The Bet By Anton Chekhov Essay

The Bet By Anton Chekhov Essay

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When going through a traumatic or devastating experience, one has a possibility of experiencing the five stages of grief. They are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. People go through these for a variety of reasons. In “The Bet” by Anton Chekhov, a lawyer is part of a bet in which he must stay without human contact for fifteen years. The lawyer has difficulty coping without human contact. As a result, throughout his fifteen years of isolation, the lawyer goes through the five stages of grief.
When he begins his fifteen year sentence, the lawyer is in denial. He is trying to divert his thinking from the long years he has in front of him. The books he reads are vapid love stories and wild adventure books which distract him with their exaggerated feelings which compensate for the missing feelings of real people. He’s attracted to these books because they do not require complex thought, and there are many strong emotions. As a result, the lawyer is not forced to contemplate his stay and can further ignore his anxiety over his imprisonment. He is also heard playing his piano all day. This lets him forget about, or if that is not possible, express, his loneliness. Chekhov enforces this when he says, “For the first year of his confinement...the prisoner suffered severely from loneliness…” (Chekhov 3). It’s also shown that he craves company and is having trouble coping with the sudden change in the following passage, “He refused wine and tobacco. Wine, he wrote, excites the desires, and desires are the worst foes of the prisoner; and besides, nothing could be more dreary than drinking good wine and seeing no one.” (Chekhov 3) He has the chance to ask for anything, but he doesn’t know how to handle himself without hu...


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...beginning of the story, he says, ‘‘To live anyhow is better than not at all.’’ (Chekhov 1). By the end, he has changed his opinion on life and accepts death as an inevitable truth no more harmful than suffering through life.
Although the lawyer goes through the five stages, grief is not a cookie cutter black and white situation. There are hints of depression in the beginning and anger near the end, but follows the general outline. He does realize that life has no meaning, but this should not be a hinderance on the brief miracle of life and human consciousness. One can either give up because there is no point to life, or see it as an opportunity. The lawyer does not handle it well which is attributed to the stress of solitary confinement. Overall, he grieves over fifteen years but has the chance to be happy afterwards. Perhaps that is the true final stage of grief.

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The Bet By Anton Chekhov Essay

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