The Cherry Orchard

Main Ideas

Key Facts

Main Ideas Key Facts

full title The Cherry Orchard: A Comedy in Four Acts

author Anton Chekhov

type of work Play

genre Comedy (satirical, ironic, often concerned with marriage proposals); Tragedy (involving catastrophic loss as a result of the protagonist's weakness)

language Russian

time and place written From 1901 to 1903, in Yalta, an island in the Mediterranean.

date of first performance seventeen January 1904

date of first publication During the last week of June, 1904 (just a few days before Chekhov's death on July one)

narrator There is no narrator in the play

climax The climax comes in Act Three, when Lopakhin reveals he has bought the orchard

protagonist Ranevsky

setting (time) Between May and October of a year around the beginning of the 20th century

setting (place) At the country estate of Lyuba Ranevsky

falling action Everyone leaves the house in October after Lopakhin purchases the estate in August; this departure constitutes the entire fourth Act

tense Not applicable (drama); but the story is told both directly and in flashbacks

foreshadowing Firs walk across the stage in Act One foreshadows his death scene in Act Four; in Act One, Lopakhin foreshadows his own purchase of the orchard by declaring that the orchard cannot be saved except by his plan;

tone Varying between absurd, satirical, ironic and tragic

themes Modernity vs. the old russia; breaking with the past; nature

motifs The union of naturalism and symbolism; miscommunication; self-consciousness

symbols The cherry orchard; the sound of a breaking string