Student Question

Who is "The Bear" in Anton Chekov's play?

Expert Answers

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In "The Bear," the character Grigori Stapanovitch Smirnov is the bear.  He is the gentleman who visits Mrs. Popov seeking payment of her husband's debts.

There are different ways to interpret the title.  As a fan of Chekov, it is interesting to look at his work from different perspectives.

The Bear could be a reference to the man who barges in on the grieving widow.

The Bear could be a reference to the situation that Mrs. Popov finds herself in, being responsible for her husband's debts.

The Bear could be Mrs. Popov, who in a surprise move  challenges Mr. Smirnov to a duel.

Or, as is known with this story, Chekov is making a statement about love at first sight, which is what happens between the two main characters.  Love can be The Bear in this story. 

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