Creator / Anton Chekhov

"If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don't put it there."

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (Russian: Анто́н Па́влович Че́хов; 29 January 1860 15 July 1904) was a Russian short-story writer, playwright and physician in the turn of the previous century. He's best known for his dramatic works, and especially his four major plays: The Seagull, Three Sisters, Uncle Vanya and The Cherry Orchard. His plays seem to be nearly-plotless character studies. Although they're often about how depressed people are with the lives they lead, Chekhov referred to his plays as Comedies (aside from Three Sisters). His main objective with his work was to get people to see the pain in their lives and make a change. He worked as a doctor most of his life, and there are many doctors as characters in his work. His plays were not well-received initially, and he almost gave up writing after the first production of The Seagull was a bomb... and then it was revived four years later by the Moscow Art Theater and was a huge smash hit.

He had some of the greatest last words ever: "It has been a long time since I tasted champagne," right after his last sip.

He is strongly associated with Stanislavski (the father of Method acting), who considered himself the expert on Chekhov's plays. Chekov disagreed, as Stanislavski insisted on playing Chekov's comedies completely straight.

He is also the Trope Namer for the ubiquitous-on-this-site Chekhov's Gun.

Works by Anton Chekhov with their own page on the wiki:

Other works by Anton Chekov contain examples of:

  • Absurdly High-Stakes Game: In the short story "The Bet", a man makes a bet that he can remain in solitary confinement for 15 years. If he wins, he gets 2 million rubles, but if he loses, he has wasted years of his life.
    • Subverted when the lawyer has written a letter stating that through the books he has read, his imagination has allowed him to vicariously enjoy greater pleasures and achieve marvelous feats (in his imagination). The lawyer, fifteen years older and wiser, leaves the cell five minutes before the contract is set to expire, willfully renouncing the banker's wager of two million rubles and rejecting the foolish vanities of wealth.
  • Delusions of Eloquence: Informed example — the narrator of the short story "Peasants" characterizes the "hetman" of the village, saying that he is unable to read but had acquired "bookish expressions." The reader never hears much of his speech but is left to imagine that it would be much like this.
  • Food Porn:
    • "The Siren" is full of lush descriptions of Russian cuisine. It also overlaps with Delicious Distraction in this case.
    • "On Mortality: A Carnival Tale" is a several pages of a glorious Food Porn, which suddenly ends with the main character dying of a stroke right before eating the best piece of meal.
  • German Russians: Von Koren in "The Duel".
  • Gone Horribly Right: In the short story "Put too Much Salt", a traveler riding a mailcoach is scared of the large and rough driver and tries to scare him. The traveller sort-of-casually mentions how Bad Ass he is, how many weapons he carries, how he loves to fight and that several armed friends will be joining him midway to the next station. The driver thinks he's a bandit and runs away. Leaving the coach in the winter forest in the middle of nowhere with sunset approaching. Fortunately, the driver only hid within earshot and the traveler managed to persuade him it all was a joke.
  • Happiness in Slavery: "Peasants" follows a trend of late nineteenth century Russian literature to depict the serfs as having been better off before emancipation.
  • Love at First Punch: In the short play The Bear, the boorish Large Ham Smirnov is at first very disdainful to his debtor's widow Popova, finding her prissy and pretentious, but becomes smitten when Popova reveals to be a Hidden Badass.
  • Opinion Flip Flop: "A Chameleon".
  • Self-Restraint: In "The Bet", a young lawyer bets that he could survive fifteen years in a prison, and an older banker offers him a large sum of money if he can spend the whole time in his garden house — a prison with no locks or bars, with only a guard to report if the lawyer has escaped and thus forfeited the bet.