What Is Anton Chekhov's "The Proposal"?


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"The Proposal" is a play written by Russian author Anton Chekhov. It is sometimes called "The Marriage Proposal." The play was written early in Chekhov's career.

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Written sometime around 1888 and 1889, "The Marriage Proposal" is a one-act play. It was performed publicly for the first time in 1890. This fast-paced play takes a humorous look at how wealth and property are often valued more than love and marriage.

Only three characters appear in "The Proposal." Thirty-something Ivan is hoping to become engaged to Natalya, the daughter of his elderly neighbor, Stepan. The setting for the play is the Russian countryside in the late 1800s. Initially, Stepan grants permission to Ivan to ask for Natalya's hand in marriage. During a meeting between the three characters, an argument over property ownership ensues. After the conversation is once again focused on marriage, another heated discussion takes place, this time over the value of dogs.

The tone of "The Marriage Proposal" is satirical, a departure from Chekhov's later works, which tended to have a darker nature.

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