Why is Luka important to the play, and how do his responses highlight the emotions developing between Smirnov and Mrs Popova and the play's comic elements in Chekov's "The Bear?"

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In Anton Chekov's play, "The Bear" (also known as "The Bear: A Joke in One Act), Luka is present to provide a characterization of Popova and to accentuate the comic elements of the play.

At the beginning of the play, Luka is trying his best to get Popova, his mistress (he is a servant), to go outside. She has shut herself inside for seven months in mourning a husband who was a unfaithful, cruel cad ("jerk"). Though Luka implores Popova not to waste her youth on the memory of such a man, Popova refuses to be swayed.

Once Smirnov enters, however, Luka first is running back and forth waiting on their visitor. When he tries to put Smirnov in his place, the "bear" threatens him and Luka backs off. While Smirnov and Popova are fighting Luka keeps up a commentary either by what he says or how he acts which further elucidates the interactions taking place between his mistress and her "guest."

When Popova asks Luka to show Smirnov out, Smirnov threatens him and Luka stumbles, grasping at his chest (

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