The Cherry Orchard
by Anton Chekhov
The Cherry Orchard Theme of Society and Class
Class instability is the driving circumstance in The Cherry Orchard. Chekhov portrays Russia after in the freeing of the serfs, in a moment of flux. While the society used to be well-stratified, now everything's all mixed up. There are servants who want to stay servants, like 87-year-old Fiers. There are servants who pretend to be ladies and gentlemen, like Dunyasha and Yasha. There are former peasants who are rich and getting richer, like Lopakhin. And the aristocrats on their way nowhere but down.
Questions About Society and Class
- Why does Gaev have such a problem with Yasha and Lopakhin?
- Does Trofimov's student status place him outside of the social hierarchy?
- Why do the servants (Yasha, Dunyasha, Epikhodov) constantly pose as higher class than they are?
Chew on This
As Lubov's servants, Fiers and Yasha embody the change in social attitudes in turn-of-century Russia.
Trofimov's monologues make explicit the ideas of social change embedded in the play.