by Anton Chekhov
Uncle Vanya Sacrifice Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Act.Line)
VOYNITSKY: [...] I used not to have a spare minute, Sonya and I worked—my goodness, how we worked, and now only Sonya works and I sleep, eat and drink… That's no good! (1.62-65)
It's interesting that Vanya believes that he's the one who has suffered so much, when really Sonya is the only one we ever see working like Vanya talks about. In fact, Vanya himself is living it up like Serebryakov and letting his niece work to keep everyone swimming in vodka and tea.
TELEGIN: [...] Because of my unprepossessing looks my wife ran off the day after our wedding with a man she loved. Since then I haven't abandoned my duty. I still love her and am faithful to her, I help with what I can and have given up my property for the education of the children she had by the man she loved. I lost my happiness but I kept my pride. (1.161-66)
Poor Waffle. He, too, has sacrificed his life for someone else—his horrible wife—but he doesn't complain about it like Vanya does. In fact, the only reason he brings it up is to show everyone that it's the right and proper thing to do, nothing to moan about. He associates sacrifice with pride, while others associate it with loserdom.
YELENA ANDREYEVNA: Yesterday evening he was depressed, complained of pains in the legs, but today he's all right.
ASTROV: And I killed myself galloping thirty versts. Well, no matter, it's not the first time. (1.179-82)
An important part of sacrifice is that it is worthwhile. Otherwise it's just, well, a mistake. And Astrov sees that when he arrives after having run like a maniac to the emergency they called him for. Serebryakov, supposedly very sick, is actually just fine, and no one seems to appreciate Astrov's sacrifice.