Major Theme and Symbolisms in the Cherry Orchard

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The Cherry Orchard, by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, is a significant play in terms of various symbolisms it encompasses. As the title suggests, the play took place in a cherry orchard. As we discussed in class and as far as my studies are concerned, the major theme of the play is the “inevitability to change”. Since it was set in twentieth century, it was the time of change for Russia where the country was just opening up to foreigners and Russian inhibitants were falling away. (Ren 2003) The plot encompasses lots of various symbolisms. For instance, “memory” is an important symbol in the play. What memory means for each character and what it represents varies (Sparknotes 2008) Each character sees different aspect of the past, for example, Mrs Ranevsky perceives her dead mother walking through the orchard in act one; for her the orchard is a personal relic of her idyllic childhood, however Trofimov, near the end of act two, sees in the orchard faces of the serfs who lived and died in slavery on Mrs. Ranevsky’s estate; for him the orchard represents the memory of their suffering. (Sparknotes 2008) However, the sale of the orchard symbolizes some kind of order within the society. For instance, when the orchard was auctioned off, ironically, it was purchased by Lopakhin, a former serf and worker of Mrs. Ranevsky. (Ren 2003) Symbolically it was through the sale of the cherry orchard that gave the idea for the old order to make way for the new with Mrs. Ranevsky and her stubborness to change signifying the old order and Lopakhin’s ability to acclimate as well as ingenuity for the new order. (Ren 2003) As I said about the variety of the symbolisms in the introduction, Fiers himself is also a symbol of time and Anna is another symbolic figure portraying hope. The destruction of the estate, however, symbolizes the change. (Gradesaver 2008) Chekhov craftily

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