What type of comedy is Anton Chekhov's The Bear considered to be?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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The subtitle of Anton Chekhov's The Bear offers a definitive answer to this question. The subtitle of the play is "Farce in One-Act." In a drama (or play), a farce highlights impossible acts, crude and stereotypical characters, ridiculous exaggerations, and horseplay. The time-line of the play adds to the exaggerated movement of the play given much is "packed" into a short period of time.

The action of the play supports Chekhov's defining of it as a farce given the unlikely events which unfold throughout the play. Elena Popova, due to the death of her husband, refuses to leave her house or see anyone until her own death. Ironically, Elena believes that her own faithfulness to this isolation will make up for her husband's lack of faithfulness. Later, Gregorii Stepanovich shows up, while Elena sobs, and demands that she repay a debt. Eventually, the two agree to a duel and Gregorii falls in love with Elena.

With extremely elevated emotions and exaggerated dialogue, the entire play pokes fun at gender roles, love, and "war."

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