"The Bet" is one of Chekov's most anthologized stories. A rich banker makes a bet with a poor artist that he cannot voluntarily stay imprisoned for a long period of time. The result of the bet is quite different than either man could have supposed.More
Anton Chekhov begins his classic 1889 tale "The Bet" with the recollection of an argument that took place 15 years earlier at a party of the self-ordained intelligentsia. The argument - so familiar to our own time - was about the moral legitimacy of capital punishment. While most of the party agreed that capital punishment was inhumane, a middle-aged banker held that it was far more humane than life imprisonment. When a young lawyer disagreed, the bet was on: If the lawyer will spend 15 years in solitary confinement, the banker will give him a large sum of money. Fifteen years on, who will win? As performed by the popular Walter Zimmerman, “The Bet” is a hilarious look at principle, moral value, and the tyranny of caprice.
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