How is Tolstoy's influence present in "The Bet?"

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Most, if not all, of Russian writers who come after Tolstoy have some connection to him.  I think that Checkhov in "The Bet" is no exception.  On one level, there is a statement about human limitations present.  The absolute simple perception that human wishes and human beliefs are permanent, without a sense of complexity entering into such articulation, is evident. Both the banker and the lawyer are so convinced of their own authenticity of their beliefs that they are willing to make the silliest of wagers on their own certainties.  In the end, this ends up destroying both men.  Tolstoy's impact on the short story is quite present in that Tolstoy specialized in being able to bring out morals and sense of how human beings make mistakes in order to be better.  This is certainly the case of Chekhov's protagonists.