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The content of A. P. Chekhov’s story (“Conversation of a drunk with a sober devil”) is considered in several aspects. Firstly, the regular nature of the image of a trait is revealed, which entered into frank communication with a drunk retired official Lakhmatov; manifests the internal form of phraseology to get drunk to hell ‘(get drunk) to an extreme degree, heavily or very much’, taking into account the information from the field of narcology. Secondly, the correlative description of the representative of “evil spirits” external appearance with the similar information from the literary and artistic text and modern ethnolinguistic research is established. In addition, attention is drawn to the the main functions description of the trait in connection with the changes in public life in Russia at the end of the 19th century as well as the acquisition by people of a number of negative, vicious qualities that make it difficult for the representatives of the "evil spirit" to perform their harmful "activities." The social status, occupation and moral qualities of a former official Lakhmatov, previously engaged in food and money and clothing supplies to the army.

The artistic "recoding" of the main characters in the storyis considered: on the one hand, the drunk Lakhmatov is "moved" from the real situation to a different being, where he talks with the devil; on the other hand, a mythological character, a representative of the other world, is in a real situation and “on equal terms” talks with a person sitting at the same table with him. It is emphasized that the impurity’s revelations regarding the fact that many of the devils “enter the people” give reason to talk about the writer’s appeal to the conditionality, mobility of the border between “evil forces” and people, and in general to the ethical and philosophical problem of the essence of good and evil.

Key words

Image of a devil, mythology, reality, artistic detail, language features.