25 pages 50 minutes read

Anton Chekhov

The Bet

Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1889

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Literary Devices


The story takes the form of the banker’s reminiscence on the final day before the term of the bet expires. The action is confined to the night of the bet and the night marking the end of the 15-year term. This flashback contributes to the suspenseful atmosphere introduced in the opening sentences by delaying the action to come. It also fulfills the narrative need of filling in readers with all the necessary information they need to understand the present situation of the two characters. By introducing a flashback rather than an exposition, the story takes the readers right into the scene, allowing them to “see” the banker’s memories more vividly.

Plot Twist and Anagnorisis

In the second part of the story, the banker decides to kill the lawyer to avoid fulfilling his end of the agreement and going bankrupt. The expected course of the plot from that point is that the banker will go to the cottage, and something related to the execution will take place. However, by the end of the lawyer’s letter, the plot takes a turn. The lawyer expresses his wish to renounce the two million and escape his confinement before the end of his term.