What are the themes in "The Bet" by Anton Chekhov? This is a study guide question posted by eNotes Editorial. Please clearly identify at least 3 themes and devote a separate paragraph to a discussion...

What are the themes in "The Bet" by Anton Chekhov? This is a study guide question posted by eNotes Editorial. Please clearly identify at least 3 themes and devote a separate paragraph to a discussion of each one.

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Anton Chekhov's short story "The Bet" is fundamentally about the meaning of life, and this is the main theme of the story. Chekhov explores what that meaning might be, and in order to do so, he also explores other themes, such as crime and punishment, freedom and imprisonment, and loneliness and greed.

Crime and Punishment

The story begins with a group of people at a party discussing the death penalty and whether it is a punishment which is "immoral, and unsuitable for Christian States." Some of the guests say, however, that the death penalty is "more moral and more inhumane than imprisonment for life." This discussion thus leads naturally enough to thoughts about the meaning of life, with the main question being whether a life has any meaning without freedom.

Freedom and Imprisonment

Early in the story a bet is struck between a banker and a young man. The former bets the latter that he will not be able to survive fifteen years in solitary confinement. The condition that the confinement...

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