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Themes

When it comes down to it, no one in the entire the cast of characters in Uncle Vanya is satisfied with the way their lives have turned out. From unrequited love to dead-end jobs and beauty-school-dropout-style laments over personal appearance, everybody is really down in the dumps.

You might think that having a nice country estate to go to and relax, being surrounded by your family, and living relatively comfortably would all be reasons to just say, "Yeah, life is pretty groovy." But you would be wrong. These characters are full of inner turmoil and are connected by dysfunctional relationships.

Questions About Dissatisfaction

  1. What do the characters want in the play? How do they reveal their desires to the audience?
  2. What does the play's ending have to say about dissatisfaction? 
  3. Does the play leave any hope that anyone in the world could ever find satisfaction? Why or why not?

Chew on This

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

If only Serebryakov's first wife hadn't died, everyone would be satisfied.

The characters in the play are incapable of satisfaction; even if they all got what they (think) they want, they'd still be unhappy.

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