The title of Anton Chekhov’s play, “The Proposal,” is significant because it refers to the central event of the play: the proposal of marriage that Ivan Vassiliyitch Lomov makes to Natalya, the daughter of his wealthy neighbor Stepan Stepanovich Chubukov.
The title is significant because the proposal sets the stage for the conflict and tension that drives the action of the play. Lomov’s proposal is not a simple declaration of love, but rather a complicated negotiation that involves matters of property, pride, and social status. Throughout the play, Lomov and Natalya engage in a series of heated arguments about trivial matters, such as the ownership of a piece of land, which escalate into shouting matches and threaten to derail the proposal altogether.
The title is also significant because it reflects the themes of the play, which revolve around the complexities and contradictions of love and marriage. The proposal is not simply a romantic gesture, but a pragmatic decision that is driven by societal pressures and financial concerns. The play explores the tensions between love and reason, passion and propriety, and ultimately suggests that true love can only be achieved when these tensions are resolved.
In summary, the title of “The Proposal” is significant because it encapsulates the central event of the play and reflects its themes of love, marriage, and societal pressures.
Textual References: (in points)
The proposal of marriage in the play sketches the picture of contemporary social life in Russia. In the play, the author draws a thumbnail sketch of his contemporary society. The play’s central theme of marriage is presented in the comic wrapping .
The Proposal in the Centre of the Play:
The play explores the comic situation that arises in the course of a marriage proposal made by Lomov to Chubukov’s daughter. The play lands a carefully contrived plot and attempts to provide no solution to the dramatic complication. Chekhov’s handling of comedy attempts to provide no solution to the dramatic crisis, but merely holds up the mirror to the artificial resolution of conflict through a perfunctory proposal of marriage.
The title of the play exposes the following themes:
A. Non-Romantic Nature of Marriage :
Through the contract of marriage as it is proposed from one landed-farmer to another, Chekhov exposes the non-romantic nature of marriage as it occurs as a social practice.
B. Marriage as a Convenient Business Deal :
The point Chekhov is trying to make, is that marriage is more of a convenient business deal subscribed to by society, rather than a romantic union between two people.
C. Hollowness of Marriage :
Chekhov resorts to satire in order to bring out the hollowness of marriage as a social institution. Chekhov underscores no bitterness with his observations, instead through the mounting absurdity in the play, he offers his audience a sincere food for thought.
D. Marriage on the Level of Farce :
Within the tight structure of the play, Chekhov puts the focus on marriage as convenience and treats his theme at a level of farce.