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The Black Monk by Anton Chekhov - Essay Example

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This research paper “The Black Monk by Anton Chekhov” shall seek to locate and analyze the symbols that render the madness of the protagonist, Andrey Kovrin, a form of intellectual and artistic genius in Anton Chekhov’s short story…
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The Black Monk by Anton Chekhov

Download file to see previous pages... This is similar to the views that were held by Chekhov, who believed in the efforts and sufferings that an artist would have to go through to create a piece of art. The strife that would result in the production of the art was of paramount importance to Chekhov and his contemporaries, who sought also to, in their works of fiction, chronicling the efforts of the artist. These efforts of the artist find expression in The Black Monk where the protagonist, Kovrin, is a man who tries to escape from the process that holds out the possibility of a creation of art. This is seen from the description that describes the protagonist right at the beginning of the story, Andrey Vassilitch Kovrin, who held a master’s degree at the University, had exhausted himself and had upset his nerves. He did not send for a doctor, but casually, over a bottle of wine, he spoke to a friend who was a doctor, and the latter advised him to spend the spring and summer in the country. (Chekhov, 331) This description and the plan of the protagonist to retire from the life that may have enabled him to learn and produce works of art also betray the possibility of Kovrin’s life taking a course whereby he would succumb to the lure of a position in the academia. This would again not be very conducive to the production of literature that is socially responsible. The orchards of Yegor too, do not provide him with solace as his artistic sensibilities require to be satisfied even then. This results in a sense of disappointment pervading his visit to the country during the later stages of his stay in the country. The immersion into the perceived joys of a life that is pastoral and considered to be idyllic and innocent do not work any wonders for the “nerves” of the protagonist of this story and he is forced to return to an acceptance of his gifts through the apparition of the black monk who may be regarded in this story as being a symbol for the artistic capabilities of a person and the innate talent and genius that a person may possess. It is this aspect of the production of art that Chekhov chooses to focus his short story on. The fame and critical praise that this story has received over the years largely depend on the analysis through this piece of fiction, of the position of the poet and the artist in the society, that Chekhov has been able to effect. This question (that of the position of the artist in a society that is materialistic) is one that has plagued writers and thinkers alike for a very long time; in fact, right from Plato’s time, when he commented on the superfluity of the writer in an idealistic republic. To a certain extent, Chekhov’s project is to answer the questions that are set by Plato in The Republic in the same way that writers like Percy Bysshe Shelley and Sir Philip Sidney have done in the past. They did so through their essays; Chekhov chooses to do so through fiction. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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