PART A: Which statement best expresses a theme in the story? Pursuing knowledge and self-improvement is the best way to spend your time. The desire to prove to others that you are right can lead to extreme actions. Greed and impulsive decisions can lead to huge consequences.
Anton Chekhov’s short story “The Wager” is essentially about the meaning of life, and that is the main theme of the story. Chekhov examines what that meaning might be, and to do so he also examines other themes such as crime and punishment, freedom and imprisonment, and loneliness and greed.
All the feelings are there – the guy “suffers from loneliness and depression”, you can hear him “crying” and “talking angrily to himself”. But the calm tone just sucks all the adrenaline and excitement out of what could be a very moving narrative.
Terms in this sentence (20)
Greed can corrupt men. Because of a bet, a man decides to commit murder.
The Bet (1889) by Anton Chekhov uses a philosophical argument about exploitation, greed, hubris, fear and failure in a debate about whether a modern society should use the death penalty or life imprisonment as punishment. The death penalty kills a man instantly, but life imprisonment kills him slowly.
One of the conflicts is the bet the lawyer and the banker made to prove that life imprisonment is a better punishment than death. This conflict is an external conflict, man against man. The other conflict in this story is the inner conflict of the lawyer who is in prison for fifteen years.
The climax of the short story or main filming event is when the banker begins to see that the young man would win the bet, so he decides to kill the man, but when he is about to do it, he finds a letter that the young man had written that he would not accept the money that the banker was supposed to give him.
In Chekhov’s short story The Wager, the terms of the wager are that the lawyer will be jailed for fifteen years and the banker “bets two million” (92). While the lawyer is in prison he cannot have human contact, but he can have “everything necessary – books, music, wine -” and anything else he requests (92).
Moved by the lawyer’s letter, the banker kisses the prisoner and goes home feeling bad and crying. Meanwhile, the lawyer sneaks out of the room prematurely. Finally the banker takes the letter refusing this money and hides it in his safe as evidence.
The protagonist in this short story is the banker. A protagonist is a character who initiates the events in the story and the banker is the character who proposes the wager with the lawyer. The antagonist can also be the banker.
What do you think that says about his life? The lawyer accepts the bet so that he is not proven wrong. That says he’s daring. At the beginning of the story they want the fortune and at the end nothing more.