Why does the narrator call the lawyer an "unhappy man" in "The Bet"??
There is an omniscient third-person narrator telling the tale, but he does not call the lawyer an "unhappy man." The narrator, who is telling the story through the banker's point of view, has the banker call the lawyer an unhappy man. The omniscient third-person narrator is quoting the banker. The exact words are as follows.
"Think better of it, young man, while there is still time. To me two million is a trifle, but you are losing three or four of the best years of your life. I say three or four, because you won't stay longer. Don't forget either, you unhappy man, that voluntary confinement is a great deal harder to bear than compulsory. The thought that you have the right to step out in liberty at any moment will poison your whole existence in prison. I am sorry for you."
The story was originally written in Russian, and we are reading one of several English translations of Chekhov's story. The Russian word that is translated here as "unhappy" must have had a slightly different meaning....
(The entire section contains 590 words.)
check Approved by eNotes Editorial