In the story a rich banker with more money than he can deal with bets a lawyer he cant stay in a prison for 15 years for two million dollars. In the end very different traits show out more than others did in the beginning and an informal friendship is made.
The central theme in Anton Chekovs “The bet ” is Freedom. “Your books have given me wisdom. All that the unresting thought of man has created in the ages is compressed into a small compass in my brain. I know that I am wiser than all of you.” A quote that I think relates to this is “knoledge is power”. The lawyer is saying that with all of the wisdom that he has gained has put him above people. “You may be proud, wise, and fine, but death will wipe you off the face of the earth as though you were no more than mice burrowing under the floor.” This is related to the beginning of the story when the parter they banker is hosting is talking about what is more humane ‘The death sentence or life in prison’. How these two relate is that there both talking about that you will die eventually. Which executioner is the more humane, he who kills you in a few minutes or he who drags the life out of you in the course of many years?”
“The Bet” emphasizes the idea that the life of a human is far more valuable than money. In the end when the banker is reading the lawyers letter and it says,” To prove to you in action how I despise all that you live by, I renounce the two million of which I once dreamed as of paradise and which now I despise. To deprive myself of the right to the money I shall go out from here five hours before the time fixed, and so break the compact …” From his 15 years in solidary confinement the lawyer learned that money, even though usefull, can seem over-need. Materialism was a concept that starting off comsuming him and after is time in in solitude he realises than he is better off without the peerpressure or the world