The Cherry Orchard

by: Anton Chekhov

Suggested Essay Topics

In Act One, Ranevsky thinks she sees her mother in the cherry orchard. At the end of Act Two, Trofimov talks of "faces" gazing at he and Anya from the leaves and trunks of the trees. Compare and contrast these two "visions", discussing what they tell us about each character and that character's attitude towards the orchard.

Discuss Chekhov's use of irony. Is it stable or unstable? In other words, is there a privileged viewpoint free from irony in the play, or is the irony subversive of all the viewpoints in general? Does Chekhov ever hint, among all the different views of life expressed in the play, what his own viewpoint might be? And how does Chekhov create irony? Discuss his use of juxtaposition and contrast.

Discuss the role of music in The Cherry Orchard. How does it affect the mood of the play? Does it play a role in the play's symbolism?

What role does Yephikodov play in the story? Is he simply a source of comic relief, or does he also contribute to the play's important themes?

There are several characters in The Cherry Orchard who are frequently mentioned, yet never appear on stage. Discuss their effect on the development of the story, playing particular attention to their effect on Mrs. Ranevsky.