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“The Proposal” is a one-act romantic story of a young man called Lomov, who is a landowner and often borrows money from another landowner called Chubukov. Lomov presented a marriage proposal to Natalya, Chubukov’s daughter. Before he could present the proposal to the girl, Lomov and Chubukov entered into an argument for some reason or the other.
What does Chubukov at first suspect that Lomov has come for ? Is he sincere when he later says “And I’ve always loved you, my angel, as if you were my own son ? Find reasons for your answer from the play.
When Ivan Lomov comes to Stepen Chubukov well dressed in the beginning of the play, the latter suspects that he has come with the intention of borrowing money from him. But, later on, Lomov tells him that he is not there to borrow any money but to ask for the hand of his young daughter Natalya for marriage. Chubukov is extremely happy to hear this. He is the father of a marriageable daughter. He is much worried about her marriage. Natalya’s age for marriage is passing. And when Lomov lays the proposal himself, Chubukov is overjoyed. He takes Lomov in his arms and starts kissing him. He says that he had always considered him as his own son, Chubukov is not sincere in his this statement at all that he had always looked at Lomov as if he were his own son. He had never thought so about Lomov. But now when he sees he has got a good marriage proposal without having to wander here and there, he makes this statement.
Chubukov says of Natalya : “... as if she won’t consent ! She’s in love; egad. she’s like a lovesick cat...” Would you agree ? Find reasons for your answer.
Being Natalya’s father, Chubukov knows everything about her. He says to Lomov that Natalya loves him. She is like a lovesick cat. However, the fact remains that she doesn’t have any romantic feelings for Lomov. She rather gets into a petty quarrel with Lomov over a piece of land and later over the pedigree of their respective dogs. It shows that she prefers a piece of land to the feelings of love and commitment.
- Find all the words and expressions in the play that the characters use to speak about each other, and the accusations and insults they hurl at each other. (For example, Lomov in the end calls Chubukov an intriguer; but earlier, Chubukov has himself called Lomov a “malicious, doublefaced intriguer.” Again, Lomov begins by describing Natalya as “an excellent housekeeper, not bad-looking, welleducated.”)
- Then think of five adjectives or adjectival expressions of your own to describe each character in the play.
- Can you now imagine what these characters will quarrel about next ?
- My darling, my angel, my beauty, an excellent housekeeper, not bad looking, well educated, my precious, a grabber, pettifogger, malicious, doublefaced intriguer, the villian, the scarecrow, monster. the stuffed sausage, the wizen-faced frump, milksop.
- Lomov — Nervous, impatient, eccentric, funny, quarrelsome Natalya — Attractive, unmarried, lovesick, abusive, quarrelsome Chubukov — Old, hypocritical, opportunist, farcical, selfish
- I think now these characters will quarrel over one another’s physical personality.