The Cherry Orchard
The Cherry Orchard
by Anton Chekhov
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The Cherry Orchard Theme of Time

"Time," says Lopakhin the businessman, "does go" (1.83). Profound? Not so much – but a strong undercurrent in The Cherry Orchard. Characters are acutely aware of the passage of time. The industrious characters (Varya and Lopakhin) check their watches regularly, reflecting the industrial age's increasingly strict relationship to time. The more old-fashioned, leisurely characters lament their age. They comment on the weather as it changes from May to October. Some of them even celebrate the 100th birthday of a bookcase.

Questions About Time

  1. Chekhov is pretty specific about when the events take place: from May to October. Why?
  2. Can you divide the characters into camps – pro-orchard or anti-orchard – depending on their age?
  3. Trofimov says that man is evolving over time. Is that thesis carried out by the play?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Trofimov's virginity represents his immaturity.

Lopakhin and Varya share a punctuality, related to their work ethic, that distinguishes them from the other characters.

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