A reaction paper to "The Cherry Orchard" by Anton Chekhov

Essay by bigdawg89College, UndergraduateB+, October 2008

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"The Cherry Orchard" by Anton Chekhov is a play about a Russian family that encounters financial problems which force them to sell their treasured estate in an auction. First off, this play really appealed to me because Chekhov managed to create a comedy with a backdrop of war torn Russian society under the rule of Lenin. Although some do interpret it as a tragedy, I look at it the same way Chekhov meant it to be looked at, as a comedy. The characters, especially Simon Yephikodov and his clumsiness, suggest a cheerful tone along with Chekhov's satire and irony; but some believe it was a tragedy because the failure of their struggles in trying to save the orchard. Chekhov uses the characters to express his feelings about life and the Russian government throughout the play. However, I feel that for one to truly understand the underlying meanings in this play, it would be necessary to actually live in this society to fully grasp the peculiarity of the issues at hand.

The play took place on a Russian estate belonging to Mrs. Ranevsky. Mrs. Ranevsky was a woman who looked to throwing money around as a way to forget about the drowning of Grisha and her husband's death. She had come into town from Paris with her daughter Anya, along with Charlotte (Anya's governess), Yasha (a young servant), Leonid Gayev (Mrs. Ranevsky's brother), Varya (Her adopted daughter), and Firs (Her elderly servant). Everyone around her realized, but she had no idea she was so detached from reality. She did not see that she was no longer wealthy like she used to be, but rather deeply in debt. In order for her to get out of her debt, it is necessary to sell the estate. Yermolay Lopakhin, a...