What Are the Author's Purpose Behind the Portrayal of Turgenev's Anna Sergeyevna in ‘Fathers and Sons', and Chekhov's Natasha Ivanova in ‘Three Sisters', and How Are They Presented?

Topics: Love, Novel, Anton Chekhov Pages: 5 (1775 words) Published: October 23, 2005
Authors develop their characters with certain intent, ranging from the presentation of a specific aspect of society to simply devices to thicken the plot. The characters are presented through narration, and even more through their dialogue and interactions, which helps the audiences formulate a clear conception of the characters. Is it also key to remember that of the two texts I will be interrogating ‘Fathers and Sons' is a novel, where ‘Three Sisters' is a play, which will affect character portrayal. This essay will examine the stimulus behind the portrayal of Turgenev's Anna Sergeyevna, and Chekhov's Natasha Ivanova, and the way in which these characters are presented.

Richard Gilman's critique of ‘Three Sisters' claimed it to be ‘animated, often exhilarating, funny and deeply sad by turns, but never dull; far from being awkward, it's a masterpiece of verbal economy and dramaturgical grace.' Chekhov's goal in writing was to create a masterpiece out of seemingly uninteresting circumstances. ‘Three Sisters' is not only a story about three sisters who never manage to get to Moscow; it is a representation of human love, loss, and salvation. Natasha drives many of the subplots, and it is her exploitation of the sisters' situation as well as their bad luck that allow for their complete loss of power and her position of dominance within the household. Chekhov intended his play for his standard gentile audience, and wrote his work to convey his social critique. Turgenev also directed his novel towards the Russian intelligentsia, but his work was much more misunderstood and misrepresented than Chekhov's. Turgenev's motivation in writing ‘Fathers and Sons' was to try and created a balanced view of the different opinions of the time, he wanted to present, ‘the swiftly altering physiognomy of those to belong to the cultured section of the Russian society.' Despite this attempt, Turgenev managed to offend both the right and the left, neither sure whose side he was on, and the meaning of ‘Fathers and Sons' is still disputed today.

‘Three Sisters' is a play divided into four acts, spanning over as many years. This allows for the significant changes in the role of the characters, especially Natasha. She is first introduced as an undeserving object of Andrey's love, and the only time she was addressed by any of the sisters was a comment by Olga that her belt is ‘sort of odd'. However, by the end of the play she has not only transcended wearing fur coats, but moved to ironically criticizing Irina's ‘tasteless belt'. It may be a mistake to analyze Natasha's behavior too deeply in terms of personality; however, as it is important to remember that she is a character in a play, her main role being to antagonize the sisters. The lack of humanism given to her may be due to the fact that her unrounded character does not alter her purpose in the play, and it may also represent Chekhov's pessimistic view of domestic bliss. There are also issues in closely analyzing Turgenev's characterization of Anna. Despite the fact she, unlike the majority of the characters, represents no particular aspect of Russian society, she is still written with a purpose. Her refusal of Bazarov is due to the fact that Turgenev wishes to illustrate the effects that unrequited love would have on a nihilist, like Bazarov. While Turgenev didn't want to criticize Nihilists directly, he used this philosophy as a vessel in order to make a broader illustration of rejection and emotion. When introducing a character, Turgenev will give a brief background, but the reader comes to know the characters intimately through their words and actions. This method allows the reader to make up their own minds about the psychology of the characters, and become more involved in the plot. Turgenev uses many devises in order to characterize Anna. He writes in the third person, which creates an objective view of the characters emotions and thoughts. The short time span...
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