Commentary on The Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov
(This commentary is based on the extract from the play by Chekhov, A. (translated by Chernomordik, V). The Three Sisters, Grove Press, New York, pp 66-68. The extract starts with “Well. They are saying we should take up a subscription” and ends with “don’t you think? It’s not right.”)
The above passage is a dialog extracted from the third act of Chekhov’s play The Three Sisters. The work was written In Russia in the year 1900. This was during the final years of the Russian Empire, where the small portion of upper-class families would live in luxury and languor, while the peasants in the countryside had a limited routine consisting mainly of labor and faced poverty. Chekhov’s work illustrated how an aristocratic family from Moscow deals with the simplicity and dullness of a small town and how the life and people there agitate them. In the beginning of the drama, the brother in the family (Andrei) falls in love with a local villager (Natalya) , a very ignorant and provincial girl, who he later marries his three sisters never approve or trust her because of her background and manners. During Act Two the viewer/reader is transferred into the same house in the small village, however four years later, when Natalya and Andrei have gotten married and the former peasant girl now believes she is the true “woman of the house”. Furthermore, in Act Three we see how the different characters have changed in their attitude and philosophies. The chosen passage demonstrates Chekhov’s use of characterization and Irony to embody the themes Provinciality, hypocrisy, and matriarchy. It is a dialogue between Natalya and Andrei’s oldest sister Olga and is dealing with Natalya’s despotic behavior towards the three sisters’ beloved nanny, Anfisa. Natalya’s speech about Anfisa conveys complete irony, because at the beginning of the play she was a shy villager with no social skills for the high society, and now, demands that the...
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