In "The Bet," the banker believes “on my part it was the caprice of a pampered man" that he took the bet with the lawyer. Why does he think so at the end of the fifteen years? What do you think...

In "The Bet," the banker believes “on my part it was the caprice of a pampered man" that he took the bet with the lawyer. Why does he think so at the end of the fifteen years? What do you think this reveals about Chekhov's view of life?

Expert Answers
Vikash Lata eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The impending danger of getting bankrupt by losing two million rubles to the lawyer makes the banker curse himself for his present predicament. The story begins in retrospection when the banker recalls how he got into this big trouble.

Contrary to his expectation, the lawyer has been able to stay in solitary confinement for fifteen years. Now, it’s only one night to go and he will have to part with his two million rubles.

For the banker had "millions beyond his reckoning," he had never valued money. In the past fifteen years, "desperate gambling on the Stock Exchange, wild speculation" and self-indulgence have "led to the decline of his fortune and the proud, fearless, self-confident millionaire had become a banker of middling rank, trembling at every rise and fall in his investments."

If he loses his two millions to the lawyer, he would be deprived of the "last penny" he has got. 

Finding himself trapped and helpless, the banker has nobody else to accuse but himself. He laments the moment when he had staked his millions for a "nonsensical and meaningless" bet.

Now, when he has to part with his millions of rubles, he realizes that it was solely “the caprice of a pampered man” that has put him into such a difficult situation. He realizes the futility of the bet, which has brought him no good.

He laments his decision for he fears he'll "be utterly ruined."

Chekov might be suggesting to his readers that quite often we act or make decisions impulsively, without considering the outcome of such actions. Acting this way often gets us into big trouble. We ought to be doing things in a careful and thoughtful manner.

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The Bet

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