On the very first page of the play, Lopakhin speaks of when he was a child. He tells Dunyasha:
I remember when I was only fifteen my old father struck me in the face
with his fist and my nose bled. We were out in the courtyard, and he had
been drinking. Madame Ranevsky, I remember it like yesterday, still a
lender young girl, brought me to the wash-hand stand, here, in this very
room, in the nursery. ‘Don’t Cry, little peasant,’ she said, ‘it’ll be all right
for your wedding.’ [A pause] ‘Little peasant!’ …. My father, it is true, was
a peasant, and here am I in a white waistcoat and brown boots; a silk
purse out of a sow’s ear; just turned rich, with plenty of money, but still
a peasant of the peasants (Chekhov 1).
This quote from Lopakhin informs the audience that even Lopakhin himself knows that he has come a long distance relative to when he was a young peasant. Madame Ranevsky used to care for Lopakhin when they were children, and now Lopakhin gives her financial advice ...
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...ing all over Russia at the time. The play takes place shortly after serfs were freed across the nation, which allowed for many former servants and serfs to experience a reversal of fate as Russia underwent a massive modernization.
“Time changes everything” is a bit of a cliche saying, but it is clearly represented within The Cherry Orchard. Lopakhin and Madame Ranevsky completely switch fates as time elapses throughout the play. These reversal of fates are often caused by ignorance and instability in decision-making, as shown by Madame Ranevsky. Simply because she sees herself as superior to a particular type of person, she loses everything. Although one might acquire lots of wealth one day, it is uncertain what fate holds for the next day.
Chekhov, Anton. The Cherry Orchard. Dover Thrift Edition ed. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 1991. Print.
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