Study Guide

Uncle Vanya Guilt/Blame

By Anton Chekhov

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We'll admit, this category is a little bit funky in Uncle Vanya. The folks in the play are all consumed by it, but it's not exactly the kind where they feel bad for something they did. No, here the blame is all about pointing fingers and the guilt is always assigned to others.

Whether they're blaming their dead sister's husband for ruining their lives, blaming him for ruining his new wife's life, or blaming him for just throwing off the household schedule, people are quick to judge and slow to reflect on their own responsibilities. And that probably adds a lot to their levels of dissatisfaction.

Questions About Guilt/Blame

  1. If you were a judge and had to put the blame for everyone's unhappiness in Uncle Vanya on just one character, who would you pick, and why?
  2. How does gender enter into the guilt/blame game in Uncle Vanya? Do women seem to blamed for things that men aren't, and vice versa?
  3. Is Vanya being fair in blaming the Professor for his problems?

Chew on This

Vanya saw Serebryakov as his ticket to a new, better life, and blames him for failing to take him to glory.

Yelena is blamed for attracting men with her beauty, even though it seems to be beyond her control.

Uncle Vanya Guilt/Blame Study Group

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