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Dreamers versus Workers and Their Humanity - Essay Example

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Dreamers ought to be happier, but idealism has no place in the “new” world. The Cherry Orchard, a play written by Anton Chekhov, sums up the same view of humanity. In this play, Chekhov demonstrates the interplay between dreamers and workers. …
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Dreamers versus Workers and Their Humanity
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Download file to see previous pages The Cherry Orchard illustrates Chekhov's time, when feudalism shifted to capitalism and how it differentiated the dreamers from the workers, although Chekhov did not press judgment on these people, since he also believes that humanity is humanity because they are fraught with weaknesses. Chekhov's time represented the transition from feudalism to capitalism in Russia, which drastically altered the social class structure and contributed to the “defeat of the cultured elite”. He shows Madame Ranevskaya’s household as the “passing of the semifeudal existence of Russian landowners on their country estates”. Madame Ranevskaya composes the aging and fading Russian aristocracy, who slips into economic decline after centuries of upholding luxurious lifestyles. Another class emerges, nevertheless, the “semiliterate, ambitious middle class” that Lopakhin belongs to. Lopakhin has become wealthy because of his hard work, which the aristocrats lacked. He is part of the “workers” in the play. Lopakhin feels short of being part of the true, new upper class, however. He realises that he can never replace the upper class: “...you'll find I'm still a peasant down to the marrow of my bones” (Chekhov Act 1). This viewpoint may also be part of Chekhov's belief that the bourgeoisie is a class of its own that cannot fully usurp the ancient charm and sophistication of the former aristocracy. The characters depict Chekhov's idea that dreams are nothing without action. Madame Ranevskaya lives in the same dream that she is still wealthy. She sells her villa to have her daughter Anya go to Paris. Once there, they act as if they remain rich. Anya tells Varya: “We had dinner at a station; she asked for all the expensive things, and tipped the waiters one rouble each” (Chekhov 1). Instead of living within their means, Madame Ranevskaya continues her former wealthy lifestyle, which economically ruins her. Madame Ranevskaya also wants to save the orchard from being sold and divided. She is emotionally attached to the orchard, which is why she cannot bear selling it. The cherry trees stood for their aristocrat “happiness,” a happiness which Chekhov felt when he tended to his own orchard (Vorob'eva 82). Madame Ranevskaya knows that they cannot rely on Gaev, because he is also a dreamer who does act to save the orchard. He wants to save the orchard though, because it stands for their erstwhile affluence. He mentions to Lopakhin that their cherry orchard was once mentioned in the Encyclopaedic Dictionary. The dictionary represents the extinction of aristocracy, who will only be remembered in the pages of history. Varya also dreams of Lopakhin's proposal, but the latter does not feel he deserves Varya. Varya expresses her bitterness to Anya: “But everybody talks about our marriage, everybody congratulates me, and there's nothing in it at all, it's all like a dream” (Chekhov 1). Indeed, these characters have various dreams that they never act on. Gaev illustrates the futility of dreaming:“I keep thinking and racking my brains; I have many schemes, a great many, and that really means none.” The play draws the difference between dreaming and realising those dreams. But dreaming is better than having no dreams at all. Chekhov shows that people with no aspirations are more deplorable than those who dream. Yephodov, who earned the nickname of two-and-twenty misfortunes because of his ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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