What Is "A Marriage Proposal" by Anton Chekhov?

Anton Chekhov's "A Marriage Proposal" is a one-act comedy set in rural Russia in the late 1800s that finds would-be lovers Ivan and Natalya arguing about a disputed piece of land between their properties and about whose hunting dog is superior. They stop fighting only long enough to get engaged.

After getting permission from Stepan Stephanovitch Chubukov to marry his daughter, Ivan Vassiliyitch Lomov visits her at home. Leading up to his proposal and to hide his nervousness, Ivan brings up how long his family has known her family and how his family owns the Oxen Meadows. Natalya interrupts and clarifies that her family owns the land. Their argument causes Ivan, a hypochondriac, to feel dizzy. He changes the subject, but it only further riles Natalya and then her father, who asks Ivan to leave.

Stepan tells Natalya that Ivan planned to propose to her, and Natalya begs him to bring Ivan back. When Ivan returns, Natalya directs their conversation toward matrimony, but they end up arguing about their respective hunting dogs. Ivan feels his heart racing, and he faints. Stepan and Natalya believe he is dead, but then he comes to. Before he and Natalya can argue about something else, he proposes and she says yes. Then they resume their argument over who has the more superior hunting dog.