Describe the characters of Ivan Vassiliyitch Lomov, Natalia Stepanovna, and Stepan Stepanovitch Tschukobov in A Marriage Proposal.

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A Marriage Proposal is a farce that pokes fun of romance and marriage within the upper class as the consideration and pride in property takes precedence over love and marriage with Chekhov's characters. These characters frequently stop listening to each other, often contradict each other, and constantly contradict each other.

  • Ivan Vassiliyitch Lomov 

Tschubukov's neighbor, thirty-five-year-old Lomov decides to formally propose marriage to Natalia Stepanovna, although he has known his neighbor for years. When he formally asks Natalia's father, Stepan Tschubukov, he is hugged by this parent. Nevertheless, he is worried that Natalia will refuse and remains nervous. A hypochondriac, Lomov thinks he is cold, and believes he has a roaring in his ears. Further, he complains of a weak heart, insomnia, strange aches, and other ailments.
When he does speak to Natalia, he does not ask her to marry him; instead, he becomes disputatious soon after bringing up the land between their properties. He and Natalia begin shouting, and Lomov threatens to take the Tschubukovs to court. Complaining of his heart, Lomov collapses. When her father complains about Lomov's audacity to propose marriage, Natalia begs her father to bring him back, so Lomov returns, but begins to argue with Natalia about  their dogs. This prompts more spasms and aches until the father intervenes so that they will marry.

  • Natalia Stepanovna

With her father's saying that "a dealer has come to buy something," Natalia enters the front room to find there Ivan Vassiliyitch Lomov. She greets him affably. However, it is not long before she argues with Lomov about the meadows, not realizing that he has come to propose marriage. Instead, she speaks vehemently of the injustice of his accusations: "Say what you will, I can't bear injustice."
When Lomov tries to smooth over the situation, Natalia argues that he can explain all he wants, but the meadows still belong to her family. And, when the father enters, the argument continues. Natalia is tenacious; she adamantly insists that the meadows are theirs.
After Lomov leaves, Natalia calls him a "good-for-nothing," and her father adds other words such as "Loafer! Scarecrow! Monster!"
However, soon her father reveals to Natalia that Lomov came to offer her a proposal of marriage. She shouts, "Bring him back! Bring him back!" Soon, too, she begins to argue with Lomov about his dogs.

  • Stephan Stepanovitch Tschubukov

Natalia's father, Tschubukov has a little fun with his daughter as he tells her that a dealer has come when Lomov comes to propose. But, when his daughter and Lomov argue, he, too, becomes hysterical, shouting names at Lomov and complaining,

Oh, I know you, you are only waiting to find an excuse to go to the law! You're an intriguer, that what you are! Your whole family were always looking for quarrels. The whole lot!

Then, after his daughter begs him to bring Lomov back, Tschubukov threatens that he will cut his own throat, but he does not. Later, when Lomov collapses, Tschubukov says he should have cut his own throat, after all.