The Cherry Orchard

by: Anton Chekhov

Peter Trofimov

Trofimov is the "eternal student", as Lopakhin calls him, and he provides most of the explicit ideological discussion in the play. Trofimov makes the play's social allegory explicit. He idealizes work, as well as the search for truth, decrying the poor living conditions in which most Russian peasants live, as well as the "Russian intellectuals" whose inactivity he deems responsible for these conditions. His idealism and intellectualism make him a foil for the practical, materialistic Lopakhin, but he also serves as a foil for Ranevsky. His emphasis on truth over love and beauty and his orientation towards the future, contrasts with her devotion to love and beauty and her obsession with the past. These elements of both their personalities become united in the cherry orchard. Whereas Ranevsky sees the orchard as beautiful and interesting, to Trofimov it is a symbol of Russia's oppressive past and the dehumanization caused by families such as Ranevsky's through the institution of serfdom.