The Brute

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Personality Profile: Mrs. Popov in The Brute by Anton Chekhov In The Brute, Anton Chekhov scripts a relatively short, one-act play which features two prominent and distinct main characters. Chekhov himself was born in 1860 in Russia to a lower-middle class family. At age sixteen, he was literally abandoned by his family, an event which would shape the course of his life and writings in the years to come. Chekhov’s outlandish stories are generally classified as farces, which are defined as light, dramatic works in which highly improbable plot situations, exaggerated characters, and often slapstick elements are used for humorous effect ( The Brute is thus typical of Chekhov’s work. Written in 1888, it was originally…show more content…
Smirnov enters the story, Mrs. Popov portrays herself as an introvert who masks her true feelings. Although Luka’s intentions to change Mrs. Popov’s mind are good, the way she responds to his remarks shows that they have known each other for a long time and simply will brush off whatever comments he makes regarding the subject. It seems as if they have had this conversation before with the same results. Mrs. Popov’s initial state reveals much about her character. Her husband was wealthy enough to allow her to live comfortably after his death. She retained the services of the faithful butler Luka. After her husband’s death, Mrs. Popov has been a woman struggling to determine what she wants in life. She has to convince herself to carry on mourning by continuing to look at her departed husband’s photograph. It can be implied that she has not gotten out much since the death and most likely locked herself inside the house. In a sense, she feels liberated from the control of men, but she knows in order to maintain that freedom she must remain without male intervention. To accomplish this safely, she knows she must not allow herself to be friendly with any male. This is the reason for the attitude she adopts when Mr. Smirnov walks in the room. Mr. Smirnov enters and introduces himself to Luka, who then goes to fetch Mrs. Popov. She refuses to see the guest, stating “I see no one!” (1064). This is a perfect example of Mrs. Popov’s attempt to keep herself isolated

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