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The Seagull

Anton Chekhov

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full title · The Seagull

author · Anton Chekhov

type of work · Play

genre · Tragi-Comedy

language · Russian. English Translation by Paul Schmidt

time and place written · Written in 1895, Russia

date of first publication · Not applicable (drama)

publisher · HarperCollins, HarperFlamingo edition

narrator · None

point of view · Not applicable (drama)

tone · Absurd; Existential

tense · Not applicable (drama)

settings (times) · Around 1895, summer; Then, two years later

setting (place) · Sorin's estate and farm

protagonists · Konstantin Treplev; Irina Arkadina; Nina; Boris Trigorin

major conflict · Konstantin Treplev longs for success at writing and to gain recognition of his talents from his mother, a famous stage actress, Irina Arkadina and her lover, a famous writer, Boris Trigorin; Neither Arkadina nor Trigorin see any merit in Konstantin's abilities; Trigorin does nothing to advise Konstantin and Arkadina only gets in his way with her competitive spirit and condescending attitude about his goals to create new forms in the theater and in writing; Trigorin has an affair with the young girl Konstantin loves, Nina, a hopeful actress, breaking Arkadina and Konstantin's hearts.

rising actions · Nina gives Trigorin a parting gift of a medallion inscribed with reference to a line from one of his books; Trigorin asks Arkadina for permission to have an affair with Nina. Arkadina begs Trigorin to remain faithful; Trigorin agrees to stay with Arkadina; Nina decides to move to Moscow to become an actress and to be near Trigorin.

climax · Trigorin and Nina kiss and promise to meet each other in Moscow.

falling action · In Act Four Nina and Trigorin have an affair. Nina has Trigorin's baby, it dies, and he leaves her for Arkadina who he continued to be involved with during his relationship with Nina.

themes · The role of an artist in life and in love; evaluating the Self; existentialism and the pursuit of a meaningful life

motifs · Unrequited love; cxistential crisis; the banality of existence

symbols · The seagull; the lake; weather

foreshadowing · In Act Two, Konstantin predicts his own death when he places the seagull at Nina's feet and tells her he will "I intend to shoot myself one of these days, just like this." In Act Two, Trigorin describes his new story idea to Nina. His story will be about a young girl like Nina who becomes destroyed like the seagull by a man who has nothing better to do.

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