Point out the irony in "The Bet" by Anton Chekhov.
The biggest irony in "The Bet" involves with the fact that the lawyer makes a bet whereby he could win a fortune if he can remain in solitary confinement for fifteen years, and then when the fifteen years is almost up he renounces the money because of what he has learned during his confinement. He was enduring his imprisonment for money, and then forfeits the money with only five hours left to go. It would appear that he has gotten something more valuable out of fifteen years of solitude, meditation, writing, and study than two million rubles. He leaves a note for the banker explaining why he is forfeiting the bet at the last moment.
"You have lost your reason and taken the wrong path. You have taken lies for truth, and hideousness for beauty....To prove to you in action how I despise all that you live by, I renounce the two million of which I once dreamed as paradise and which I now despise. To deprive myself of the right to the money I shall go out from here five hours before the time fixed, and so break the compact..."
For many years he studied the works of the world's greatest thinkers, including the teachings of the New Testament. He must have become convinced that money and material things can be a hindrance to spiritual and intellectual growth. In this respect he resembles other famous men besides Jesus. These include Buddha, Mahatma Gandhi, Socrates, and Thoreau, to name only a few.
Another irony is that while the lawyer has been progressing intellectually over the fifteen years, the banker has been deteriorating financially and morally. He is an unhappy man. At one time the two million rubles he was wagering meant little to...
(The entire section contains 610 words.)
check Approved by eNotes Editorial