Justify the Title "The Bear": "The Bear" by Anton Chekhov
The word 'bear' suggests something spontaneous, in its expression of feelings, anger, love and hatred. A bear is powerful, fiercely aggressive and dominant. In fact it is passionate having no self control: it becomes a symbol of vulgarity as well as of basic natural feelings. The bear represents different qualities of the characters of the play. Though it refers to Smirnov primarily, yet it can well be fitted to all the characters of the play literally and ironically.
Primanly, Smirnov is the bear. He is introduced to us as a powerful middle aged man. He is rough and tough: vulgar in all respects. Smirnov comes to Popover's house to seek money he landed to her late husband He drags himself in pushing the servant when he is told that the lady of the house does not see anybody due to her husband's death. He rebukes her and he threatens Popova when she refuses to pay him on account of her accountant not being there. She promises to pay him the day after tomorrow but he refuses. Smirnov wants the money and for it he is ready even to die. He becomes vulgar as his remarks show it to us:
"That's why I never did like to talk to women. I would rather sit on a barrel of gunpowder than to talk a woman".
He makes fun of her, insults her even names her mourning a deception. He is very passionate when he falls in love with Popova, like a bear he behaves. The playwright describes it as: "He snatches at the back of a chair the chair creaks and breaks". And Smirnov utters: "Devil take it how I'm smashing up your furniture! I like you." The Smimov who wanted to get the money at every cost is replaced with a passionate person who says: "I'm in love like a boy, a fool... I'm about to let my debt go".
On the other hand, Popova is polite and quite decent. She is faithful to her husband even after his death. She mourns him for about six months. She vows:
"I shall never go out... he's in his grave and I have buried myself between four walls."
Human beings are never dead if blood runs through their veins. Man has feelings and relations; without them man becomes an animal. She becomes a bear by crushing her basic natural feelings. Apparently, she is not vulgar, yet we do find pieces of vulgarity in her character when she encounters Smirnov. She abuses him as well as gets ready to tight a duel with him. All this is passionate, spontaneous, out of love or anger, and representative of might either of beauty or physical power. Because no sane man would let his debt go using his brain and no lady would be ready to fight a duel in normal circumstances. Further, the ending of the play where they are kissing and touching each other tenderly, represents passion and emotion.