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The Bet

The Bet

by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov

The Bet Analysis

Literary Devices in The Bet

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Setting

Let's play a little mind game. Close your eyes. Can you picture the banker's house? The guesthouse where the lawyer is imprisoned? Anything at all about what the places look or feel or sound like?...

Narrator Point of View

One of the things that makes this story so strange and hard to interpret is that even though there are only two characters, one of them is totally inaccessible to the reader. We spend the whole sto...

Genre

It might be easier to figure out the genre of this thing by first figuring out what genre it isn't. Do we have particularly memorable characters or deeply felt interpersonal relationships? No, not...

Tone

Say you're writing a piece of fiction in which a guy decides to seal himself up in solitary confinement for fifteen years. What's the first thing you imagine you'll need to do? If you're like Shmoo...

Writing Style

The second part of the short story features an attempted murder. The banker, skulking through the shadows, creeps up on the lawyer fully intending to kill him and make it look like an accident. Wha...

What's Up With the Title?

You know what's funny about this short story? Nothing very much at all, actually. Except—and go with us here for second—maybe the title itself has just the teeniest tiniest sliver of humor embe...

What's Up With the Ending?

Even back in his own time everyone pretty much agreed that Chekhov was a super awesome writer. But you know what a lot of his critics got on his case about? The fact that he refused to spell out so...

Tough-o-Meter

We've got simple language, to the point style, and a really direct plot. There's nothing tough about reading this one. That comes later when you try to figure out what it all means.

Plot Analysis

Death or Isolation?The setup is pretty much just the argument at the party—what's better, the death penalty or life imprisonment? There are many ways to think about this, of course, and the guest...

Trivia

Chekhov became a writer to support his family—and his first works were a ton of funny and totally inappropriate stories and jokes for cheap, mass-market magazines. He was not super proud of this...

Steaminess Rating

Are you kidding? It's about a guy who is stuck in solitary confinement for fifteen years. The only even mildly sexual reference is the lawyer's hint that some of the books he's been reading might h...

Allusions

Lord Byron (1.20) Shakespeare (1.20)

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