been altered for many people. Countess Anna Fedrova, Countess A-----, is the person who puts the order of chance happenings in motion. Had she not been born, had she been ?damaged? in some way earlier in life, had she not married the man she did, and many other ?what ifs" and ?if onlys" could have stopped the series of events from occurring. But, ?by chance?, all of these things did happen. ?By chance?, a man who would be interested in learning the secret of the three winning cards was listening to Tomsky. Again, had his life not gone the way it had, he might not have been around Tomsky in the first place. ?By chance?, he was. The pattern of ?by chance? is set up early in the story. The entire story was written ?by chance?, which makes an interesting parallel to real life. Had Pushkin not been born, we would not have the story, and so forth.

     Or was i...

... middle of paper ...

...ploring the theme of chance, one realizes that chance is simply a game of perspectives. Random to one was planned by another. Was everything put together as a plan to make Hermann go insane one day?
          ?At that moment it seemed to him that the queen of spades
smiled ironically and winked her eye at him. He was struck
by her remarkable resemblance.
          ?The old Countess!? he exclaimed, seized with terror.??
                                   (Pushkin, pp. 23)
Or did it simply just happen to turn out that way?
          ?Hermann went out of his mind, and is now confined in room
Number 17 of the Oboukoff Hospital. He never answers any
questions, but he constantly mutters with unusual rapidity:
?Three, seven, ace! Three, seven, queen!?
                                        (Pushkin, pp. 23)
As only God knows why all was created, only Pushkin knows why these events happened in the way they did. It all depends on how you look at it. In hindsight, what was once thought to be fate is simply the pattern of chances strung together.

Works Cited
Pushkin, Alexander. ?Queen of Spades?. Great Russian Short Stories. Ed. Paul Negril. Mineola, NY: Dover, 2003. 1-23.

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