How does Chekhov use satire in his play, A Marriage Proposal?

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Chekhov aims directly at the couple in his one-act play "A Marriage Proposal" by putting forward a commonality of the time *(the late 1880's) which was that snobby, rich families would start seeking courtships for their coming of age children to other rich families. The foolishness of the snobbery and excessive poshy attitudes makes the characters quite funny, enter the couple.

During the moment of the declaration of his marriage proposal to Natalya, we see the real weakness of Lomov's character: He is a hypochondriac, he is nervous, anxious, and even gets palpitations that forbade him from proposing properly. Natalya, on the other hand, equally as neurotic as Lomov, and prone to hysterics. Durinf the entire proposal scene they couple was so anal retentive that all they did was argue. They had three major arguments about nonsense, and we find everything in the course of events from fainting, to shaking, to running away, to almost passing out. All in that short time, and for that reason. Once Natalya finds out the purpose of Lomov's visit she nearly dies, screams for her father to bring him back (he had fled the house in a fit) and as he is brought back all starts over again.

This is how something as simple as a proposal, a moment so poignant and romantic, turned into a total disaster.

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