Symbolism in The Cherry Orchard
Throughout The Cherry Orchard, inanimate objects are utilized as symbols for the characters. These physical things reveal aspects of the characters’ personalities, feelings and principles. Over the course of the play, the meaning of the symbols change reflecting the development of the characters they are representing. These symbols include the bookcase, the nursery and the cherry orchard as a whole. Act 1:
Early in the act, the nursery is depicted as a symbol for both Lyubov and Lopakhin’s background and past. On page 316, the nursery induced Lopakhin to reminisce on the poverty of his youth but also to iterate the theme that although he is wealthy, socially he will forever possess the stigma of serfdom. This statement also foreshadows the fact that he will face animosity from the characters due to his meager beginnings. “Don’t cry little peasant… I may be rich but if you think about it, analyze it, I’m a peasant through and through.” (316,1) Lyubov however, has a much more emotional reaction. The room symbolizes the innocence and happiness of her childhood. “The nursery… my dear, lovely nursery… I used to sleep here when I was little… (Weeps.)” (318,1) She experiences the same delight with the bookcase. The magnitude of her infatuation with these objects characterizes her as mentally vulnerable and unable to cope with the present era. In Act 1, the cherry orchard represents the past, present and future of Russia and the past present and future of the character’s lives. Having grown up around the orchard, to Gayev and Lyubov it is intertwined to their past and therefore represents an idyllic place where they can be unaffected from the outside world. The termination of the cherry orchard would mean the death of the sense of security and contentment it evokes. Lyubov exclaims, “Oh my childhood, my innocence!… I looked out from here into the orchard, happiness awoke with me each morning.” (330,1) Act 2:
The second act almost...
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