Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard Essay

888 Words 4 Pages
In the very early twentieth century, Anton Chekhov composed a play entitled The Cherry Orchard, which focused on many themes including childishness, clinging to the past, and hypocrisy of humans, all of which were clearly represented throughout the play. These themes are all causes of the theme that stands out in The Cherry Orchard above all else, this being the reversal of fates. Madame Ranevsky is the joint owner of a large estate which neighbors the home of Lopakhin, a son of the serf who belonged to the Ranevsky family before the liberation of serfs in Russia. Over the course of time throughout the play, one notices a certain irony in the roles of both Madame Ranevsky and Lopakhin, as well as other characters.

On the very first
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Your property is only fifteen miles

from the town; the railway runs close beside it; and if only you will cut up

the cherry orchard and the land along the river into building lots and let it

off on lease for villas, you will get at least two thousand five hundred pounds

a year of it (Chekhov 8).

After giving this advice, the family accuses Lopakhin of speaking rubbish. A peasant having knowledge such as Lopakhin proves that he has come from being an insignificant peasant to a wise, rich man. Madame Ranevsky, on the other hand, was born into wealth and is now falling closer and closer to the poverty line. This shows reversal of fates over their generation.

In this time period, peasants were thought of the same way freed slaves were thought of after the Civil War. Some African Americans went on to become successful and own insurance companies, law firms, and other profitable corporations. White people despised the fact that some of the people that used to be slaves were now becoming more financially successful than most white members of society. In the play, Lopakhin is most likely looked down upon because he is wealthier than most people, and he is also a peasant. Lopakhin is not the only character to have a reversal of fate. Most notably, Madame Ranevsky likewise encounters this same sort of change of fate; however, instead of going from poor to rich, she goes from rich to poor. Despite her downfall from all her wealth and grandeur,
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