Popova is the main character and heroine of the play ‘The Bear’. At the beginning of the play she appears as a gloomy widow but as the play progresses she leaves her mourning and accepts to be the beloved of Smirnov, the hero of the play. This change in her character comes abruptly and quite unexpectedly. But a close study of her character in the play shows that she was quite prepared to do so.All through the play she undergoes a conflict and changes her moods time and again especially towards the end of the play these changes come frequently. The conflict in her character and her changing moods amuse the readers and helps the story to flow on towards a delightful end.
As the play opens we find her as a young, beautiful and romantic widow who is leading her life lonely after the death of her husband. Smirnov comes to her to receive the payment of oats which he had sold to her late husband. She excuses giving him money on account of the absence of her steward. Smirnov reacts rudely on this. Upon this she loses her temper and exchanges hot words with him. Then she decides to fight a duel against him though she does not know how to fire the revolver.
The inconsistency in the character of Popova is highlighted when Smirnov proposes her. She changes her mind again and again. She asks him to go away and the next moment stops him to depart. She wants to change her mourning state into a happy one but is unable to make some quick decision. Thus it can easily be concluded that there is a sharp conflict or inconsistency in the character of Popova. She changes her preferences time and again and shows rapid changes in her moods.