8 April 2014
Past vs. Present
Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard focuses on an upper-class Russian woman and her family as they return to their home just before it is auctioned to pay the mortgage. Act I opens with the readers being introduced to Lopákhin and Dunyásha, a businessman and the maid, waiting for the owners of the estate to return. The owners include Liubóv, her brother Gáyev, and her daughter Anya. They finally arrive with various accompaniments. Várya, Liubóv’s adopted daughter is there too. Emotional reunions and general catch ups are exchanged. Through this, we learn Liubóv lost all her money supporting a no good man, and the cherry orchard will definitely be sold to pay their debts. Lopákhin is the only one with a sufficient idea as to how to save the orchard, he proposes the land to be cleared to lease it for summer homes, neither Líubóv nor Gáyev like this idea. In Act II, Lopákhin is still trying to convince the others of the plan to save the orchard, but Líubóv seems frankly uninterested. Act III is set in August; Líubóv is throwing a party, but anxiously awaiting the news of the cherry orchard. It becomes known that Lopákhin, the former son of a serf who worked on the estate, bought the land. Act IV is set inside the nursery, once again, with each character saying goodbye to orchard and leaving to the sound of the cherry orchard being cut down.
The Cherry Orchard is a play about pride and the ability to come to terms with one’s past in order to change it. With all of the characters, the reader sees that each is struggling with a memory. The author wants to show that the type of life they end up living depends on how the characters deal with their pasts. In this play, memory is seen both as a source of personal identity and as a burden preventing the attainment of happiness.
The consistent theme of memory is more specifically about breaking free from the past through change and acceptance. Chekhov...
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