The Non-Sympathetic Character of Byelinkov in The Man in a Case
It is hard to sympathize with a person who has a complete lack of happiness in their life. In Wendy Wasserstein's The Man in a Case, Byelinkov lives a dull, uneventful life, which only he is content with. He performs the exact same routine every day and has rendered this routine almost his entire life. Byelinkov's tedious life is expressed throughout the play by way of comments made to Varinka, as well as through his daily habits and rituals.
Byelinkov is a Latin and Greek teacher at the local school in the village of Mironitski. He is well respected and known by many people throughout the village for his extensive knowledge. Byelinkov translates numerous stories and documents each week and can only concentrate on his work if he is alone, so most of his time is spent in solitude.
Byelinkov is engaged to marry Varinka, whose personality, on the other hand, is completely opposite of his own. She lives moment by moment, where as he plans out everything. Varinka has an almost childish personality and temperament to her. The two only seem to belong together if the saying opposites attract is in fact true. Where Byelinkov enjoys only his studies and the proper things in life, Varinka enjoys everything that is not proper or sophisticated.
Most of the play takes place in a garden, where Byelinkov and Varinka discuss their plans of marriage. In the opening line of the play Byelinkov exclaims to Varinka "You are ten minutes late." She ignores his coarse greeting and continues to tell him of a gift she received earlier in the day from the lady at the market. The lady told her how fond of Byelinkov she was and asked Varinka to give him a basket of...