Anton Chekhov

May 10, 2006

chekhov.jpg
(1860-1904)

Writer: short stories and plays
Depicts Russia around the turn of the twentieth century with great pity, gentleness, and kindness of heart: implied philosophy of kindness and humanity, love of beauty, sense of unexplainable mystery of life, sense of individual lonliness.
Explores small but significant events in ordinary lives, emphasizing the twists and turns of interpersonal relations, the characters' private worlds, and isolation from each other.
Dramatizes universal and timeless feelings rather than ideas that date and pass
Differs greatly from Dostoevsky and Tolstoy- much more in the stream of Western realism
There is no hope for society except in the gradual spread of enlightenment- distrust of ideologies and heroics- sympathy to all characters

The Cherry Orchard (1903/1904)

Themed around the loss of an orchard
Highly original and even paradoxical blend of comedy and tragedy

Quotations:

Yepihodov- Every day I meet with misfortune.  And I don't complain, I've got used to it, I even smile.

Gayev- Yes.  That's something… Dear, honored bookcase, hail to you who for more than a century have served the glorious ideals of goodness and justice!  Your silent summons to truthful toil has never weakened in all those hundred years, sustaining, through successive generations of our family, courage and faith in a better future, and fostering in us ideals of goodness and social consciousness.

Trofimov- Who knows? And what does it mean- to die? Perhaps man has a hundred senses, and at his death only the five we know perish, while the other ninety-five remain alive.

Trofimov- Mankind goes forward, developing its powers.  Everything that is now unattainable for it will one day come within man's reach and be clear to him; only we must work, helping with all our might those who seek the truth… I don't like very solemn faces, I'm afraid of them, I'm afraid of serious conversations.  We'd do better to keep quiet for a while.

Trofimov- Varya's afraid we'll fall in love with each other all of a sudden.  She hasn't left us alone for days.  Her narrow mind can't grasp that we're about love.  To avoid the petty and illusory, everything that prevents us from being free and happy- that is the goal and meaning of our life.  Forward! Do not fall behind, friends!

Trofimov- All Russia is our orchard.  Our land is vast and beautiful, there are many wonderful places in it.  Think of it, Anya, your grandfather, your great-grandfather and all your ancestors were serf owners, owners of living souls, and aren't human beings looking at you from every tree in the orchard, from every leaf, from every trunk? Don't you hear the voices? Oh, it's terrifying! 

Trofimov- You mustn't deceive yourself. For once in your life you must face the truth.

Pishchik- A young man in the train was telling me just now that a great philosopher recommends jumping off roofs.  'Jump!' says he; 'that's the long and the short of it!' Just imagine!

Firs-  Ah, when they're young, they're green…Life has gone by as if I had never lived.  I'll lie down a while… There's no strength left in you, old fellow; nothing is left, nothing.  Ah, you addlehead!

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2 Responses to “Anton Chekhov”

  1. jamie Says:

    Just searching on google and found your site. It was ranked fairly high on google to. Anyway just looking around to see why.
    thanks
    jamie

  2. Jim Says:

    Danger! Good blog not sure how I got here but was a good read.
    Cheers
    J


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