Anton Chekhov

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Who is Ivan Dmitritch in Chekhov's "The Lottery Ticket"?

Quick answer:

In Chekhov's “The Lottery Ticket,” Ivan Dmitritch is a man whose wife plays the lottery. As he reads out the winning numbers from the newspaper, he and his wife get increasingly excited about what they can do with all the money it seems they're about to win. However, Ivan also worries that his wife might abandon him, and this makes him incredibly angry, which leads to a fight between the two.

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Ivan Dmitritch is a solid, middle-class man married to a solid, middle-class woman. His life doesn't seem to be jam-packed with excitement. In fact, one could say that it is solidly average.

All that changes, however, when Ivan reads out the winning lottery numbers in the newspaper to his wife. Although Ivan thinks that the lottery is a waste of time and money, his wife is an avid player.

For her numbers, she has 9,499 and 26. When Ivan checks the numbers in the newspaper, he sees 9,499 and immediately gets excited. Dropping the paper to the ground, he starts fantasizing about all the wonderful things he and his wife can buy with the money that they're certain they've won.

Before long, however, the dream turns sour as Ivan starts to worry that with all that money, his wife will leave him. For her part, his wife is concerned that Ivan will be after her money. Inevitably, they begin to argue, an unpleasant foretaste of what life would be like if they ever did win the lottery.

As it is, they're spared that terrible prospect as the final two numbers of the winning lottery numbers don't match those on the ticket bought by Ivan's wife. So they didn't win after all. Ivan is so crushed by this terrible disappointment that he resolves to go out into the garden and hang himself from a tree.

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