Is the following true regarding Chekhov's "The Bet"?Although the jurist (lawyer) is disenchanted with the greed and lack of compassion most men have, the banker is decidedly better off as he has...

Is the following true regarding Chekhov's "The Bet"?

Although the jurist (lawyer) is disenchanted with the greed and lack of compassion most men have, the banker is decidedly better off as he has learned his lesson and knows that he is a better man for it.

Expert Answers
scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The answer to your question depends upon your own view of humanity.  If you are a cynic, then you would argue that the jurist (lawyer) is better off at the end of "The Bet" because he knows what reality is--for the cynic it is a world filled with selfishness.  A cynic would believe that it is better to know the truth about the world than to be bamboozled by false reality.

In contrast, if you maintain an optimistic worldview, then you would view the banker as being better off.  Not only is he prevented from committing a heinous act (killing the lawyer), but he also ends up keeping his money and financial security. I don't think that the banker truly understands the lawyer's reasoning for quitting the bet, but he at least feels remorse what he planned to do.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would say that this statement is pretty much true.

At the end of the story, the jurist is clearly disillusioned.  He thinks the whole world stinks and he wants nothing to do with it.

But the banker has at least learned a lesson.  He has learned that he, himself, was lacking some basic level of morality.  He has been shown this problem and has accepted it.  Now that he has realized that he has this problem, I think he will be a better man.

He is still suspicious (puts the paper in the safe) but he has learned an important lesson about himself.