The play The Bear by Anton Chekhov is set in the drawing room of Mrs. Popova’s house. Mrs. Popova is lamenting her husband’s death. Luka, her footman, is trying to lift her spirits and is trying to make her understand that it is now time to move on.
Whilst there is no direct indication of Luka’s precise age in the play, there are a few references, which enable the reader to get at least a rough estimation of his age. For example, he states that he himself is also a widower, as his “old woman died too, when her time came.” This indicates that Luka cannot be young, as he has himself been married before. Added to this, the fact that he refers to his late wife as “old” also indicates that she wasn’t young anymore at the time of her death, which means we can assume that he is not young himself anymore, either. In addition, the term “old woman” seems rather cold and harsh. This choice of words therefore implies that their relationship would have been quite a long relationship, where emotion, love and passion had given way to boredom and routine, again implying that Luka is not young anymore.
Furthermore, we can see that his health is not the best anymore, as all the commotion makes Luka collapse into a chair and he “clutches at his heart, ” asking for water, again suggesting old age. One clear indication of the fact that Luka must be an aged character comes from himself when he asks of Smirnov to “have pity on a poor old man.”