Argument over superiority of their dogs:
In Anton Chekhov’s play “The Proposal,” the argument between Ivan Vassiliyitch Lomov and Natalya Stepanovna over the superiority of their dogs is one of the central conflicts of the play.
The argument begins when Lomov compliments Natalya on her dog, a setter named Squeezer. Natalya immediately responds by bragging about the qualities of her dog and criticizing Lomov’s hound, Guess. This leads to a heated argument, as Lomov becomes defensive and insists that his dog is superior.
As the argument escalates, Lomov and Natalya become increasingly irrational and emotional, with Lomov accusing Natalya of insulting his dog and Natalya accusing Lomov of being jealous of Squeezer. They begin to shout and talk over each other, with neither willing to back down.
The argument becomes so intense that it threatens to derail the proposal altogether, with Lomov storming out of the room at one point and threatening to leave the house. However, Stepan Stepanovich Chubukov intervenes and tries to defuse the situation, pointing out the absurdity of the argument and urging Lomov and Natalya to make up.
Ultimately, the argument over the dogs serves as a metaphor for the larger conflict between Lomov and Natalya, which is driven by petty disagreements and a lack of communication. The argument highlights the irrationality and absurdity of their feud, and underscores the need for compromise and understanding in any relationship.
Textual References: (in points)
The play explores the comic situation that arises in the course of a marriage proposal. The quarrel regarding the superiority of the dogs is too a comic element in the play.
Quarrel on the Superiority of Dogs :
Lomov and Natalya gets a second chance at veering the subject again towards the romantic proposal. However, instead of an untroubled communication of the proposal, they start bickering once more with each other. This time the argument centres on the superiority of their respective hunting dogs named Guess and Squeezer.
Points of Argument :
According to Lomov, his dog Guess is a first-rate dog. This turns to be an argument for claiming superiority of their respective dogs. Natalya demands that their dog, Squeezer is better than Lomov’s Guess. They argue over the price of the dogs, their pedigree, their hunting capability and even the proportions of their jaws.
Various Points of Argument/ Quarrel:
Price 》Lomov argues he paid a higher price to buy Guess compared to Squeezer.
Size 》Lomov says that Squeezer is overshot than Guess.
Age 》Natalya mentioned Guess has become old.
Pedigree 》Natalya asserts that their dog Squeezer has a good breeding, whereas Lomov’s dog has no pedigree.
Hunting Capacity》Lomov says Guess is a great hunter but Squeezer is not a good hunter.
Proportions of their jaws》
Significance of the Dog Episode:
Their stupid arguments make the play hilarious. A trivial argument gets more important than a marriage proposal. Through the Dog episode Chekhov exposes the non-romantic nature of marriage as it occurs as a social practice. Chekhov resorts to satire in order to bring out the hollowness of marriage as a social institution.