The Sermon at Benares

Question 37

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.

Seeing Lomov dressed formally, Chubukov suspected that Lomov had come to borrow money. He is not sincere when he says that he had always loved Lomov and treated him like his own son. He had decided that he would not lend any money to him. If he truly meant his words of affection for Lomov, he would have never had such a thought. 
Question 38

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.

Chubukov found Lomov to be a good match for his daughter. He had been waiting for this proposal. He was glad that Lomov came with the proposal. When Lomov became doubtful at Natalya’s consent to his proposal, Chubukov immediately assures him that she was in love with him. No, we cannot agree to it because Natalya did not seem to be in love with Lomov at all. Natalya's reaction on hearing about Lomov's marriage proposal makes it obvious that she was awaiting Lomov's proposal. To conclude, we can say that Natalya had no love for Lomov but being a young girl she wished to get married. 
Question 39

(i) 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, well-educated.”)

(ii) Then think of five adjectives or adjectival expressions of your own to describe each character in the play.

(iii) Can you now imagine what these characters will quarrel about next?

(i) Some of the expressions used by the characters to describe each other are as follows:

Chubukov:  intriguer; old rat; grabber;
Natalya: a lovesick cat; an excellent housekeeper;
Lomov:  pettifogger; a malicious, double-faced intriguer; a good neighbour;  turnip-         ghost; a villain; the stuffed sausage; the wizen-faced frump;  pup; milksop;

(ii) For self-attempt.

(iii) For self-attempt.
Question 40

This play has been translated into English from the Russian original. Are there any expressions or ways of speaking that strike you as more Russian than English? For example, would an adult man be addressed by an older man as my darling or my treasure in an English play?

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.

  1. “my darling”, “my beauty”, “my precious”, “my angel”, “my beloved” ( Chubukov addressing Lomov)
  2. “And how may you be getting on?” (Here, Lomov is asking Chubukov about his well-being)
  3. How do you do, Ivan Vassilevitch?( Natalya is asking Lomov about his well being)
  4. I see, Natalya Stepanovna, that you consider me either blind or a fool. (Lomov to Natalya, Names are not addressed in every dialogue in a conversation in Contemporary English)
  5. You will remember that on the Marusinsky hunt my Guess ran neck-and-neck with the Count’s dog, while your Squeezer was left a whole verst behind. (Lomov to Chubukov, the use of expression -neck and neck)

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