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The Seagull, Anton Chekhov Essay

1984 words - 8 pages

It is after sunset and a make-shift, homemade stage stands in the outdoor setting of Sorin's provincial, Russian estate and farm. A lake serves as natural scenery behind the stage. Medvedenko, a poor schoolteacher, believes he would be a happier man and a more attractive suitor to Masha if he had more money. Masha, the daughter of the estate manager, Shamrayev, fixates on her love for Treplev and does not agree. Snorting snuff, Masha openly acknowledges that she knows Medvedenko loves her but explains that she cannot love him back.Treplev is nervous and busy as he gets things ready for the first performance of his play. Treplev tells Sorin that Arkadina is jealous of his play and hates it before she has seen it. Treplev picks a flower and pulls off its feathers saying, "She loves me, she loves me not," etc. He concludes that Arkadina does not love him. He longs to be accepted by her peers, the writers, actors and other artists who comprise the Russian intelligentsia and artistic elite based on his own work, not because he is the son of famous actors.Nina arrives. She tells Treplev that her parents are afraid she will want to become an actress if she spends time with the bohemians at Sorin's estate. She says that it is the lake that attracts her to the estate, "as if I were a seagull." Nina and Treplev kiss. Treplev tells her he loves her, but Nina does not return his affectionate talk. Workers and guests interrupt their intimate moment.We learn that Paulina loves Dorn and that they are involved in a romantic relationship but he is mostly apathetic about her affection. Arkadina shows off to the group by reciting lines of Gertrude in Shakespeare's play, Hamlet. Treplev responds by reciting Hamlet's lines back to her. His lines compare Arkadina's relationship with Trigorin to Gertrude's tainted relationship with Claudius. Treplev's play begins and recites a long monologue about a universal soul and man's place on earth into infinity. It is abstract and symbolic. Arkadina rudely interrupts the performance several times by talking out loud to her friends in the audience. When a special effect of red lights in the form of two eyes and the smell of sulpher rises in a cloud from the stage, Arkadina makes such a fuss that Treplev ends the play and closes the curtain. He runs off.Nina meets Trigorin for the first time. Arkadina laughs at Nina's awe of Trigorin's role as a creator. Treplev desperately desires Nina but learns that she has already left. He runs off. Masha takes a pinch of snuff. Dorn criticizes her. She admits to him that she is in love with Treplev. Dorn sighs over the abundance of unrequited love in his presence.Shamrayev and Arkadina argue about the use of the horses. Arkadina wants to use them later in the day to go into town. Shamrayev has them out in the field. He stubbornly will not allow her to use them later. She threatens to leave the estate and return to the country. Nina gives Dorn a bouquet of fresh picked flowers. Paulina takes...

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