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In the daytime, Vanya, Sonya, and Yelena are gathered in the drawing room, waiting for Serebryakov, who has an announcement for them.
Yelena says she's bored, and Sonya insists that she just needs something to keep herself busy because she's infecting everyone with her laziness.
Vanya leaves and Sonya tells Yelena that she's dying of love for Astrov. Yelena promises to talk to him and find out if he feels the same way.
Yelena says that it will be better to be certain, though Sonya isn't sure. She thinks that with uncertainty she at least still has hope.
When Yelena approaches Astrov about Sonya, however, he just starts talking about the decay of society and civilization.
Yelena finally gets her chance to ask Astrov about Sonya, and when he confirms that he doesn't love her, Yelena asks him to stop coming around so that he won't torture the poor girl anymore.
Astrov misunderstands Yelena's intentions and thinks that she is the one who has a crush on him. He tries to kiss her, and just then Vanya walks in with a bouquet of flowers and sees Yelena struggling. The plot thickens.
Yelena asks Vanya to help her get out of the country house. She wants to leave that very day.
Finally, Serebryakov shows up to make his announcement. As his speech begins, Sonya can tell by Yelena's actions that Astrov doesn't love her.
Serebryakov reveals that he's in financial doo doo. He doesn't have enough money to live in the city, but he hates living in the country. So he's going to sell the estate and move to Finland.
Vanya is pretty ticked off at this proposal since he, his mother, and his niece, Sonya, won't have anywhere to go. He explains that the estate had belonged to his sister, and that he gave up his own inheritance to buy it for her. Now that he's worked for years keeping it running, his former brother-in-law wants to sell it out from under him.
The family meeting turns into a shouting match, with Vanya and Yelena as the main maniacs.
Sonya begs her father to have mercy on Vanya, reminding him that she, her uncle, and her grandmother worked their whole lives for him without asking for anything in return.
Serebryakov goes offstage and a shot is fired. He comes back in, and Vanya shoots at him one more time. He misses both times, and gives up on his mission.