The Proposal Summary Notes

The Proposal About the Author

Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) was an acclaimed Russian playwright and short story writer, whose works were translated into several languages. His characters include a crosssection of people across gentry and middle class reflecting their attitude, behaviour and social etiquette.

He was a literary realist of precision who presented the secret motives of his characters. It is characteristic of Chekov to weave a simple plot with freedom to the readers to draw their own conclusions. He depicts the trivialities of Russian life of his time devoid of obtrusive literary devices.

The Proposal Summary

‘The Proposal’ is an one-act play written in 1880 by the acclaimed Russian playwright and short story writer Anton Chekhov. The play is a typical example of what is know as ‘Farce’ – A Comic play involving ridiculously improbable situations and events which seem to be absurd to the audience.

The play is set in the country house of a wealthy landlord, Stephen Stepanovitch Chubukov. It involves the humourous and absurd argument between Chubukov, his daughter Natalya and their long time neighbour Ivan Vassilevitch Lomou. The play is an adaptation by Brian Molloy based on the translation by Julius West (1889).

Characters in the Play:

  • Stepan Stepanovitch Chubukov – a wealthy land owner
  • Natalya Stepanovna (Chubukor Daughter) – twenty five years old
  • Ivan Vassilevitch Lomov – a young man and neighbour of Chubukov.

Setting : A drawing room in Chubukov’s house.

The curtains open to the view of Chubukov’s drawing room. A young man of about thirty-five, Lomov enters the drawing room. He is dressed in a jacket-suit and white gloves. Chubukov is exited to see Lomov and welcomes him with a warm handshake. But he is surprised at the young man’s visit. Seeing him in a formal suit he thinks that the young man is on the way to some engagement.

Lomov informs him that he has no other engagement and he had come to meet him. He attempts to give an explanation and tells Chubukov that he is extremely sorry for having troubled him. He admits that it was not the only time he had troubled him for his help. Suddenly he gets excited and nervous and asks Chubukov to give him a glass of water.

Chubukov thinks that Lomov has come to borrow money and decides to decline Lomov’s request for money. Again Lomov hesitantly tries to explain the purpose of his visit. He becomes extremely nervous and starts stammering and stutters to say that only Chubukov could help him although he didn’t deserve it. He also admits that he hadn’t any right to expect his help.

Chubukov expectently and hurriedly urges him to not beat about the bush and come to the point. Lomov takes a deep breath to calm himself and tells him that he has come to ask for the hand of his daughter, Natalya Stepanova, in marriage.

Chubukov is elated yet does not believe his own ears and feels unsure if he had really heard Lomov say so. In his excitement he goes and embraces and kisses Lomov. Chubukov confides Lomov that he had been hoping for this for a long time. He admits that he had always considered Lomov as a son to him.

He tells Lomov that he is behaving like an idiot after hearing the happy news. He calms down and tells Lomov that he will go and call Natalya. Lomov is greatly moved at Chubukov accepting his proposal but is unsure whether Natalya will consent for the match. Chubukov assures him that Natalya will happily accept the proposal. Chubukov exits the drawing-room to call Natalya.

Lomov is alone in the drawing-room. He starts talking to himself aloud. He feels that he is cold and his whole body starts to tremble. He feels the need to steel himself with determination. He tells him¬self that he should not hesitate otherwise he will fail to win the hand of Natalya.

He thinks that if he goes on looking for an ideal wife or for real love, he would never get married. He starts to shiver as he feels cold. He thinks that Natalya is an excellent housekeeper and not at all bad-looking, educated and feels that he doesn’t need any¬thing more from a wife.

His ear starts ringing due to tension in his mind. He is already thirty-five and in any event he should get married at the earliest otherwise he has no chance of getting married. He feels that he ought to lead a quiet and regular life with no upsets. He has a weak-heart and suffers from palpitations. His lips tremble and his right eyebrows start twitching.

He thinks that the worst thing in the way he sleeps or the lack of it. As soon as he hits the pillow to sleep his left side begins to pull and he feels it in his shoulders and his head. He can’t lie down and gets out of bed like a madman and walks about for sometime. But as soon as he lies down again and begins to fall asleep it happens again.

As he is sitting in the drawing-room of Chubukov’s house and worring about his health, Natalya Stepanova walksin. She is surprised to see Lomov because her father had told her that a merchant had come there to collect his goods. However, she greets Lomov and asks about his well-being.

Lomov stands up and bows to her. She begs to be excused for being dressed in an apron. She explains that it was because they had been shelling peas for drying. She asks Lomov to sit down and asks him if he would like to have something to eat. Lomov politely brushes off her offer.

She politely asks him to have a smoke instead. Natalya beings to talk about the weather. She tells Lomov that she is surprised to see him in a formal dress, and says that she is happy that he seems to be looking better. She asks him if was going to a party. Lomov gets excited. He cannot bring himself to explain the purpose of his visit. However he tells her that he will try to make it brief. He begins to speak of their mutual relationship as neighbours. He tells her that since childhood he felt privileged to know their family.

He reveals that even his aunt and uncle, from whom he had inherited the land he now owns, also had great respect for ha father and her late mother. Both their families had been friendly and regarded each other affectionately and in the course of time they had become close neighbours. Moreover both their properties adjoin each his Oxen Medows are adjacent to their Birch woods.

Natalya appears horrified on hearing Lomov say that he owned the Oxen Medows and can’t believe her ears. She asks him if he really owns Oxen Medows. Lomov reconfirms his stand. Natalya bursts out laughing and tells him that he must be joking because Oxen Medows belongs to her family. Lomov protests that it is his. Natalya is unaware of the fact that Oxen bridge belongs to Lomov and asks him how he came to own that piece of land. Lomov explains the Oxen Medows is that tiny patch of land between Chubukov’s birch woods and Burnt Marsh.

Both of them begin to argue endlessly about the ownership of Oxen Medows. Lomov explains that he could prove that Oxen Medows is his because he has the ownership documents of the hand. It was true that Oxen Medows, was once the subject of some dispute, but now everybody knows that they belong to him and tells her that he sees no reason to continue the argument. His aunt’s grandmother had given the free use of Oxen Medows to her father’s grandfather in return for which they had to make bricks for her.

They had used the medows, free of costfor forty years and had got into the habit of regrading the medows as their own property. But the fact was that Lomov’s aunt actually owned the land. Natalya rejects his explanation saying that both her grandfather and great-grandfather believed that their land extended to Brunt Marsh and so Oxen Meadows actually belonged to her family. She tells him that it would be ridiculous to continue the argument. Lomov protests saying that he had the documents to prove that the land belongs to him.

Natalya doesn’t agree and tells him that he must be joking, and she cannot make herself to believe him because her family had that piece of land for nearly three hundred years. Though the land wasn’t really valuable. It was only about twelve acres. However she thinks that Lomov is unfairly claiming that the land belongs to him, and she can-not tolerate such injustice.

Lomov repeatedly tries to convince Natalya to listen to him with patience. But Natalya doesn’t budge and sticks to her claim over the land. Lomov tries to pacify her saying that he didn’t really care about the Meadows but he just acting on principle. He also admits that he is ready to gift the meadows to her. Natalya argues that there is no question of him gifting the land to her because the land actually be-longed to them.

The argument turns into a nasty quarrel between them. She tells him that she had never expected such behaviour of him because they had always thought of him as a good neighbour and friend. She reminds him that in the previous year they had lent him their threshing-machine, even if it meant putting off their own threshing till that November. She accuses him of treating them like gypsies and she considered it as an insult to their family.

Lomov tells her that he doesn’t like to be treated as a land grabber and won’t allow anybody to accuse him of grabbing anybody else’s land. He affirms that Oxen Meadows in his. Natalya threatens him saying that she will send her mowers out to the meadows that every day. Lomov promises to break their necks if they dared to step on his land. They start shouting at each other.

Lomov is extremely excited and clutches his palpitating heart. At that moment Chubukov enters the drawing room. Natalya, urges him to tell Lomov that they ovyn the Oxen Meadows. Chubukov supports his daughters claim. Lomov again tries to explain, but Chubukov impatiently interjects and tells Lomov that he can’t prove anything by shouting at the top of his voice.

He claims that he didn’t want anything that Lomov owns and also didn’t intend to give up anything that belongs to him. He tells Lomov that he would gladly give up the meadows over to the peasants than let Lomov have them.

Lomov rudely argues that Chubukov has no right to give away someone’s else’s land. Chubukov con¬fronts Lomov asking him to be polite while speaking to him. Lomov tells Chubukov that they seem to think that he is a fool and taking undue advantage of him, claiming that they own his land.

He accuses Chubukov of being a land-grabber. Both Chubukov and Natalya don’t back off. Lomov threatens them saying that he will take the matter to court. Chubukov is enraged and insinuates Lomov’s family was famous for taking anybody and everybody to court.

Lomov rebukes Chubukov and warns him to keep his family out of their arguement. Lomov claims that his family had always been honorouble, law abid-ing people unlike Chubukov’s grandfather was was arrested for embezzlemennt. Chubukov ridicules the Lomov’s for being crazy (lu-natics).

He takes a swipe at him saying that Lomov’s grandfather was a drunkard and that his young aunt, Nastasya Mihailovna had eloped with an architect. Not to be beaten, Lomov also jibe’s Chubukov saying that his mother was an hunchback. Chubukov retorts saying that Lomov’s father was a gambler and a cheat. Natalya interjects saying Lomov’s aunt was a gossip and a backbiter.

Lomov gets extremely agitated. He is left foot goes paralyzed. He clutches at his heart. Even in the midst of his painful situation he accuses Chubukov for being a snake and chides him for bribing the voters in the last election. Natalya strikes back at Lomov telling that his behavior is lowly, mean and dishonest. Lomov feels disoriented and staggers to the door. Chubukov follows him ordering him to not set foot in his house again. Natalya challenge’s him to take them to court. Lomov staggers out of their house. Chubukov and Natalya remain in the drawing room.

Chubukov tells Natalya that Lomov was a fool and had the nerve to come to him with a marriage proposel Natalya is surprised to hear that and she chides Chubukov for not telling her the happy news before. Chubukov informs her that in fact Lomov had come dressed in a suit to proposal the marriage. Natalya begins to get hysterical and falls into a chair and starts wailing.

She pleads Chubukov to bring Lomov back immediately. Chubukov real-ized that he had been a fool, having insulted Lomov and throwing him out of their house. He feels embarassed to go and call him back and feels like hanging himself or shooting himself. She blames her father for his inappropriate behaviour. Chubukov runs out and returns back quickly. He tells her that Lomov was coming back.

Lomov comes back. He is in a terrible state. His heart is beating wildly and his foot has gone to sleep and he feels something is pulling at his sides. Natalya beseeches him to forgive them and admits that the Oxen Meadows really belong to him.

She asks Lomov to sit down and suggets they talk about something else. She changes the topic and asks Lomov if he is thinking of hunting that season. Lomov replies that he is thinking of hunting geese after then harvest. He asks her if she knows that his best hunting dog, Guesser, had gone lame.

He thinks that the dog might have twisted its leg or had been bitten by some other dog. He tells her that, Gusser, is his best dog and he had paid not less than 125 roubles to own the dog. He believed that he had got the dog for a very cheap price.

Natalya disagrees with him. She feels that Lomov had been cheated. Lomov says that the deal was a bargain and thinks the dog is of an excellent breed. Natalya proudly tells him that her father had paid only 85 noubles for her dog hamed ‘Messer’ and it was far better than Lomov’s dog.

They again begin an arguement over the superiority of their re-spective dogs. Lomov ridicules Natalya for thinking that Messer was better than Gusser. Natalya argues that her Messer was better because it was young and its pedigree was incomparable to Lomov’s Guesser.

Lomov points out that Natalya should not fail to consider Messer’s overshot Jaw before concluding that her dog was superior because dog’s with overshot Jaws were bad hunters. Natalya does not agree. Lomov explains her that Messer surely was good at chas¬ing the pack but because of his short lower Jaw he would not be able to catch hold of his prey. Natalya is enraged. She argues that her dog was through-bred and ridicules Gusser as a ‘flea beaten old wreck’ with no pedigree.

Lomov admits that his dog is old but he thinks that her day is ‘just a joke of a hound’. They start shouting at each other, heatedly arguing about the merits of their respective dogs. Lomov is again excited and feels palpitation of heart and thinks that his heart is bursting.

At that time, Chubukov again enters the drawing room. Both Natalya and Lomov ask him to tell them whose dog was better in comparison. Chubukov admits that his dog, Messer is overshot but he believes that Messer is the best dog in the district. He also admits that Guesser certainly has his good points, i.e., Guesser is pure-bred, firm on his feet, has well sprung ribs but in truth the dog has two defects, its old and short in the muzzle(mouth).

Lomov begs them to excuse him because he has severe heart murmurs, but continues to argue. He asks them to remember that on the Marusinsky hunting event, his dog, Gusser had run neck-to-neck with the count’s dog, while Chubukov’s dog Messer, lagged behind.

Chubukov explains that his dog lagged behind because the Count had hit him with his whip. Lomov reminds Chubukov that the Count had a good reason to whip Messer because instead of chasing a fox, the dog had started chasing sheep. Chubukov refutes his reasoning and warns him to stop arguning before he loses his temper.

He tells Lomov that he had started the argument because it is natural for anyone to be always Jealous of somebody else’s dogs. He admits that everybody is like that. Lomov again begins to complain about his heart and foot. Natalya teases him to stay at home rather than chase foxes.

Lomov thinks that Chubukov is not fit to be a real hunter. He accuses him of going to hunt with wealthy friends only because he is a sneaky social climber. They begin to call each other names. Chubukov threatens to shoot Lomov like a partridge if he doesn’t stop arguing. Lomov begins to feel faint, he falls into a chair and faints.

Natalya is horrified to see Lomov faint. She thinks he is dead and starts to wail. Chubukov grows apprehensive. He lifts a glass of water to Lomov’s mouth. When Lomov does not respond he thinks that he is dead. He loses his mind for having caused Lomov’s death.

He starts babbling incoherently. He is desperate enough to think of shooting himself to death. Meanwhile, Lomov regains his senses and Chubukov is relieved to see him alive and helps Lomov to a glass of water.

Chubukov hurriedly grabs his hand and puts it into his daughters hand and blesses them. He urges them to get married immediately. Lomov is bewildered. He cannot comprehand what was going on. They kiss each other and call a truce between themselves.

But again they start arguing with each other over the superiority of their dogs. Natalya defends her dog saying that Messer is better than Guesser. But Lomov retorts that her dog is worse. In the middle of their argument, poor Chubukov calls for ‘Champagne’.

The lights go out and the curtains come down indicating the end of the play.

The Proposal Glossary

  • Blabber : chatter
  • Mower : land tool cutter
    Excruciating
  • Palpitation : unbearable heart beat
  • Throbbing : abnormal beating of the heart
  • Rip : tear
  • Yell : shout
  • Sue : take legal action
  • Embezzlement : fraud
  • Wail : cry
  • Stegger : walk uncontrollably
  • Crook : criminal
  • Upstart : insignificant person
  • Hysterics : irrational I uncontrolled behavior
  • Panting : out of breath, breathe with great effort
  • Pedigree : rare breed
  • Flea : bug
  • Obnoxious : hateful
  • Brat : unpleasant child
  • Patridge : a bird

The Proposal Questions And Answers

I. Answer the following questions in one or two sentences :

Question 1.
Why is Lomov formally dressed up?
Answer:
Lomov had planned to propose marriage with Natalya Stepanovna, the daughter of his neighbour, Stepan Stepanovitch Chubukov. So he was formally dressed up for the occassion.

Question 2.
What did Chubukov assume Lomov had come for?
Answer:
Chubukov assumes that Lomov had come to borrow money.

Question 3.
‘spit out’, according to Chubukov, means ___________.
Answer:
to tell him what is in Lomov’s mind without hesitation.

Question 4.
How did Chubukov treat Lomov after he came to know about the purpose of the latter’s visit to his house?
Answer:
Chubukov was overjoyed after he came to know that Lomov had come to his house to purpose marriage with his daughter Natalya. He embraces and kisses Lomov and tells him that he had been hop¬ing for this for a long time and he had always considered him as a son. He gives his blessings to both Lomov and Natalya.

Question 5.
‘Beat around the bush’ means :
a. Going around the bush
b. Evasive way of talking
Answer:
b. Evasive way of talking

Question 6.
Chubukov is confident of his daughter agreeing to the marriage proposal. True / false
Answer:
True.

Question 7.
‘there’s a merchant come by to collect his goods’. Who is the merchant? Why is he referred to like that?
Answer:
Here merchant refers to Lomov, because he has come to ask for the hand of Natalya and proposes to marry her.

Question 8.
What was the subject of conflict before Lomov proposed to Natalya?
Answer:
The subject of conflict was a piece of land about 12 acres called Oxen Meddows. Both Lomov and the Chubukov’s claim that they own the land. Each try to disprove the other about the owners lip of the land.

Question 9.
How did Natalya react after she found out that Lomov had come to propose to her?
Answer:
Natalya is rather astonished when she hears from Chubukov that Lomov had come to propose to her. She feels embarassed and falls into a chair and starts wailing. She grows hysterical and asks her father to bring him back immediately . She threatens to die if Lomov is not brought back immediately.

Question 10.
“Oh, what a burden, Lord, to be the father of a grown-up daughter!” What does it convey about Chubukov as the father?
Answer:
Chubukov had a nasty argumnt with Lomov over the ownership of a piece of land, Oxen Meadows. In his anger he had thrown out Lomov out of his house and threatened him not to step into his house ever again. But when Natalya, comes to know that Lomov had actu-ally come to their house to propose to her. She gets hysterical and asks her father to bring him back immediately. Hence Chubukov thinks aloud that it is a burden to be the father of a grown up daughter.

Question 11.
When does Natalya concur with Lomov’s ownership of Oxen meadows?
Answer:
Natalya concures with Lomov’s ownership of Oxen Meadows only when she comes to know that Lomov had actually come to propose her.

II. Answer the following questions in 80-100 words:

Question 1.
Explain how the land ownership dispute overshadowed the marriage proposal?
Answer:
Stepan Chubukov and Ivan Lomov are neighbouring land-own-ers. Chubukov has a twenty-five year old unmarried daughter. Lomov is thirty-five years old and thinks that it is high time to get married and goes to Chubukov’s house to propose his daughter Natalya. When Chubukov is overjoyed when Lomov tells him that he has come to propose his daughters hand in marriage.

He quickly goes to calls his daughter. Natalya is surprised to see Lomov. Seeing him dressed formally she asks him if was on his way to a party. Lomov feels excited. He cannot bring himself to explain the purpose of his visit. He begins to speak of their mutual relationship as neighbours and now in the course of time they had become close neighbours.

He tells her that both their properties adjoin each other-his Oxen Mead¬ows are adjacent to their Birch woods. Natalya is horrified to hear Lomov say that he owned Oxen Meadows. Lomov confirms his stand. Natalya bursts out laughing telling him that he must be joking because Oxen Meadows belonged to her family and they had it for more than three centuries.

Both of them begin a heated argument which goes on endlessly and later Chubukov also joins in against Lomov. They all forget Lomov’s real purpose of his visit. Lomov gets extremely a gititated and feels disoriented and staggers out of their house without reaveling the real purpose of his visit of Natalya.

Question 2.
What are Lomov’s inabilities that force him to think of marrying Natalya?
Answer:
Lomov feels that he had taken a long time to look for an ideal wife, or real love. He feels that he lacks determination. He believes that he needs to marry at the earliest because he is already past 35 years in age. He feels that he had to settle down and lead a regular life with no upsets. And moreover he is not as healthy as one thinks him to be.

Question 3.
Write short notes on how Lomov and Ntalya trade charges against each other the ownership of meadows.
Answer:
Natalya appears horrified on hearing Lomov say that he owned the Oxen Meadows and can’t believe her ears. She asks him if he really owns Oxen Meadows. Lomov reconfirms his stand. Natalya bursts out laughing and tells him that he must be joking because Oxen Meadows belongs to her family. Lomov protests that it is his. Natalya is unaware of the fact that Oxen bridge belongs to Lomov and asks him how he came to own that piece of land.

Lomov explains the Oxen Medows is that tiny patch of land between Chubukov’s birch woods and Burnt Marsh. Both of them begin to argue endlessly about the ownership of Oxen Medows. Lomov ex-plains that he could prove that Oxen Meadows is his because he has the ownership documents of the land.

It was true that Oxen Meadows, was once the subject of some dispute, but now everybody knows that they belong to him and tells her that he sees no reason to continue the argument. His aunt’s grandmother had given free use of Oxen Medows to her father’s grandfather in return for which they had to make bricks for her. They had used the Meadows, free of costfor forty years and had got into the habit of regrading the Meadows as their own property.

But the fact was that Lomov’s aunt ac¬tually owned the land. Natalya rejects his explanation saying that both her grandfather and great-grandfather believed that their land extended to Brunt Marsh and so Oxen Meadows actually belonged to her family. She tells him that it would be ridiculous to continue the argument. Lomov protests saying that he had the documents to prove that the land belongs to him.

Natalya doesn’t agree and tells him that he must be joking, and she cannot make herself to believe him because her family had that piece of land for nearly three hundred years though the land wasn’t really valuable. It was only about twelve acres. However she thinks that Lomov is unfairly claiming that the land belongs to him, and she cannot tolerate such injustice.

Lomov repeatedly tries to convince Natalya to listen to him with patience. But Natalya doesn’t budge and sticks to her claim over the land. Lomov tries to pacify her saying that he didn’t really care about the Meadows but he just acting on principle. He also admits that he is ready to gift the Meadows to her. Natalya argues that there is no question of him gifting the land to her because the land actually belonged to them.

The argument turns into a nasty quarrel between them. She tells him that she had never expected such behaviour of him because they had always thought of him as a good neighbour and friend. She reminds him that in the previous year they had lent him their threshing-machine, even if it meant putting off their own threshing till that November. She accuses him of treating them like gypsies and she considered it as an insult to their family.

Lomov tells her that he doesn’t like to be treated as a land grabber and won’t allow anybody to accuse him of grabbing anybody else’s land. He reaffirms that Oxen Meadows in his. Natalya threatens him saying that she will send her mowers out to the Meadows that very day. Lomov promises to break their necks if they dared to step on his land. They start shouting at each other.

Question 4.
How do Lomov and Chubukov target each other’s family members?
Answer:
While Lomov and Natalya are having a heated argument about the ownership of Oxen Meadows, Chubukov comes to the drawing room.
Natalya, urges him to tell Lomov that they own the Oxen Meadows. Chubukov supports his daughters claim. Lomov again tries to explain, but Chubukov impatiently interjects and tells Lomov that he can’t prove anything by shouting at the top of his voice.

He claims that he didn’t want anything that Lomov owns and also didn’t intend to give up anything that belongs to him. He tells Lomov that he would gladly give up the Meadows over to the peasants than let Lomov,have it. Lomov rudely argues that Chubukov has no right to give away someone else’s land. Chubukov confronts Lomov asking him to be polite while speaking to him.

Lomov tells Chubukov that they seem to think that he is a fool and taking undue advantage of him, claiming that they own his land. He accuses Chubukov of being a land-grabber. Both Chubukov and Natalya don’t back off. Lomov threatens them saying that he will take the matter to court. Chubukov is enraged and insinuates Lomov’s family was famous for taking anybody and everybody to court.

Lomov rebukes Chubukov and warns him to keep his family out of their argument. Lomov claims that his family had always been honorouble, law abiding people unlike Chubukov’s grandfather was arrested for embezzlement.

Chubukov ridicules the Lomov’s for being crazy (lunatics). He takes a swipe at him saying that Lomov’s grandfather was a drunkard and that his young aunt, Nastasya Mihailovna had eloped with an architect. Not to be beaten, Lomov also jibe’s Chubukov saying that his mother was a hunchback. Chubukov retorts saying that Lomov’s father was a gambler and a cheat. Natalya interjects saying Lomov’s aunt was a gossip and a backbiter.

Question 5.
Explain the argument of Lomov and Natalya over the superiority of their dogs Messer and Guesser.
Answer:
An heated argument over the ownership of the Oxen Meadows leads Lomov and Chubukov to target each other’s family members. Chubukov is enraged and asks Lomov to leave and never step into his house again. Lomov is disoriented and staggers out of the door. After Lomov leaves Chubukov tells Natalya the Lomov had proposed to marry her. Natalya is surprised to hear that and she chides Chubukov for not telling her the happy news before. She pleads Chubukov to bring back Lomov immediately. Chubukov goes and brings Lomov back to their house.

Natalya beseeches him to forgive them and admits that the Oxen Meadows really belong to him She asks Lomov to sit down and suggests they talk about something else. She changes the topic and asks Lomov if he is thinking of hunting that season.

Lomov replies that he is thinking of running geese after the harvest. He asks her if she knows that his best hunting dog, Guesser, had gone lame. He thinks that either the dog might have twisted its leg or had been bitten by some other dog. He tells her that, Guesser, is his best dog and he had paid not less than 125 Roubles to own the dog.

He believed that he had got the dog for a very cheap price. Natalya disagrees with him. She feels that Lomov had been cheated. Lomov says that the deal was a bargain and thinks the dog is of an excellent breed. Natalya proudly tells him that her father had paid only 85 roubles for her dog named ‘Messer’ and it was far better than Lomov’s dog.

They again begin an argument over the superiority of their respective dogs. Lomov ridicules Natalya for thinking that Messer was better than Guesser. Natalya argues that her Messer was better because it was young and its pedigree was incomparable to Lomov’s Guesser. Lomov points out that Natalya should not fail to consider Messer’s over shot jaw before concluding that her dog was superior because dog’s with over shot jaws were bad hunters. Natalya does not agree. Lomov explains her that Messer surely was good at chasing the pack but because of his short lower jaw he would not be able to catch hold of his prey. Natalya is enraged. She argues that her dog was through-bred and ridicules Guesser as a ‘flea beaten old wreck’ with no pedigree.

Lomov admits that his dog is old but he thinks that her dog is ‘just a joke of a hound’. They start shouting at each other, heatedly arguing about the merits of their respective dogs. Lomov is again excited and feels palpitation of heart and thinks that his heart is bursting.

At that time, Chubukov again enters the drawing room. Both Natalya and Lomov ask him to tell them whose dog was better in comparison. Chubukov admits that his dog, Messer is overshot but he believes that Messer is the best dog in the district. He also admits that Guesser certainly has his good points, i.e., Guesser is pure-bred, firm on his feet, has well sprung ribs but in truth the dog has two defects, it’s old and short in the muzzle (mouth).

Lomov begs them to excuse him because he has severe heart murmurs, but continues to argue. He asks them to remember that on the Count Marusinsky hunting event, his dog, Gusser had run neck- to-neck with the count’s dog, while Chubukov’s dog Messer, lagged behind. Chubukov explains that his dog lagged behind because the Count had hit him with his whip.

Lomov reminds Chubukov that the count had a good reason to whip Messer because instead of chasing a fox, the dog had started chasing sheep. Chubukov refutes his reasoning and warns him to stop arguing before he loses his temper. He tells Lomov that he had started the argument because it is natural for anyone to be always jealous of somebody else’s dogs. He admits that everybody is like that. Lomov again begins to complain about his heart and foot.

Question 6.
Is Netalya right when she says that she does not like people who refuse to face facts ? Substantiate.
Answer:
No, Natalya is wrong when she says that she does not like people who refuse to face facts. Firstly, she refuses to agree to Lomov’s claim that Oxen Meadows belongs to him. She is adamant and refuses to acknowledge Lomov’s claim over Oxen Meadows even when he tells that he has got documents to prove it. She unfairly argues that the land is with they family for more than three centuries.

Later when the heatedly argue about the superiority of their respective dogs, Natalya again refuses to consider that Lomov’s dog, Gusser is more superior than her dog, Messer. Even her father Chubukov agrees that Gusser is pure-bred, firm on his feet, has well- sprung ribs but he has only two defects: he’s old and bit short in the muzzle.
Natalya could have agreed that both their dogs were good hunting dogs but she is concited enough to hold to her arguement that her dog is better than Lomov’s and she still has the nerve to say that she does not like people who refuse to face facts.

III. Answer the following questions in 200-250 words :

Question 1.
Lomov is tense to talk about marriage but confronts Stepanovna on property ownership. Comment on the paradoxes of Russian society as brought out in the play.
Answer:
‘The Proposal’ is an one act play, by the Russian dramatist Anton Chekhov. The play throws light on the lifestyle of the 19th centuary Russian landed gentry. These landlords lend a laid back life while the peasants toil on their lands to make them wealthy. They were full of vanity and pride.

In the play, Stepen Chubukov was a wealthy landlord who owned hundreds of acres of land. He led a life of ease and comfort. He had a daughter, Natalya, was unmarried even at the age of twenty-five. Being a rich landlord, Chubukov acted lazy and had made no serious efforts to find an ideal groom for Natalya.

Lomov, is his neighbour. He has inherited a piece of land of about 12 acres, The Oxen Meadows, from his aunt. The Oxen Meadows his wedged between the properties of Chubukov. Lomov is a man of poor health. He suffers from pulpitations of the heart, wherever he is excited. He finds it difficult to sleep at night because he experience a pain in the sides during the night. He is of thirty five years of age and still unmarried.

One day he dresses up in a formal suit and goes to Chubukov’s house to seek the hands of his daughter Natalya, as his bride. Chubukov thinks that Lomov has come to borrow money and makes up his mind to not lend him any money. But he greets him warmly. When he comes to know that Lomov has come to propose his daughter, he is overjoyed and embraces him.

He assures Lomov that Natalya would surely welcome the Proposal. He goes to inform Natalya. But he tells her that ‘some merchant has come to claim his gnods’. It is rather absurd and lowly for a father to consider his daughter as ‘goods’ and the potential groom as a ‘Merchant’. It can be understood that even the rich landlords of the 19th centuary. considered their daughters as ‘goods’ who can be bought or sold.

Lomov feels that it is high time he gets married because he is already over 35 years of age. He believes that if he takes time to took for an ideal wife, or for real love, then he will never ever get married. He feels that he ought to lead a quiet and regular life with no upsets. He thinks the Natalya would make an ideal wife as she is an excellent house keeper and also educated.

Natalya is genuinly pleased to see Lomov. Lomov hesitates to tell her the real purpose of his visit. He beats about the bush, telling her that the Lomovs and Chubukov’s has become close neighbours over the time. He tells that he felt privileged to know Chubukov family. He reveals that he had inherited the Oxen Meadows, a piece of land wedged between the vast lands of the Chubukov from his late aunt.

Natalya refutes his claim over Oxen Meadows and claims that Oxen Meadows were with her family for over three hundred centuries. Again Lomov claims that Oxen Meadows is his and he has documents to prove it. They go on arguing heatedly over the ownership of Oxen Meadows, while the ‘Proposal’ is forgotten. Chubukov also joins in affirming the claim of their family over Oxen Meadows. Both Lomov and the Chubukov’s drag their family into the fight and start calling names and Lamish each other’s ancestors.

The Chubukov’s and Lomov behave meanly with each other. They forget that Lomov had come to Propose Natalya. Chubukov angrily throws out Lomov warning him never to step in his house ever again. But when Natalya comes to know that Lomov had actually come to Propose her, she grows hysterical and beeseeches her father to bring back Lomov immediately, Chubukov thinks that it is a great burden for a father to have an unmarried daughter. Lomov comes back. Natalya apologizes for her folly and argues that Oxen Meadows is actually his.

But again they start quarelling over the superiority of their respective hunting dogs Guesser and Messer. Being a weak-hearted person Lomov faints. Natalya grows hysterical thinking that he is dead. Chubukov revives him. Lomov is incoherent. Chubukov puts Natalya’s hand into Lomov’s and blesses them. But they continue to argue over the pedigree of their dogs.

Chubukov appears relieved and calls for Champagne to celebrate the engagement of Natalya and Chubukov. The play brings out the pettiness of the rich landlords. The play examines the true nature of marriage. It explores the process of getting married is a farce aimed at gaining economic stability. In 19th Russia, marriage was a means of economic stability for most people and to be relieved of the social pressure of being unmarried.

Question 2.
What are the attitude factors common to arguments about ownership of land and pedigree of the dogs?
Answer:
An heated argument over the ownership of the Oxen Meadows leads Lomov and Chubukov to target each other’s family members. Chubukov is enraged and asks Lomov to leave and never step into his house again. Lomov is disoriented and staggers out of the door. After Lomov leaves Chubukov tells Natalya the Lomov had proposed to marry her. Natalya is surprised to hear that and she chides Chubukov for not telling her the happy news before. She pleads Chubukov to bring back Lomov immediately. Chubukov goes and brings Lomov back to their house.

Natalya beseeches him to forgive them and admits that the Oxen Meadows really belong to him She asks Lomov to sit down and suggests they talk about something else. She changes the topic and asks Lomov if he is thinking of hunting that season.

Lomov replies that he is thinking of running geese after the harvest. He asks her if she knows that his best hunting dog, Guesser, had gone lame. He thinks that either the dog might have twisted its leg or had been bitten by some other dog. He tells her that, Guesser, is his best dog and he had paid not less than 125 Roubles to own the dog.

He believed that he had got the dog for a very cheap price. Natalya disagrees with him. She feels that Lomov had been cheated. Lomov says that the deal was a bargain and thinks the dog is of an excellent breed. Natalya proudly tells him that her father had paid only 85 roubles for her dog named ‘Messer’ and it was far better than Lomov’s dog.

They again begin an argument over the superiority of their respective dogs. Lomov ridicules Natalya for thinking that Messer was better than Guesser. Natalya argues that her Messer was better because it was young and its pedigree was incomparable to Lomov’s Guesser. Lomov points out that Natalya should not fail to consider Messer’s over shot jaw before concluding that her dog was superior because dog’s with over shot jaws were bad hunters.

Natalya does not agree. Lomov explains her that Messer surely was good at chasing the pack but because of his short lower jaw he would not be able to catch hold of his prey. Natalya is enraged. She argues that her dog was through-bred and ridicules Guesser as a ‘flea beaten old wreck’ with no pedigree.

Lomov admits that his dog is old but he thinks that her dog is ‘just a joke of a hound’. They start shouting at each other, heatedly arguing about the merits of their respective dogs. Lomov is again excited and feels palpitation of heart and thinks that his heart is bursting.

At that time, Chubukov again enters the drawing room. Both Natalya and Lomov ask him to tell them whose dog was better in comparison. Chubukov admits that his dog, Messer is overshot but he believes that Messer is the best dog in the district. He also admits that Guesser certainly has his good points, i.e., Guesser is pure-bred, firm on his feet, has well sprung ribs but in truth the dog has two defects, it’s old and short in the muzzle (mouth).

Lomov begs them to excuse him because he has severe heart murmurs, but continues to argue. He asks them to remember that on the Count Marusinsky hunting event, his dog, Gusser had run neck- to-neck with the count’s dog, while Chubukov’s dog Messer, lagged behind. Chubukov explains that his dog lagged behind because the Count had hit him with his whip.

Lomov reminds Chubukov that the count had a good reason to whip Messer because instead of chasing a fox, the dog had started chasing sheep. Chubukov refutes his reasoning and warns him to stop arguing before he loses his temper. He tells Lomov that he had started the argument because it is natural for anyone to be always jealous of somebody else’s dogs. He admits that everybody is like that. Lomov again begins to complain about his heart and foot.

Question 3.
How does the play portray conflict of interests, relationship and conceit?
Answer:
Conflict of Interests:
‘The Proposal’ by Anton Chekhov a humourous and faracial one-act play. Lomov had visited his neighbour Chubukov’s house to ask for his daughter Natalya’s hand in marriage. Chekhov has brought out the theme of conflict effectively throught his Characters.

At the begining of the play, when Lomov goes to Chubukov’s house he thinks that Lomov had come to borrow money and decides to not give him any money. But he pretends to be glad to see Lomov and greets him a warm welcome. He is truely elated when Lomov tells him that h had come to seek his daughter Natalya’s hand in Marriage and assures him that he may also count on her consent.

The conflict comes to fore when Natalya first comes out to greet Lomov. Lomov does not know how to propose to her and starts blabbering about how Lomovs and the Chubukov had been close neighbours for years and that his land, the Oxen Meadows is adjacent to their land, the Birchwoods. Natalya refutes his claim our Oxen Meadows. Lomov confidently claims that he has documents to prove his claim.

The disagreement becomes so intense that Lomov forgets about the marriage proposal. The conflict affects his health and he becomes extremely agitated with palpitations of his heart. Chubukov also forgets that Lomov had come to propose Natalya and angrily throws him out ordering him not to step inside his house again.

When Natalya comes to know that Lomov had actually come to propose to her, she realizes her folly and grows hysterical. She pleads Chubukov to bring back Lomov immediately. Lomov comes back ^nd she apologizes him and agrees that Oxen Meadows belong to him. She urges Lomov to change the subject and asks him if he planned to go hunting that season. Again they start a silly argument over the superiority of their respective hunting dogs.

Both are adamant and do not concede defeat. Chubukov also joins in and in the minds of the heated argument, Lomov faints. Chubukov revives him and while he is still incohrent he places Natalya’s hand in his hand blesses then. Even then Natalya and Lomov continue their argument but Chubukov feels relieved and happy and calls for champagne to celebrate their engagement.

Relationship:
The relationship between Lomov’s and Chubukov’s is based on economic factors. Though they had an uneasy relationship, each put up with the other for the sake of gain. The Chubukov’s have been using the Oxen Meadows, which actually belonged to Lomovs aunt and eventually Lomov had inherited.

Lomov tukes advantages of this and it seems that he had the habit of borrowing money from Chubukov and had never repaid the loans. This is evident from the fact that when Lomov visits Chubukov’s house to seek Natalya’s hand, Chubukov thinks that Lomov had come to borrow money and decides to refuse lending any more money to Lomov.

Outwardly, the Lomov’s and Chubukov’s seem to be friendly with each other, but they secretely grudge each other. Though Chubukov loves his daughter dearly and supports her in every way, he thinks that she is a butden on him. In fact Lomov had decided to seek Natalya’s hand for monetary gain and to enhance his social status.

Conceit:
Both the Chubukov’s and Lomov are excessively proud of themselves. Chubukov is a wealthy land-lord. Lomov visits his house to seek his daughter’s hand in marriage. Chubukov assumes that lomov had come to borrow money from him and decides to not lend him any money. But he makes a show of friendliness towards Lomov and greets him warmly.

Later, Lomov tries to propose to Natalya. He is very excited and cannot express the real purpose of his visit. He begins to speak about their mutual relationship and shows his appreciation for their .friendly relationship with each other. Moreover both their properties adjoin each other – his Oxen Meadows are adjacent to their birch wood. Natalya vehemently refutes his claim and even Chubukov supports her.

Thought Lomov explains that he has got documents to prove his ownership, they proudly declare that their family owned Oxen Meadows for more than three centuries. Natalya says to Lomov that though the land wasn’t valuable, she thinks that he is unfriendly claiming that the land belongs to him and she cannot tolerate injustice. Lomov tells her that he is ready to gift Oxen Meadows to her.

Natalya argues that their is no question of him gifting it to her as it actually belongs to her family. She tells him that she never expected such behaviour of him, because they had always thought of him as a good neighbour and friend. She is proud to remind him that in the previous year they had lent him their threshing-machine, even if it meant putting off their own threshing till that November. She accuses him of treading them as gypsies and she considered it as an insult to their family. Natalya threaten’s Lomov saying that she will send her howers out to the meadows that very day.

Chubukov claims that he didn’t want anything that Lomov owns and also didn’t intend to give up anything that belongs to him. He proudly and magnanimously declares that he would gladly give up the Oxen Meadows over to the peasants than let Lomov have it Chubukov.

Question 4.
Write an essay on the theme of the play.
Answer:
A major theme in The Proposal is Chekhov’s satire of the landowning class in 19th-century Russia. The landowners were a small, privileged class who were notoriously conservative in clinging to old values that defined them. They knew their advantage in society was based mainly on owning land, as opposed to having a title of nobility.

As a result, they opposed any reforms that would allow their peasants to own a piece of land. Chekhov makes fun of the landowners by depicting Lomov, Natalya, and Chubukov as obsessed about ownership of a worthless tract called Oxen Meadows. Their pride and greed are so extreme that they override a marriage proposal. Lomov calls Chubukov a land grabber, but, in truth, they all are.

Additionally, Chekhov depicts the three characters as being so stubborn that they can’t admit being wrong. Natalya tells Lomov she was mistaken about owning Oxen Meadows, but she really doesn’t believe it. She just says this to get Lomov to propose to her.

Chekhov satirizes the characters’ stubbornness over Oxen Meadows because landowners believed in their right to own huge amounts of land and would never consider budging on this position.

Finally, Chekhov shows the characters as valuing superficial appearance over substance. They give the appearance of being solid citizens who support traditional values, including marriage. However, through his depiction of Lomov, Natalya, and Chubukov, Chekhov shows that for some landowners this appearance is false. What they really care about is owning land and appearing virtuous and right, while in reality they care little about Christian values. For example, instead of being kind to each other, they are mean and childish.

Chekhov’s theme of romance and marriage runs throughout each section of the comedy. The narrative satirizes marriage mainly through the use of situational irony. This type of irony involves a difference between what is expected to happen and what does happen.

The audience expects Lomov’s proposal to Natalya to be filled with romantic sentiments, loving caresses, and perhaps even tears of joy. However, what the audience gets is bickering between two petty people who each want to prove they are right above anything else. Romantic love has been thrown out the window.

Chubukov’s attitude toward the prospective union of Natalya and Lomov also skewers the ideas of romance and marriage. This character is older than Lomov and has seen more of life. As a result, he believes, as a person grounded by his class, that most of life is a charade, in which people go through the motions while not really meaning what they say. Because of this, Chekhov constantly has Chubukov mouthing phrases such as “and so on and all that.”

This implies that Chubukov sees people performing rote behaviors that are expected in certain social situations. Thus, for Chubukov, a marriage proposal is a formality in which each participant expresses certain expected sentiments like love, loyalty, and so on. Whether they truly mean these sentiments is another matter.

Chubukov’s attitude reaches a climax at the end of the play, when he orders a dazed Lomov to get married and sticks the suitor’s hand in Natalya’s hand.

Then Chubukov says, “She’s willing and all that and so on.” Thus with no romantic gestures Lomov becomes engaged without really knowing what’s happening. However, in a society in which appearance matters more than substance, this doesn’t matter.

The formalities have been observed and the charade has been acted out, much to the relief of Chubukov. The play’s last line has Chubukov saying, “And they lived happily ever after!” This is the typical, expected ending of a fairy-tale romance. But the truth of this matter, as the bickering Lomov and Natalya show, is clearly going to be quite the opposite.

English Summary

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