Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard Essay

Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard Essay

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In the very early twentieth century, Anton Chekhov composed a play entitled The Cherry Orchard, which focused on many themes including childishness, clinging to the past, and hypocrisy of humans, all of which were clearly represented throughout the play. These themes are all causes of the theme that stands out in The Cherry Orchard above all else, this being the reversal of fates. Madame Ranevsky is the joint owner of a large estate which neighbors the home of Lopakhin, a son of the serf who belonged to the Ranevsky family before the liberation of serfs in Russia. Over the course of time throughout the play, one notices a certain irony in the roles of both Madame Ranevsky and Lopakhin, as well as other characters.

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 ...


... middle of paper ...


...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.


Works Cited

Chekhov, Anton. The Cherry Orchard. Dover Thrift Edition ed. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 1991. Print.

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