Historical Context in The Bet
Anton Chekhov (1869–1904) was one of the foremost playwrights and authors of the realism movement, which emerged in France during the nineteenth century. Realist writers rejected the Romantic ideals encapsulated through melodramas and operas. Instead, the new school attempted to reveal the world as it was, without imagination or hyperbole. Chekhov demonstrates this radical shift through his concise storytelling and accurate representation of society. “The Bet,” one of Chekhov’s best-known stories, begins as a story detailing a debate and consequent bet made between two men. However, as the story progresses, it veers into a pragmatic discussion regarding issues of solitary confinement and materiality.