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The Cherry Orchard

The Cherry Orchard


by Anton Chekhov

The Homeless Man/Passerby

Character Analysis

Various translations call him various things, but the Passerby plays the same role no matter what we call him: a rude awakening for the dreamy aristocrats. The sun has set, the "breaking string" sound is heard and Fiers recalls the emancipation of the serfs. Enter the Passerby, drunk and begging for money. Varya overreacts and shrieks, Lopakhin rushes to handle the situation, and Lubov offers a gold coin. The Passerby reminds them of the reality of the land just outside their safe, comfortable estate. The interaction is a direct reflection of Trofimov's criticism of Russian intellectuals: "They philosophize, and at the same time, the vast majority of us, ninety-nine out of a hundred, live like savages… it's obvious that all our nice talk is only carried on to distract ourselves and others" (2.105).