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Posted on May 31st, 2012, by

How much does a man need by Leo Tolstoy and The bet by Anton Chekhov.

Comparing the stories by Leo Tolstoy and Anton Chekhov, I’d like to say that both of these stories strongly satirize human greediness. The main hero of The bet is a lawyer, who agreed to be imprisoned for fifteen years in order to get two million rubles in award from the banker. During the confinement he got a strong urge for knowledge and devoured hundreds of volumes. Meanwhile, the banker was no longer rich, and he knew, that if he pays the award to the prisoner, he will remain with nothing. Tolstoy tried to emphasize that nothing is eternal, and richness won’t last forever. Nearly the same theme is seen in the story of Chekhov. The prisoner broke the bet five minutes before his release, as he understood that money meant nothing for him already and he despised pleasures of life and freedom.

These stories are alike, because of literary succession and creative interdependences. Chekhov learnt much from Tolstoy, though his stories are shorter and stronger, and he tells more about situation inRussiaafter the reformation.

The story of Chekhov is about a poor peasant Pahom, whose only dream was to earn more land. But when he got one, he couldn’t stop and strived for more territories, finally ending up in the grave. It was the size of a land, which a man really needed. Both heroes were possessed by greediness. But the hero of Tolstoy found a right way and understood his blunder. Chekhov, however, treated his hero more cruelly. Unlike Chekhov, Tolstoy didn’t name his heroes, just mentioned their social positions.

From the historic outlook, Chekhov widened realistic creative methods. He wrote about changes in contemporary, about social injustice and troubles of common people. But both Tolstoy and Chekhov wanted to make people realize evils of human nature. Chekhov was influenced by Tolstoy and related his views to own historic epoch, taking what he needed to reflect the reality.

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