Anton Chekov’s every play is an intriguing depiction and exploration of human psyche in which he uses his his power of imagination and dramatic skills to enlighten the readers about human behaviors in a comical manner. …
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His fundamental focus is on the common man, their lives and problems and the manner in which they deal with them. A similar situation is also observed in the play “A Marriage Proposal”. As the name suggests the play is about Ivan Vassiliyitch or Lemov proposing Stepan Stepanovitch’s or Tschub’s daughter Natalia Stepnaovna. Although the play is extremely hilarious and chaotic yet it is observed that Chekov uses the comical aspect of the play to reveal varied human behaviors. Moreover this revelation of characters is reiterated by employing two techniques i.e. the character’s self-revelation and the explication of the fellow characters. Hence by using this technique Chekov presents the readers with an in-depth character analysis where the reader is enlightened about an individual’s personal perspective as well as the manner in which the other people perceive him.
Since the commencement of the play Chekov divides the responsibility of each character’s introduction amongst the fellow characters as it is also apparent from the fact that rather than using stage directions or any other technique he utilizes dialogues as a mode for explaining the characters of Lemov and Natalia. Lemov represents a young nervous man who is at a point in life where he badly desires to get settled though he is agitated at broaching the subject with the respective bride’s father Tschub. This hesitation is highly apparent in the lines where he says, “It is not the first time I have had the honor of turning to you for assistance… I beg your pardon I am a bit excited I’ll take a drink of water first” (Chekov 499). These lines depict his restlessness as well as provide the readers with an interesting insight about his character that he is a young man at brink of committing himself in a matrimonial relationship and the whole process of asking for Tschub’s daughter’s hand makes him jittery. Lemov’s dialogues also enlighten the readers about the reasons for marrying Natalia as he says, “I’m cold…the chief thing is to settle matters…I’m thirty-five a critical age you might say…I must live a well regulated life” (Chekov 500). In other words Lemov represents a guy in the prime age of getting married, who has a bad case of nerves about committing himself in a binding relationship. However he is brave enough to be willing to take the plunge because of his stature in life and the requirement of his health i.e. he believes having a wife will cure him from a bad heart. Moreover he is a man who has the habit of either talking in riddles or straying from the actual topic as it is evident from his failed attempts of proposing to Natalia. As time and again he says, “Only listen until I have finished…” (Chekov 502) rather than coming directly to the point he keeps getting in arguments with Natalia because of his lack of being able to steer the conversation in the right direction. Moreover through his assertions the readers realize that he considers himself a self-righteous and a fair man which is again concluded from his assertion, “my lady I have never appropriated other people’s property and I shall permit no one to accuse me of such a thing” (Chekov 503). His indignation further highlights his personality traits to the readers although Natalia believes otherwise. However it cannot be denied that he is a highly principled individual yet he has a kind heart and has the tendency of eventually giving in to an argument. This is apparent from the lines, “it was only principle of the thing the property isn’t worth much to me but the principle is worth a great deal” (Chekov 507). These parallels of opinions about Lemov’s character i.e. his personal opinion about himself and
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