Bet, The

Bet, The

Broadcast: March 5, 1949
Added: Mar 19 2013

This story was written by Anton Chekhov, a great playwright often referred to as the Russian Shakespeare. Chekhov was a master of the short story. He was a gentle soul with an unusual understanding of the heart of man and in this story you’ll find he proves himself a great searcher after truth.

Two friends are debating over which is better, to be executed by the state or to spend a lifetime in prison. Ivanoff says that it is not the right of the state to take away from a man that which he cannot return and that if he were offered a choice between capitol punishment and life imprisonment he would choose imprisonment for it is better than no life at all.

The rich banker who has wealth beyond belief, and without it would feel like his life was taken away from him, bets his friend two million roubles that he cannot spend five years in confinement. Driven by his greed and a challenge he could not refuse, he accepts the bet stating that for 2 million roubles he will be confined for 15 years.

What does a man think about when a prison door closes behind him when he sees the four walls that will be the boundary of his world what does he think?

He had undertaken this fearful confinement, as a bet. If he could last out 15 years it would bring him 2 million roubles, but what is 2 million roubles…?