The Shot Questions and Answers
by Alexander Pushkin

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Describe the theme of "The Shot" by Alexander Pushkin.

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Felicita Burton eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The primary theme of Alexander Pushkin’s story is the changing importance of honor. In the social world that the characters of “The Shot” inhabit, honor is one of the most important characteristics that a man can have. (Women’s honor, primarily a matter of virtue and sexual purity, is not considered in this story.) Affronts to honor are taken very seriously and must be challenged immediately. Such a challenge is generally resolved through a duel.

Silvio believes in the centrality of honor, perhaps more than other men do. He both issues and readily accepts challenges when his honor is questioned. Pushkin makes the reader wonder, however, to what extent Silvio epitomizes the brave and honorable man. His taking offense at every perceived insult may be an unreasonable attitude or one that made more sense in the past than it does now. The changes in social values are represented by the lost reason for the duel....

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carol-davis eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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