Essay, Research Paper: Cherry Orchard By Chekhov

Literature: Anton Chekhov

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There is a convincing debate whether The Cherry Orchard is a tragedy or a
comedy. Chekhov strongly argues that the play is a comedy and should be
performed as a comedy. The philosopher Aristotle can support Chekhov perception
of his play. Aristotle defines a comedy as “an imitation of characters of a
lower type who are not bad in themselves but whose faults possess something
ludicrous in them.” The misinterpretation of The Cherry Orchard is due to a
misunderstanding of what a comedy is. The sympathy and compassion of the main
characters in The Cherry Orchard should not blind the reader to the fact that
they are virtually comic characters. For example no character could be more
ludicrous then a patrician like Gayev, whose characteristics according to
Chekhov are “suavity and elegance”. It is not the fact that Gayev becomes a
bank official that is laughable but that sense the beginning of the play it is
made quite clear that he would not be able to hold a job for even a month. It is
also ironic that Gayev would become a bank official considering that it is
obvious that he and the rest of his family are all terrible with money. Along
with Gayev his sister’s ability to understand business and budget their money
is completely ludicrous. Through out the play Ranyevskaya continuously spends
money although the family is broke and losing everything they own. She has
Leonid give Pishchik two hundred and forty rubles although she has told Pishchik
“I have no money, my sweet.” This is ridiculous and the reader has to laugh
at the ignorance of this family. Even more ludicrous is Ranyevskaya concern for
the lost of her belongs but makes no attempt to save them. After Lopakhin has
spent act one and some of act two explaining how to save the land Ranyevskaya is
ably to ask, “what can we possibly do? Tell us.” This leaves Lopakhin to
make a comical comment about this family “such a strange unbusiness like
people.” Although tragic events are taking place through out the play, the
characters actions and dialect is comical. The symbolism of the sale of the
cherry orchard can be sent as comical; it becomes a seminal icon for the
memories of the family. This play is generated on seminal values of this family.
No one in the family wants to see the cherry orchard go but it is ludicrous that
the family does not see that the cherry orchard is going either by sale or
development. Sense this is a fact, it is only risible that the family should
profit from the lost of the cherry orchard. The importance of seminal values
should be over run by the importance of survival. Ranyevskaya does not seem to
be concerned with survival and can only see the cherry orchard as a seminal
object. This is completely ridiculous and demonstrates the comical actions of
Ranyevskaya. The view of the cherry orchard as a seminal object also effects the
true objective of the cherry orchard. Firs says: “In the old days, forty,
fifty years ago, they used to dry the cherries, they used to soak them, they
used to pickle them, they used to make jam out of them, and year after year.”
This caption informs the reader that the original purpose for the land was for
profit. Ranyevskaya memories of the orchard as a fantastic playground disallows
her to see the truth that the cherry orchard was just her parents business and
it is time to change the business because times have changed. Every one of the
many characters was carefully planned out to show some purpose in the message
conveyed in The Cherry Orchard. Chekhov is able to show that the core of
humanity is full of ludicrous emotions and ideas. The importance of the use of
comedy in the play conveys with the importance of comedy in our lives. It shows
the reader how the most ridiculous moments and decisions are probably the most
important ones. The decisions of the characters are full of “faults that
posses something ludicrous in them” which allows this to be considered a
comedy.
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