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“But I Don’t Want To Write A Title”; An Analysis Of The Use Of Action To Find Happiness

1091 words - 5 pages

In a hotel suite, Dominic Cobb’s wife jumps off a ledge and dies in hopes of returning to what she thinks is the real world. Cobb must then decide whether he should forget the past and move on to find his own enjoyment or stay within an unconstructed dream space, where he is able to live with his wife. In Uncle Vanya, Anton Chekhov tells the story of a family of unhappy souls who have trouble finding pleasure in the world. As a result, Andre Gregory and Louis Malle use the opening sequence of Vanya on 42nd Street to foreshadow Chekhov’s argument that humans must take action find happiness, but only after they make peace with the past.
Throughout Anton Chekhov’s play Uncle Vanya, idle characters are unhappy while active characters are more content, which shows that action gives way to happiness. For instance, Yelena claims there is no happiness for her on the earth (Chekhov 171). However, Yelena does not do any work around the house, and she depends on her husband, Serabryakov, for food, lodging, and money. Others cherish and love her, and she has all the necessities of life without working, yet she is still upset. Since she has all needs for free, the only possible cause to her sorrow is her idleness. Furthermore, Vanya asserts that he is lazy and does nothing except complain; yet, he still claims that his brother-in-law, Serabryakov, has “destroyed my [his] life (Chekhov 148, 186).” Following the death of his sister, Vanya has worked for Serabryakov around the estate. However, since Yelena’s arrival, Vanya has become an idle man and no longer works for Serabryakov. Since he is not active enough to move forward in life, he lurks over the past, which makes him an unhappy man. On the other hand, Waffles, who constantly plays his guitar and fetches things for the family, is quite content even though his wife ran off the day after their wedding with a different man (Chekhov 150). Through this heart-wrenching event, Waffles should be devastated and possibly on the brink of depression. However, Waffles still helps his ex-wife, prepares food, and helps others, which shows that his activeness makes him a happier man. Since the two unhappiest characters are idle and the happy character is active, Chekhov indicates that action directly links to happiness.
In Uncle Vanya, Chekhov proves that illusions act as a barrier on the path to happiness through their ability to attach themselves to and control the host. In the play, Astrov, the family doctor, is often drunk due to the amount of alcohol he consumes (Chekhov 164). Moments before an operation, Astrov lost a patient due to typhus. Throughout the play, Astrov drinks alcohol in order to mask his feelings toward his dead patient. The vodka serves as a blockade that keeps him from moving on. When Sonya asks him to stop drinking, Astrov promises to discontinue, but moments later he gives in (Chekhov 167, 196). Because he is unable to overcome his problem with drinking, Chekhov reveals that illusions can...

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