What is the exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution of "The Bet"?

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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In Anton Chekhov's "The Bet," the exposition is the first paragraph, a frame, that sets the background for the conflict, which is suggested at the end of the paragraph and introduced in a flashback in the second paragraph. The set up of the conflict is a long one within the flashback that culminates in the young man's voluntary imprisonment on November 14, 1870.

The rising action follows, actually having been initiated in the first paragraph frame, in the section in which the narrator reflects on the banker's memories of the past fifteen years of the young man's imprisonment. The narrative leads to the most intense rising action in Part II when the flashback ends and the narrator tells how the banker went in present time to the lodge to take the young man's life.

A complication arises in the story when the banker reads the young man's letter renouncing the two million--other complicating actions are the banker's loss of money and his fear of being bankrupt if the young man wins the bet. The visit to the lodge is followed by a brief anti-climax in which the suspense is broken by the banker quietly leaving the lodge in tears of reflection.

The climax follows. The climax is the point at which the resolution is determined. The climax of "The Bet" is when the watchmen run in to the banker's house with the news that the young man has escaped "out of the window" and disappeared beyond the garden gate. The climax certainly has an element of irony because the thought arises that he might have escaped "out of the window" fifteen years before.

The falling action occurs in the last two sentences when the banker goes out to check on the escape and claim the letter. The final resolution is that the banker puts the letter in which the young man renounces the two million in a fireproof safe--the banker has technically won the bet, and he will be prepared should the young man ever have a change of heart about the money.

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