43 pages 1 hour read

Anton Chekhov

The Duel

Fiction | Novella | Adult | Published in 1891

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Chapters 15-21

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapters 15-21 Summary

Humiliated by his hysterics, Laevsky remains bent on leaving and plans to disregard the conditions of his loan. He visits Samoylenko’s, where he encounters Von Koren. Von Koren presses him about the episode, which Laevsky finds indelicate. Laevsky responds with his usual phrases about his corrupted generation, and grows angry that, while Von Koren stares at him without smiling, Laevsky is unable not to act “ingratiatingly” toward Von Koren. Laevsky’s anger mounts when Von Koren responds to his complaints by affirming that his position is hopeless, a statement he later stands by and explains as the impossibility of Laevsky’s desire to be at once honest and a scoundrel. When Samoylenko enters the room, Laevsky expresses his dismay that the doctor has shared his personal confidences with Von Koren, and Samoylenko is angered by the attack but tries to calm himself.

Laevsky continues his complaints about the sense that his soul is being pried into—as indeed it is by Von Koren, who fancies himself not just a zoologist but a sociologist, meaning an investigator of the human species as well as animals. But it is Samoylenko to whom these complaints are directed and who is indignant at the word “spy.