Basics of Literature

Analysis of chameleon by Anton Chekhov


Chameleon by Anton Chekhov is a compelling, hilarious and moving tale about the hypocrisy of a small Russian town.The Chameleon is Anton Chekhov’s most famous short story. It is a comedy of manners which depicts the life of an upper-middle-class Russian doctor in a provincial town.Chameleon also tells of a woman who marries and has children, but is never satisfied with her lot in life and always tries to escape from the situation she’s in now, until she eventually dies

Plot: The story is about the life of a wealthy merchant family in a provincial town in Russia

The Chameleon is the story of a wealthy merchant family in a provincial town in Russia. The patriarch of the family, Pavel Ivanovich, is a successful businessman who has built up a prosperous business. However, he is also a strict and tyrannical father who rules his family with an iron fist. His wife, Anna Petrovna, is a meek and submissive woman who has always deferred to her husband’s authority. Pavel and Anna have four children: three sons (Ivan, Mikhail, and Nikolai) and a daughter (Nadezhda).

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The story focuses on the youngest son, Nikolai, who is an unambitious and dreamy young man. He spends his days reading novels and poetry, much to his father’s displeasure. Nikolai is in love with Vera Kuzminichna, a beautiful but poor girl from a lower-class background. Vera is also being courted by Ivan, the eldest son of the family.

 Pavel Ivanovich disapproves of both Nikolai’s dreaminess and Vera’s lower-class background, and he insists that Ivan marry Vera instead. Ivan does not want to marry Vera but he cannot disobey his father’s wishes. However, Vera loves Nikolai and not Ivan.

The situation comes to a head when Pavel finds out about Nikolai’s secret correspondence with Vera. He furiously demands that Nikolai give up Vera or leave the house forever. Nikolai chooses to leave and goes to  live with Vera’s family.

The Chameleon is a tragic story about the conflict between love and duty, and the ultimately destructive power of tyranny.

Characters: Tsarnev, Maria, Varvara

Tsarnev – A simple man who is content with his life as a shepherd. However, when he falls in love with Maria, he realizes that he is not content with his life and wants more.

Maria – A beautiful young woman who Tsarnev falls in love with. She is content with her life, but she also realizes that she could have more.

Varvara – Maria’s friend who helps her to see the potential in Tsarnev.

Theme: The changing of one’s mood or personality based on the current situation and surroundings.

Anton Chekhov’s short story, “Chameleon,” is about a man who changes his personality and mood based on his current situation and surroundings. The protagonist, Pyotr Petrovitch, is a government official who is always trying to please everyone around him. He is a chameleon who adapts to his environment in order to fit in and be liked.

Pyotr Petrovitch is first introduced at a party where he is trying to impress the other guests with stories about his travels. He comes across as boastful and arrogant, but the other guests seem to like him. He then goes to visit his sick wife in the hospital where he acts very differently. He is caring and gentle with her, telling her not to worry about anything.

The next scene takes place at Pyotr Petrovitch’s office where he is meeting with a woman who has come to ask for help. She is poor and hungry, but Pyotr Petrovitch is rude and unsympathetic towards her. He tells her that she should be grateful for what she has and that she should not expect any help from him.

The final scene takes place at Pyotr Petrovitch’s home where he is having dinner with some friends. He is once again trying to impress them with stories of his travels, but this time he comes across as boring and tedious. His friends are not  interested in what he has to say and they soon leave.

 Pyotr Petrovitch is a chameleon who changes his personality based on his current situation. He is always trying to please those around him, but he is not sincere. He is a fraud who is only interested in impressing others.


The play “Chameleon” by Anton Chekhov is a study of human nature and the hypocrisy that often accompanies it. The play centers around the character of Ivan, a man who is trying to escape his past and present himself as a new person. However, as the play progresses, Ivan’s true colors begin to show through and he is revealed to be a fraud.

This play is a perfect example of the hypocrisy that exists in many people. We all try to put on a persona that we think will impress others or make us seem more desirable. But eventually, our true selves always come out. It’s important to remember that we are all flawed and imperfect beings, and that’s okay. Accepting ourselves for who we are is one of the first steps to happiness.


Anton Chekhov’s short story “Chameleon” is a beautiful and moving tale about a man who transforms himself to fit into the world around him. The protagonist, Stepan Stepanovich, is a perfect example of how we can all change ourselves to better suit our environment and the people in it. His journey is one that will resonate with readers long after they’ve finished the story, and his ultimate message is one of hope and acceptance.

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