It is Chubukov’s house. Lomov enters . Chubukov meets him. Chubukov is extremely happy to meet him. He asks him to sit down. He also asks him where he is going in the evening dress.
Lomov tells him that he has come to see him with a request. He wants to say but gets excited. Chubukov feels that he has come to borrow money. Lomov starts speaking. But he talks of this thing or that thing. At last he says that he has come to ask Natalya’s hand. Chubukov is greatly excited to hear it.
Chubukov embraces and kisses Lomov for it. He says that he always wanted that. Lomov asks him if he should think that he gives his consent. Chubukov okays it. He tells him that Natalya also is in love with him.
Lomov trembles due to great excitement. He says that if he looks for an ideal love he would never get married. He gets cold. He feels that Natalya is a good housekeeper. She is beautiful and well-educated. He is already 35. He should lead a quiet and regular life. But he now has palpitations. He starts jumping like a mad person.
Natalya enters. She asks him why he is in the evening dress. Is he going to a ball?
Lomov tries to tell her the purpose behind the visit. But he is off the point. He tells that he has known her family for long. He also tells how he inherited his land and how he respects Natalya’s father . He tells her hat his Oxen Meadows touch Natalya’s birch woods. And over this issue they fight verbally like bull dogs.
Natalya refuses Lomov’s claim. Lomov offers to make a present to them to Natalya. Natalya gets angry. She comes to a low level. She starts accusing Lomov. They start shouting at each other.
Chubukov enters. Natalya asks him to tell Lomov that Oxen Meadows are theirs. Lomov refuses this. Chubukov clarifies that by shouting Lomov won’t prove the ownership. He accuses Lomov of speaking disrespectfully as he is twice his age. Lomov adds that good neighbours don’t behave like that. He calls Chubukov a land grabber.
Lomov threatens to take Chubukov to courts. They exchange abuses calling that Lomov’s grandfather was a drunkard. His younger aunt Nastasya ran away with an architect. Lomov wants to say something. But he feels that he is dying.
Natalya calls Lomov ‘a rascal’. Chubukov calls him the villain and the scare crow. He calls him a monster who has the courage to propose.
Hearing ‘propose’ Natalya asks what ‘proposal’. Chubukov tells her that Lomov had come to propose her for marriage. She starts weeping. She calls Chubukov to bring him back at once. She is in hysterics. He laments that it is a great burden to be a father of a grown up daughter.
Lomov enters. He has palpitating heart. Natalya begs to be excused. She tells him that the Meadows are his. Their talk now centers on dogs. Lomov tells Natalya that his best dog Guess costs him 125 roubles. Natalya calls it too much as her father gave 85 roubles for his Squeezer. Squeezer is better than his dog. Lomov refutes it. He states that his lower jaw is shorter than the upper. Natalya defends saying that their Squeezer is of the finest pedigree.
Both Lomov and Natalya start fighting over their dogs. Lomov calls his Guess better. Natalya calls hers better. Lomov’s heart gets palpitating. He says that his heart Is going to pieces. Chubukov enters. He asks what the matter is. Chubukov also adds that Lomov’s dog Guess is old and short.
Lomov cites facts for his dog’s superiority. He cites the dog race with the count’s dog. In that Squeezer was left behind. Dogs ran but Squeezer ran after a sheep. Lomov speaks about the condition of his heart. Natalya asks him what sort of hunter he is. He should go to the kitchen and not go after foxes.
Chubukov cites with Natalya. He adds that Lomov should sit at home. He changes the subject to avoid losing his temper. Lomov and he exchange abuses calling ‘intriguer’, ‘pup’, ‘rat’, etc. Lomov tells that Chubukov’s late wife beat him. He falls down.
Natalya asks her father what has happened to Lomov. Chubukov also feels sick as he can’t breathe. Chubukov asks what the matter is. Natalya says that Lomov is ‘dead’. At this Chubukov calls for water and a doctor.
Chubukov starts accusing himself. He calls himself the most unhappy of men. He demands for a knife or a pistol. Lomov is reviving.
Lomov says he sees stars. He asks where he is. Chubukov asks him to hurry up and get married. Natalya is also willing to marry him. Chubukov asks him to kiss each other. Lomov asks whom he should kiss. He then says that he understands. Natalya is also happy. Chubukov feels that a weight has come off his shoulders. He offers some Champaign.
short questions and answers
Q1: How does Lomov come to Chubukov’s house? What for does he come? How is he received?
A: Lomov comes to Chubukov’s house in the evening dress with gloves on. He comes to propose to his daughter Natalya. He is received with all the respect by Chubukov. It is clear by Chubukov’s words like ‘my angel’, ‘my dear fellow’, ‘my treasure’.
Q.2. How does Chubukov react when Lomov says that he has come to ask for the hand of his daughter?
A: Chubukov is really glad to hear that Lomov has come to ask for Natalya’s hand. He embraces and kisses Lomov. He has a tear or two in his eyes out of joy. He calls for God’s blessing for Natalya and Lomov. He says he is off his balance with joy. He goes out to call for Natalya.
Q3: Why did Lomov wants to get married?
A: Lomov was 35 years old. It was high time that he should settle for a quiet and regular life. Moreover, he was suffering due to a weak heart and sleep-sickness. He wanted company and someone to look after him, so he wanted her to get married.
Q4: What happens to Lomov when he is in an excited state?
A: Lomov’s heart beat increases. His lips tremble. There is twitch in his right eyebrow. The worst thing is the way he sleeps. When he goes to sleep, something pulls in his left side. It comes to his shoulder and head. He jumps like lunatic.
Q5: How does Natalya excite Lomov to the point of verbal fighting?
A: Natalya doesn’t agree to the point that Oxen Meadows are not theirs. She says that upto that she thought Lomov was a good neighbor. They lent him their threshing machine last year. They had to postpone their threshing till November. How was Lomov giving her his own land?
Q6: How does Lomov react when Chubukov says that he is not used to misbehavior by young man like Lomov?
A: Lomov reacts saying that Chubukov calls his land his own. Then he wants to be talked to calmly and politely. He says that good neighbours don’t behave like that. He is now excited. He says that Chubukov is not a neighbour but a ‘grabber’.
Q7: Why does Natalya ask her father Chubukov to fetch Lomov in at once when they have fought verbally? How does she accuse her father?
A: Actually Chubukov says that Lomov came to propose to Natalya for marriage. Natalya didn’t know it. So she at once changes and asks her father to fetch Lomov in then. She also accuses Chubukov that he drove Lomov out.
Q8: How do Lomov and Chubukov fight after talking about dogs, etc?
A: Chubukov says that Lomov should sit at home with his heart beats. He is not at all a hunter. Lomov replies that he goes hunting to intrigue only. This starts their verbal fight. Lomov calls him an ‘intriguer’. Chubukov calls him ‘pup’. Lomov calls him ‘old rat’. Chubukov calls him ‘fool’, etc.
Q9: How is ‘the Proposal’ a great comedy?
A: ‘The Proposal’ is a great comedy. It is because of the characters and subject matter and how they behave. Natalya, Lomov and Chubukov fight over foolish things. All these create a lot of laughter. The verbal fights over Oxen Meadows and dogs are really full of humour.
text book questions and answers
Q1: 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 reason for your answer from the play.
A: Chubukov at first suspects that Lomov has come to borrow money. Chubukov is not sincere in saying this. After some minutes, Chubukov starts fighting with Lomov over petty matters. In fact, he sides with his daughter in fighting with Lomov. He even abuses Lomov calling him with bad names. This shows his insincerity in saying this flattering sentence.
Q2: Chubukov says of Natalya : “….as if she won’t consent ! She is in love; egad, she is like a lovesick cat..” Would you agree? Find reason for your answer.
A: Yes, Natalya is in love. This is clear in her behavior when she knows that Lomov came to propose to her. When she knows it, she starts weeping; she calls her father to bring him back at once. He has gone out after the quarrel. She becomes hysteric.
Q3: (i) Find all the words and expressions in the play that the characters used to speak about other, and accusations and insults they hurl at each other.
A: Natalya calls Lomov ‘rascal’, ‘The monster’.
Chubukov calls him ‘the villain! The scarecrow!’, ‘that blind hen’ ,‘turnip ghost’, ‘the stuffed sausage’, ‘the wizen-faced frump’, ‘malicious, double-faced intriguer’, ‘pup’, ‘old rat’, ‘Jesuit’, ‘milk soap’, ‘fool’.
Chubukov calls Lomov’s father as ‘a guzzling gambler’.
Lomov calls Chubukov ‘intreguer’, Natalya’s mother as ‘hump-backed’, ‘back-bitters’, etc.
Chubukov calls Lomov as ‘my precious’.
Lomov calls Natalya as ‘an excellent house keeper, not bad looking, well educated’.
(ii) Then think of five adjectives or adjectival expressions of your own to describe each character in the play.
A: Adjectives or adjectival expressions that describe the characters in the play are as follows:
a) Lomov: weak hearted bachelor, nervous , short tempered, quarrelsome, rigid.
b) Natalya: excellent housekeeper, good looking, well educated, sharp tongued, short tempered, rigid touchy and sensitive.
c) Chubukov: old, quarrelsome, uses funny abusive language (turnip ghost, stuffed sausage), intriguer, concerned father.
Q3: Can you imagine what these characters will quarrel about next?
A: Perhaps they will quarrel on the quality of champagne.
THINKING ABOUT LANGUAGE
Q.1. Read through the play carefully and find expressions that you think are not used in contemporary English and contrast these with idiomatic modern English expressions that also occur in the play.
A: Expressions not used in
(i) you may take it that – (accept it)
I am not going to change my idea. You may or may not take it.
(ii) He seems to be coming round – (regain consciousness)
After falling down, my grandfather became unconscious. After five minutes when he came round everyone heaved a sigh of relief.
(iii) My foot’s gone to sleep – ( stop feeling any sense due to lack of blood circulation)
If you sit in one pose on your foot for a long time, it will go to sleep.
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