THE REQUIEM is a much discussed short story by Anton Chekov.
Andrey Andreyitch is a former domestic servant , running errands for people, with his earnings opens a shop and becomes a shopkeeper. He visits a local church and make a written request for a Requiem service for his daughter Mariya , who has recently died. Most of the people having left the church after the Mass, except two- three people, the priest calls out to him. Angry and peeved that Andrey Andreyitch in his request note that mentioned his deceased daughter as ‘Mariya , the harlot’ , the priest Father Grigory takes him to task for using such an ‘unseemly’ word for his own daughter. It transpires that Mariya the late daughter of Andrey Andreyitch was an actress and a famous one . The priest himself that he has found her name mentioned in newspapers. The priest cautions him against using this outrageous word , more so since he is at a holy and sacred place like the church. But we find that the word is so much entrenched in his psyche that it escapes his mouth once again.
Mariya who had visited her father about three years back had longed for a peaceful life and serene surroundings in which she finds her father. There is a somewhat hidden streak of sympathy in her also for her father . Given, that theatre and acting were not held in esteem in a conservative society, it is beyond any logic or explanation that a father should use such a nasty word for his own daughter , without any provocation, even while requesting the church for a prayer for her soul to rest in peace.Even the priest who represents the church that inter alia vouches for very high standards of propriety and morality , takes exception to the objectionable word.
The story leaves the reader baffled .