What is a character sketch of Ivan Vassiliyitch Lomov in Anton Chekhov's play A Marriage Proposal?

In Anton Chekhov's play A Marriage Proposal, Ivan Vasilyevich Lomov is a quarrelsome, self-centered character, constantly worrying about his health and engaging in pointless disputes with his neighbors.

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Ivan Vasilyevich Lomov can be described as a rash, impulsive man prone to get into arguments over the slightest little thing. Without wishing to indulge in a spot of amateur psychology, it does appear that he's more than a tad unbalanced. At the very least, we can say that his behavior towards Natalia is far from being what most people would regard as normal.

As Lomov reveals in his very revealing soliloquy, he's rather a nervous chap. Not only that, but he's beset by all manner of physical ailments. At least that's what he says, anyway. We get the distinct impression that he's actually a hypochondriac.

Even if Lomov really is ill, however, his various maladies would seem to be related to his hair-trigger temper, which more than meets its match in the argumentative nature of Natalya Stepanova, who radically departs from the conventions of the time in yelling at Lomov in a most un-ladylike manner.

Whatever the truth of Lomov's condition, his apparent death by heart attack would seem to be an indication of the effect that his nervousness and inability to control his temper has had upon him. As it turns out, Lomov wasn't dead after all; he was just having a fainting fit.

Even so, our earlier impression appears confirmed: Lomov is profoundly unbalanced. And that impression is only strengthened by his behavior right up to the final curtain, which remains as argumentative, as rancorous, and as unreasonable as ever.

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The predominant characteristics of Ivan Vasilyevich Lomov in Anton Chekhov's one-act farce A Marriage Proposal, are his hypochondria and his propensity for petty quarrels. Much of the humor in the play derives from the fact that his petty, quarrelsome nature is so pronounced that he continually forgets his stated intention of proposing marriage to Natalia. When her father, Chubukov, sends Lomov away after their first dispute, Natalia does not even realize that there was any question of a marriage proposal. This is because Lomov is so self-centered and argumentative that he talked of nothing but his own poor health and a petty dispute over a piece of land.

When Lomov returns to try his proposal again, he immediately gets into another argument, this time about who has the best hunting dog. He becomes so irate over this topic that he collapses and appears to be dead. Even after he is revived, he has to be reminded of his original intention, and it is Chubukov who has to attempt to restore peace between him and Natalia, in which he is only successful for a few moments. Throughout the play, therefore, Lomov appears as a shallow, foolish, egotistical character, constantly thinking of himself and worrying about his health and continually arguing about the most trivial of topics. It is proof of his shallowness that he takes these arguments so seriously.

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Ivan Vassiliyitch Lomov is a prententious, proud, self-serving, argumentative, impetuous, hysterical hypochondriac. A wealthy landowner, he comes to his neighbor with the overt intentions of marriage, but he really wishes to expand his own land boundaries. 

In his farce, Chekhov ridicules the Russian landowners for whom marriage was more a land deal than a love match. Having long been the neighbor of Stepan Stepanovitch Tschubukov, Lomov comes to him in formal attire and speaks with stilted language when his neighbor warmly urges him to sit down, "No, I have no engagement except with you, Stepan Stepanovitch."

After he formally asks Tschubukov for "the hand of your daughter, Natalia Stepanovna," the father is elated and exuberantly goes to call his daughter. As he waits, Tschubukov feels cold and trembles with nervousness. Talking to himself, he enumerates all the physical changes he undergoes--his ears roar as though his blood pressure is rising, he worries about his weak heart, he ponders his ailments that prevent a good night's sleep, he is already thirty-five. Then, when Natalia enters he does greet her in a friendly manner; however, he approaches his proposal of marriage impetuously as the land deal that he considers it, mentioning that his meadows reach to her birchwood trees. This mention, however, sparks a heated argument as Natalia retorts that the meadows belong to her family. Finally, Lomov insults Natalia,

My dear lady, if it weren't that I were suffering from palpitation of the heart and hammering of the arteries in my temples, I would deal with you very differently! [In a loud voice] The meadows belong to me!

Hearing the bickering, Natalia's father rushes in to ameliorate the situation, telling Lomov that the meadows are, in fact, his; however, he, too, becomes disputatious to the point that Lomov staggers out. Tschubukov finally convinces him to return, but Lomov falls into a chair and faints from renewing the argument with Natalia. Complaining of his heart and his ailing shoulder, he declares that he is dying, but somehow revives long enough to agree to the marriage.

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