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Uncle Vanya

Uncle Vanya


by Anton Chekhov

Analysis: Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Christopher Booker is a scholar who wrote that every story falls into one of seven basic plot structures: Overcoming the Monster, Rags to Riches, the Quest, Voyage and Return, Comedy, Tragedy, and Rebirth. Shmoop explores which of these structures fits this story like Cinderella’s slipper.

Plot Type : Tragedy

Anticipation Stage

We're going to call Vanya our hero, since he's the title character and his actions are what make the play really move. At the beginning of the play he's unfulfilled and dissatisfied. He's set his sights on Yelena as the answer to his hopelessness. She has other ideas.

Dream Stage

This is where Uncle Vanya strays a bit from the Tragedy plot and shows its Tragicomedy side. Things don't really go so hot for Vanya, but in his own mind he seems to think that he has a chance with Yelena. Of course, the audience knows that he's delusional and doesn't have a snowball's chance in July.

Frustration Stage

Like we said, Vanya doesn't get too far with Yelena. Actually, we're being too nice: she pretty much shuts that boy down. So Vanya, naturally, gets more and more furious with Yelena's husband, Serebryakov.

Nightmare Stage

When Serebryakov announces that he plans to sell the estate, just after Vanya has witnessed an almost-kiss between Astrov and Yelena, Vanya really loses it. He can't even stay in the room with all of them, as all of his hopes are shattered before his eyes.

Destruction or Death Wish Stage

Here again, Uncle Vanya loses its touch with Tragedy. Instead of actually killing his rival or using the gun or the morphine he steals to kill himself, Vanya fails. His destruction isn't death; it's just his sad return to his mediocre life.

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