The dominating comic element in this play is the swiftness with which antagonism between Mrs. Popov and Smirnov changes to love. The Bear, shows that the self-dramatizing major characters are both romantic and impulsive, and that their love is credible enough even if the comic circumstances in which they fall in love are not.
Though the play is short, it contains a number of major and minor conflicts. The major one is between Smirnov and Mrs. Popov. Also, it is clear that both major characters bear their own inner conflicts, such as the rage that Mrs. Popov exhibits at the cruelty and infidelity of her dead husband, and the anger that Smirnov bears toward women as a result of the many misfortunes he confesses about love.
There is a minor conflict between Smirnov and his offstage groom Semyon. There is also a conflict over the extent of the loyalty that the living owe to the dead, not to mention the general battle between the sexes out of which Mrs. Popov and Smirnov find love.