The story "The Black Monk" was written by Anton Chekhov in 1893. It is believed that Chekhov had long wanted to write about delusions of grandeur, which can lead to genius. Black Monk шы an idea that came to the writer in a dream. And, as it turned out, it was this idea that identified a story from all the other, set it apart, so it was difficult to be criticized.
The protagonist - Andrey V. Kovrin, is a contemporary of Chekhov. Through his image the author tries to show us that a man looking to his goal, having the idea and priorities in life, is condemned to death.
Chekhov highlights the main character from the rest of the crowd. If the people who surround Kovrin are quite simple and primitive, he himself has a fine nature, love for art, inner beauty. He works hard and is faithful to his work - philosophy. And he knows how to enjoy what he is doing. It is this feature Chekhov calls a talent.
Kovrin is an easy-going and interesting person. That's what to Yegor Semenovich Pesotsky and his daughter, Tanya like him.
Events are developing in a large and beautiful house of Pesotsky. The author devotes a lot of time to details, describing everyday life. There are many images of landscape seen through the eyes of Andrew in the first part of the tale. In this way, Chekhov shows idleness and ease in Kovrin’s mind, the joy of meeting with this place.
Pesotsky is a known gardener, and that his garden is the meaning of his life. In fact, he had only three joys in the life: a garden, a daughter and a ward Kovrin. Kovrin rarely came into the Pesotsky house, the last time was long time ago, when Tatiana was still funny and skinny teenager. But this time Kovrin got the idea that he might fall in love with this grown-up and a dear child. And so it happens, Kovrin soon makes Tatiana a proposal. She is happy, Tanya's father says that Kovrin will be the perfect heir. But parallel to this idyllic place very strange things happen.
The black monk from some song comes to Kovrin. The Monk convinces Kovrin he is a genius, who was elected, he is among the few that lead people to the happy future, to immortality. Kovrin realizes that the monk is a figment of his imagination, a powerful hallucination. However, according to the very monk, a man with normal consciousness is a gregarious and primitive creature. And if Kovrin wants to stay elected, he must come to terms with such a victim as mental health.
Many identify this with the idea of Lombroso theory that genius goes hand in hand with the madness these concepts are related. And Chekhov may have wanted to show us exactly this theory. While it is possible that the author has not adhered to this theory, but simply was trying to show that the excuses for low, immoral and improper actions explained by a philosophy - is not a way out.
The subsequent course of events revolves around conversations of Kovrin with the Monk. The hero realizes that the monk says those things that have long been sitting in Kovrin’s head, but he did not dare to say them. Black Monk is quickly becoming a personality for Kovrin, who gives him hope and confidence, after conversations with him the hero is always cheerful and happy. These interviews are conducted as if parallel to the rest of events: problems with garden and preparing for the wedding. Kovrin is happy in his frenzy.
He enjoys the colors that surround him, is madly in love with his wife, works hard and waits for each meeting with the Monk, who grows in Kovrin megalomania.
Once the Black Monk comes to Kovrin home when Tanya sleeps. They lead discussions on philosophical subjects, when Tatiana wakes up, she sees that Andrew is talking to an empty chair, and finally understands that her husband is a madman. She and her father convinced Kovrin to go for treatment.
It takes a certain amount of time. Kovrin is cured and sent home. From the old jovial and radiant with happiness and confidence man nothing is left. If earlier Kovrin could capture a beautiful sunset or a melody, the returned person has lost the meaning of life, is irritable, nervous and hates people who deprived him of his meeting with the Monk. Between spouses more often quarrels are erupting, from old feelings nothing is left, as well as of gratitude to her father.
Kovrin was happy in his madness. It gave Kovrin confidence, he felt that everything what he was doing was the greatest thing. Only with the Monk Kovrin could talk about topics that are not available to ordinary people, the Monk helped to establish the truth in the eternal philosophical questions that Andrew has devoted his life to. His family, depriving Kovrin of madness, deprived him of the meaning of life.
And in the end it leads Kovrin to a new woman, she is older than him, and takes care after Kovrin as a mother. The author devotes this woman very little attention, as if to show her insignificance in life of the hero. Kovrin gets a serious illness, the one his mother died from.
In the fateful evening Kovrin decided to open a letter from Tatiana. It all steeped in hatred, Tatiana writes that her father had died, that the garden is now owned by strangers and that all of this is Kovrin’s guilt. In the letter she wished him dead.
Kovrin realizes that he is just a mediocrity. And he became a professor at forty years - equal exchange, manufactured by the fate for all the troubles that happened to him. Kovrin puts himself on the same level with other people, he is no longer true to his previous convictions.
Overhearing that same song about the Black Monk, Kovrin feels excitement, the memories of the house, of the garden, of the very people who made him happy come to him. And there happens a meeting with the Monk. However Kovrin dies, he cannot say even a few words to the Monk from weakness.
But he had heard exactly what he wanted to hear before he died - that he is amessenger of God, the genius, designed to contribute to the salvation of mankind. And this very contribution was his own life. Kovrin died, feeling happy, necessary to mankind. And the Monk, who has destroyed Kovrin’s live, gave him a light, and the coveted death.
The story is written in two styles: in prose and euphemistic. In this case the usual joy of life and the everyday moments that surround the characters, are described in prose style. Euphony is used in conversations of Kovrin with the Monk. That is why the story blocks, which describe Kovrin’s communications with hallucination, are so clearly apparent. At the same time, all the folly things that the Monk says, Kovrin takes precisely seriously because of euphony of his speeches.
In the story has a quite interesting composition. The beginning is bright, joyful. Much attention is paid to the garden, as if it is the personification of Kovrin’s life. However, there is a small harbinger of woes: Pesotsky is too upset even the smallest trouble that occurred with a garden. It's like an alarm added to the overall feeling of idleness. The second wake-up call - a song about a crazy girl. With this song the author seemed to warn us of impending trouble. It is here that the unity of the real world stops. Kovrin meets a Monk and acquires an imaginary dream, an imaginary goal. Gradually unreal supersedes more and more reality. And when Kovrin’s close notice it and return him to the real world - imaginary ideals fall and Kovrin is lost in reality, yearning for himself previous. Here the author takes us back to the garden - the one full of life and colors. But now they are not available for Kovrin. And the story ends with the same song. Thus, the story is inherent in a certain cyclical, throughout the text the same points, the same phrases repeat. And they are the forerunners of a new tragedy.