The Seagull

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The Seagull, Anton Chekhov
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Key Facts
full title · The Seagull
author · Anton Chekhov
type of work · Play
genre · Tragi-Comedy
language · Russian. English Translation by Paul Schmidt
time and place written · Written in 1895, Russia
date of first publication · Not applicable (drama)
publisher · HarperCollins, Harper Flamingo edition
narrator · None
point of view · Not applicable (drama)
tone · Absurd; Existential
tense · Not applicable (drama)
settings (times) · Around 1895, summer; Then, two years later setting (place) · Sorin's estate and farm
protagonists · Konstantin Treplev; Irina Arkadina; Nina; Boris Trigorin major conflict · Konstantin Treplev longs for success at writing and to gain recognition of his talents from his mother, a famous stage actress, Irina Arkadina and her lover, a famous writer, Boris Trigorin; Neither Arkadina nor Trigorin see any merit in Konstantin's abilities; Trigorin does nothing to advise Konstantin and Arkadina only gets in his way with her competitive spirit and condescending attitude about his goals to create new forms in the theater and in writing; Trigorin has an affair with the young girl Konstantin loves, Nina, a hopeful actress, breaking Arkadina and Konstantin's hearts. rising actions · Nina gives Trigorin a parting gift of a medallion inscribed with reference to a line from one of his books; Trigorin asks Arkadina for permission to have an affair with Nina. Arkadina begs Trigorin to remain faithful; Trigorin agrees to stay with Arkadina; Nina decides to move to Moscow to become an actress and to be near Trigorin. climax · Trigorin and Nina kiss and promise to meet each other in Moscow. falling action · In Act Four Nina and Trigorin have an affair. Nina has Trigorin's baby, it dies, and he leaves her for Arkadina who he continued to be involved with during his relationship with Nina. themes · The role of an artist in life and in love; evaluating the Self; existentialism and the pursuit of a meaningful life motifs · Unrequited love; existential crisis; the banality of existence symbols · The seagull; the lake; weather

foreshadowing · In Act Two, Konstantin predicts his own death when he places the seagull at Nina's feet and tells her he will "I intend to shoot myself one of these days, just like this." In Act Two, Trigorin describes his new story idea to Nina. His story will be about a young girl like Nina who becomes destroyed like the seagull by a man who has nothing better to do. -------------------------------------------------

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Context
The son of a grocer and the grandson of a serf, Anton Chekhov was born on January seventeen, 1860 in Taganrog, a provincial town on the Sea of Azov in southern Russia. Serfdom was the Russian equivalent of American slavery. Chekhov was the third son of Pavel Egorovich Chekhov and Evgeniya Yakovlevna. When Chekhov was sixteen, his father fled to Moscow to escape debtors he owed for his failed grocery business. His mother followed her husband to Moscow in July of that year with her younger children, leaving Chekhov behind in Taganrog to finish school and to tutor the nephew of the man who bought their estate for an unfairly cheap price. Chekhov had already contributed humorous stories to a magazine he created with his brother that he called Zaika (Stammerer). In 1879, Chekhov moved to Moscow to attend medical school and published his first short story, The Letter from the Don Landowner Stephen Vladimirovich N. to his Learned Neighbor Dr. Friederick. He continued to publish stories and graduated medical school in 1884. In 1887, Chekhov's play, Ivanov was performed for the...
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