Departure From Serfdom The Cherry Orchard Analysis

982 words - 4 pages

The Cherry OrchardBy Anton ChekhovDeparture from SerfdomThe Cherry Orchard was penned in the middle of one the greatest ages of social upheaval in the history of the world. Its author, Anton Chekhov, was born in Russia in 1860, the year before Alexander II, czar of Russia, abolished servitude. Chekhov's grandfather was a servant, but his father went beyond "serfdom," and became a grocer. Chekhov elevated himself to an even higher level by becoming a doctor, a landowner, and a respected author and playwright.The human tragedies of the Lenin era become known through Chekhov's integration of himself and his ideals into The Cherry Orchard. The Social Democratic Labor Party in Russia was founded in 1898, and in 1903, Lenin was in power as the head of the Bolsheviks. The Cherry Orchard was written in 1904.In his work, Chekhov places himself, vicariously, in the character of Lopahin. Lopahin is one of the main characters in The Cherry Orchard. Lopahin is objectively seen as either antagonist or protagonist, dependent on the reader's point of view. He is, just as Chekhov, the descendant of serfs, but has risen above his ancestors' status to become a landowner. He achieves this end through peaceful means. Lopahin personifies the peaceful takeover of a monarchy by the once enslaved serfs.The emotional aura, which permeates from beginning to end, is a vehicle for Chekhov to stress his lack of animosity of and his compassion for the old ruling class. In Act I, while attempting to be civil and to work within the system, Lopahin addresses Madamé Ranevskaya, a landowner. His comments concern her brother, Leonid Andreyevich, and are an attempt to expose the convictions of his heart. Lopahin expresses his lack of aggression toward his friend when he says, "Your brother, Leonid, says I am a vulgarian and an exploiter. Dear God! My father was a serf of your father's and grandfather's. I've forgotten all about that; I love you as though you were my sister - even more" (Chekhov 1305).In this statement, Lopahin is expressing how the people of Russia can live without hatred of the old ruling class. He is making the point that the serfs are free, and they should try to forget all the old hatreds from the past. They should work towards loving one another. It appears a simple thing to say, but to the one losing his or her own land to a new government system, it offers little comfort. The reader must remind himself of the transformation from servitude labor to labor that will require being paid that Chekhov is writing of in Russia at the time. Throughout the play, Lopahin warns his friends of the old ruling class to improve management of their land or they will loss it. He goes so far as to suggest a solution to their dilemma. He reminds the family the cherry orchard is to be sold soon in order to pay their...

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