The Bear Questions and Answers
by Anton Chekhov

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What would be a new ending to the play "The Bear"?

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The ending to “The Bear” is pretty funny, but I think the play might be more interesting if Elena spurned Smirnov instead of accepting him, or if they really did duel—instead of kissing.

This comic farce is about a widow who says she loves her dead husband and still refuses to leave the house six months after he died, in deference to his memory.  She admits that he did not treat her well.

Yes, I know it's no secret to you that he was often unfair to me, cruel, and... and even unfaithful, but I shall be true till death, and show him how I can love. There, beyond the grave, he will see me as I was before his death....

In the original ending, Elena breaks this pledge (which was silly to begin with) and falls for Smirnov quite easily.  Smirnov has been hurt by women before, and claims that they are incapable of love.  She disagrees, and they argue.  The argument ends with him challenging her to a duel, even though she is a woman.  He kisses her, and she accepts.

I can see two alternatives to this ending.  First of all, they could actually duel. One might kill the other.  Alternatively, she might slap him or otherwise spurn him, and since he is sensitive beneath his brusque exterior he would probably flee without waiting for his money.

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