The banker is one of the two characters in the story. The story discusses the change a man undergoes when exiled to solitary confinement.
Chekhov tells the story from the point of view of the banker, who is the one keeping the prisoner. Fifteen years ago, when he agreed to the bet, the banker was a rich men with millions to spare, but by the time the bet comes due, he has gambled away most of his fortune.
The amount he owes to the prisoner accounts for most of his assets, so in order to avoid ending up broke he contemplates killing the prisoner and pinning the murder on one of his servants. However, when he decides to carry out the deed, he finds a note where the prisoner renounces his reward. Thus the banker does not have to kill his prisoner.
The lawyer is initially presented as a young man who attended the banker's party fifteen years before the story is told. He opposes the banker's arguments in a heated discussion about death penalty vs. imprisonment for life.
The lawyer voluntarily is imprisoned for 15 years by the banker in exchange for 2 million rubles. Before, he is an idealistic young man, full of hopes and dreams at the tender age of 25.
During his imprisonment he undergoes a massive transformation: he ultimately renounces his reward for winning the bet, satisfied instead with just proving his point. He has become a bitter, skeletal man, looking much much older than his 40 years.
Guests at the party
The other guests at the party are not named, nor do we know what their occupations are–except that some are journalists and intellectual men. (6)
The Bet Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The Bet is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
During his imprisonment, the prisoner uses books as a means of coping without human interaction. He finds solace in knowledge, and, more generally, in learning. The story can thus be read as something of a self-aware work of literature: it...