full title The Seagull
author Anton Chekhov
type of work Play
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
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.