The Cherry Orchard

by: Anton Chekhov

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