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At the end of the play, Mrs. Popov and Smirnov appear to be in love. Considering what...

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arseng | Student, Grade 10 | eNoter

Posted February 8, 2013 at 7:39 AM via web

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At the end of the play, Mrs. Popov and Smirnov appear to be in love. Considering what has happened in the play,The Bear, why is this ridiculous?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 3, 2013 at 5:26 AM (Answer #1)

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Judging from their actions and words, Mrs. Popov and Smirnov are characters of impetuous emotion. When, for example, Mrs. Popov's husband dies, she rashly decides to spend the rest of her life secluded in her home. In an equally rash move, Smirnov declares that if Mrs. Popov will not repay her husband's debt, he will kill himself by sticking his head in a gas oven.  Since they are so quick to react to emotional experiences, it seems that it does not take much for them to change their resolves, either.

With such hypersensitivity, too, it is not unusual that they take another look at each other as does Smirnov in Scene 8 when Mrs. Popov insults him,

SMIRNOV...sorry you were troubled! Now isn't the weather divine today? And that black dress looks,too, too charming! (Bows and scrapes.) 

However, their changes in perspective are especially ridiculous when the reader/audience considers how severely Smirnov insults Mrs. Popov, and how resentful she is of such insults, especially when one considers that Mrs. Popov is disgruntled with her husband who has cheated on her causing Smirnov's disparaging remarks to exacerbate her resentment. Indeed, it seems out of character for Mrs. Popov and Smirnov to fall in love.

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