What is the object of Chekhov's satire in A Marriage Proposal?
In A Marriage Proposal, Chekhov satirizes the courtship rituals of the upper class by emphasizing the land exchange between two wealthy families over love in the proposal scene. Lomov begins his attempt at a proposal by speaking about their families' land ownership:
"You must know, honoured Natalya Stepanovna, that I have long, since my childhood, in fact, had the privilege of knowing your family. My late aunt and her husband, from whom, as you know, I inherited my land, always had the greatest respect for your father and your late mother."
The two then argue extensively over whose family owned a certain plot of land until Lomov leaves without proposing. Their argument further satirizes the rich by characterizing them as extremely neurotic and sensitive, to the point of having heart palpitations and panicking over an argument about land ownership. When Lomov returns, the two argue instead over who owns the superior dog until Lomov faints from the stress. He awakens to Natalya's father urging him to marry, and responds "Eh? What? To whom?" The object of Chekhov's satire is the rich, for both their excessive sensitivity and their entirely loveless rituals of courtship and marriage.