Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 478
The principal characters of Pushkin's "The Shot" are:
The Narrator. A military officer stationed "in the little town of N-----." He has little personal involvement in the main story line, but he meets and interacts with the characters who do carry out the crucial actions.
Silvio. A man whom the narrator meets while at camp; an ex-Hussar who is an expert shot. The interior walls of Silvio's quarters are riddled with bullet holes attesting to his constant practice in pistol shooting. He is the focus of the story; the narrator seems fascinated by him and at first considers him a mystery, a man with an unknown past that the narrator wishes to uncover.
"R." A drunken lieutenant who, in a game of faro, has a dispute with Silvio and hurls a brass candlestick at him. The other officers are astonished that Silvio does not "demand satisfaction" (challenge R to a duel) and allows the man to escape with a very "lame explanation" for his behavior.
The Count. A man who has had a dispute with Silvio some time earlier. When we first learn something about this, we are not yet told who the Count is, except that Silvio has known him earlier, in the army. An incident between them occurred as follows: the two men hated each other, and things came to a head at a ball when Silvio shouted an insulting remark in the Count's ear. The Count slapped his face, and the result was the inevitable duel.
In the duel, the Count is allowed the first shot but misses, with the bullet going through Silvio's cap. Silvio then declines his own shot, unable to kill the man (who is totally calm and indifferent to his fate) in cold blood.
All of this is related by Silvio to the narrator, perhaps as an explanation for why Silvio did...
(The entire section contains 478 words.)
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