Symbolism in The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov
Mamma! Are you crying, mamma? My dear, good, sweet mamma! Darling, I love you! I bless you! The Cherry orchard is sold; it?s gone; its quite true, it?s quite true. But don?t cry, mamma, you?ve still got life before you, you?ve still got your pure and lovely soul. Come with me, darling, and come away from here. We?ll plant a new garden, still lovelier than this. You will see it and understand, and happiness, deep, tranquil happiness will sink down on your soul, like the sun at eventide, and you?ll smile, mamma. Come, darling, come with me!
The Cherry Orchard has been acclaimed as one of the greatest theatrical experiences of all time. It is clearly seen through the use of the more subtle, submerged, and persuasive techniques that he uses in writing this, his most famous play. The Cherry Orchard is important for three reasons: First, for its intrinsic textual richness, linguistic power and subtlety as a piece of dramatic prose; second, because of its crucial position in Russian cultural history as the culmination of all ?realist? nineteenth-century fiction and as the first classic of a new, arguably ?symbolist? or ?absurd? literature; third, because of its seminal role in the evolution of Twentieth-Century theater.
The plot structure in The Cherry Orchard is not as meaningful as the impact of events on the inner sensibilities of the characters. Chekhov divides his characters in The Cherry Orchard in a variety of ways so that the orchard and its sale take on different meaning for each of them. It is necessary then to examine the loss of the cherry through some of the major character; Yermolai Alexeyitch Lopakhin, Peter Trophimot, and Madame Ranevsky. When writing TCO he used these characters to express what the loss meant to each of them.
The Cherry Orchard was composed during the years 1903-1904 while Chekhov was dying of tuberculosis. It was his last work and is considered to be his masterpiece. It was first produced on January 17, 1904 by the Moscow Arts Theater, on the twenty-fifth anniversary of his career. The Cherry Orchard then was established as a classic in the 1950?s. It was recognized as a new type of drama due to the controversy of whether it was a comedy or drama.
Anton Chekhov conceived The Cherry Orchard as a comedy but had trouble persuading people it was not a drama. The play fulfills all the conventional requirements of a classical and of a realist drama. It aligns the action with time, from hopeful spring to despairing autumn. It has a crux to the plot that remains unresolved until the end of the third act - Will the estate be sold or saved? It has couples who seem destined to be married, servants who fail to serve a heroine with both grave flaws and charisma. The Cherry Orchard can be read in many ways, as a conflict between hope and despair, between conflicting illusions, or nature and mankind. Above all, it can be read as an evocation of honest pessimism...