What are the rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution of "The Bet"?

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Part 1 of "The Bet" provides the exposition for the story, as it reveals the history of the banker's party, the disagreement between the banker and lawyer, and the titular bet.

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In order to determine the pieces of the story line for any story, you must be able to identify the main conflict.  In this story, the conflict is between the lawyer and the banker.  It is, the bet they make concerning the more humane choice: capital punishment or life imprisonment.  In order to settle the bet, the lawyer agrees to voluntary imprisonment for 15 years.  The questions the reader should be asking are: "Who will win?  Will the lawyer last the full 15 years?  What will happen as a result?"  These questions lead to the understanding of the rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.

The rising action of a story is the events and complications that lead to the climax.  In this story, it is the details of the lawyers imprisonment.  Notice how things start off relatively easy (and in fact, seem positive).  As the story progresses however, the lawyer gets mentally and physically weaker.  This story actually has an anti-climax, which is when the banker (who has lost all of his money in the 15 years) decides he will kill his prisoner in order to avoid serious debt.  The actual climax, however, is when the banker finds the lawyer in his cell with a note before him, announcing his intentions to leave just before his imprisonment is scheduled to end, therefore forfeiting his winning of the bet.

The falling action includes the banker hiding the note in a safe, his hatred of himself, and the empty prison cell the next morning.  The resolution to the actual conflict in this story is somewhat left to the reader.  Who actually won?  It turns out the lawyer lasted the full fifteen years (save 5 minutes), but in the end decides it would have been better to die than to endure it.  The banker is released from the debt he should owe the lawyer, but is left with a sense of guilt, defeat, and self-hatred.  So who really won?

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What is the exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution of "The Bet"?

In Anton Chekhov's "The Bet," the exposition is the first paragraph, a frame, that sets the background for the conflict, which is suggested at the end of the paragraph and introduced in a flashback in the second paragraph. The set up of the conflict is a long one within the flashback that culminates in the young man's voluntary imprisonment on November 14, 1870.

The rising action follows, actually having been initiated in the first paragraph frame, in the section in which the narrator reflects on the banker's memories of the past fifteen years of the young man's imprisonment. The narrative leads to the most intense rising action in Part II when the flashback ends and the narrator tells how the banker went in present time to the lodge to take the young man's life.

A complication arises in the story when the banker reads the young man's letter renouncing the two million--other complicating actions are the banker's loss of money and his fear of being bankrupt if the young man wins the bet. The visit to the lodge is followed by a brief anti-climax in which the suspense is broken by the banker quietly leaving the lodge in tears of reflection.

The climax follows. The climax is the point at which the resolution is determined. The climax of "The Bet" is when the watchmen run in to the banker's house with the news that the young man has escaped "out of the window" and disappeared beyond the garden gate. The climax certainly has an element of irony because the thought arises that he might have escaped "out of the window" fifteen years before.

The falling action occurs in the last two sentences when the banker goes out to check on the escape and claim the letter. The final resolution is that the banker puts the letter in which the young man renounces the two million in a fireproof safe--the banker has technically won the bet, and he will be prepared should the young man ever have a change of heart about the money.

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What is the exposition in "The Bet"?

The exposition is the introduction of background information about the characters, the setting, and anything else we might need to know in order to better understand the story. Often, exposition comes at the beginning of a story, but some stories just drop readers into the middle of the action and lack exposition altogether.

It can be argued that the whole of part 1 of "The Bet" constitutes exposition. In this section, readers meet the "old banker" and learn of the party that took place fifteen years prior to the start of the present action. The narrator introduces the topic of discussion at this party, how the banker and one of his guests, a lawyer, disagreed about the preferability of capital punishment and life imprisonment. The lawyer suggests that both punishments are immoral but that imprisonment for life is still somehow preferable to the death sentence. As a result, the banker bets the lawyer two million rubles that the lawyer would not last five years in solitary confinement, and the lawyer boasts that he could last not only five years but fifteen. And so the bet is made.

In part 1, we also learn how the lawyer has spent his time in imprisonment: what he has read, his hobbies, his requests. All of this information helps to inform the reader of the background of the story so that the banker's fears and the lawyer's ultimate decision can be better understood.

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