- Where did you laugh during The Bear? Analyze those moments and try to determine the causes of your laughter.
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I think for me the funniest moments come as a result of the farce that characterises the relationship between Mrs. Popov and Smirnov. For example, the duel scene is an excellent example of farce and how it operates. Mrs. Popov is full of her emotion and is literally carried away by it, and contemplates duelling Smirnov, even though she has never shot a pistol before in her life. Consider what she says to Smirnov:
But before we start, you'd better show me how it's done. I'm not too familiar with these things. In fact I never gave a pistol a second look.
The way that Smirnov plays along with her absurdities whilst secretly becoming more and more mesmerised by her beauty, whilst she continues to plan on having a duel with him presents the true farcical nature of the play. This is why Smirnov on the one hand shows her how to fire a pistol so that she is able to shoot at him whilst in the next sentence offers an aside that shows how he is enraptured more and more by her character:
You hold it this way. (Aside) My Lord, what eyes she has! They're setting me on fire.
Such farcical situations create the humour in the play, which is further augmented by the way that they suddenly fall into each others' arms at the end of the play. This is farce, or, as Chekov put it, "A Joke in One Act."
I agree with accessteacher. I found it very humorous that the initial reason Smirnov is put off is because of Mrs. Popov's feminism and her typical female behavior. In the end, it is the behaviors typical of a woman, being carried away by emotion, in which Smirnov begins to fall for Popov.
I don't find this a laughing sort of play. I'm amused by the ironic sort of twists it takes. For example, first he's sick, then she's sick, then Luka's sick and each calling to the other for water. It's the satirical irony I find amusing.
I have to admit I loved the play, The Bear. I laughed when Smirnov started grumping around and refusing to leave. I found it funny to see how each was screaming and totally disgusted with the other. This was important, too, because Popova had been so careful in mourning her undeserving dead husband who was such an awful man and spouse—Popova absolutely needed to get a grip and stand up for herself. Perhaps the most entertaining part was when Smirnov challenged Popova to a duel. If that was not funny enough, Popova agreed—splendid stuff! It was even more amusing that in order to carry out their plan, Smirnov had to teach Popova how to fire a pistol!! Satirical it was, but I found it very enjoyable. I had never read the play before, and over the last two weeks I have found it to be a real pleasure.
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