Name of the Student English Name of the Concerned Professor 29 November 2013 The Brute: A Joke in One Act- An Evaluation There is no denying the fact that the one act play The Brute reflects the deep and somewhat weird sense of humour of Anton Chekhov. It goes without saying that the characters in the play are either based on some remnants of the writer’s own observation or are reflective of the way things happened to be in Russia of his times…
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It is a fact that the play The Brute is a farce as it is loaded with multiple farcical situations and comments. The situations contrived by the writer do make the readers laugh. Essentially speaking there are three characters in the plot that give way to funny and ludicrous situations through their actions and comments. For instance at the beginning of the play one sees Luka advising Popova that she should shed her mourning stance and must go out to see her neighbours. However, the way he advises Popova, bringing in examples of midges, cats and spiders do make the readers burst with laughter. It goes without saying that the play owes much of its farcical appeal to the funny and mirthful comments resorted to by the characters. For example when Popova disagrees to pay the money that her husband owed to Smirnov, he blurts out,”I have not the pleasure of being either your husband or your fiance, so please don’t make scenes (Chekhov 730).” This witty and comic dialogue does give way to much fun and laughter. The other thing is that even a cursory perusal of the play justifies its title that is “The Brute”. ...
When Popova tells him that she is in a state of mind, Smirnov not only abjectly ridicules her state of mind, but moves on to callously make fun of her mourning and feigned sorrow. The debauchery and uncouthness of Smirnov reaches its zenith when he challenges Popova to fight a duel. In fact, he is seriously willing to kill a lady, as he says, “I’ll bring her down like a chicken! I’m not a little boy or a sentimental puppy (Chekhov 731).” Actually it is the boorishness of Smirnov combined to Popova’s aversion and contempt that bring in multiple improbable situations in the play. It also needs to be noted that much of the comic element in The Brute originates from the shifting of the issues over which the two characters that is Smirnov and Popova tend to quarrel about. At the start of the play the readers notice that the main element of conflict between them happened to be money. However, as the play progresses the issue of conflict shifts from being money to- insult. Both the characters are convinced about the fact that one has been gravely insulted by the other. Actually, it is this shifting of issues that brings out the similarities in their characters that are quarrelsomeness, romance, rudeness and short temper. It is this conflict between Smirnov and Popova that helps them acknowledge the similarities that they share with each other and eventually shifts their attitude of mutual stubbornness, anger and contempt to a mutually recognized and accepted scope for love and romance. Realistically speaking, the magnitude of dialogue in the play far exceeds the amount of incumbent action, which greatly contributes to the farcical elements and mirth. Eventually both Smirnov and Popova end up understanding each other’s helplessness
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