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Chekhov

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{Chekhov & The Cherry Orchard
(1903)
Central Themes
Overturning of the old social
order: social change and progress
 Independence, Emancipation
and Freedom
 Memory: source of identity or
burden?

Style
Chekhov considered his plays comic satire
 “All I wanted was to say honestly to people:
'Have a look at yourselves and see how bad
and dreary your lives are!' The important
thing is that people should realize that, for
when they do, they will most certainly create
another and better life for themselves. I will
not live to see it, but I know that it will be
quite different, quite unlike our present life.”

Characteristics
Jumbling together of comic and tragic
 Emphasis on dialogue and offstage
(“obscene”) action
 Surprise and tension are not key
elements
 Ordinary conversations are key
 There are no villains in a Chekhov
play…all characters have flaws and gifts

Historical Background
In 1900, the Russian Empire was 8.8 million
sq. mi.
 Twice the population of the U.S. at the time
(136 million)
 200 nationalities led to much internal
conflict
 Policy of “russification”: a cultural
assimilation process during which nonRussian communities, voluntarily or not,
give up their culture and language in favor of
the Russian one

More Background
Prior to 1861, serfs made up 44% of
Russia’s population
 Just over 100,000 lords owned the land
the serfs were tied to
 Russia lagged behind the rest of Europe
in industrialization and politics (Czar as
absolute ruler)
 Illiteracy, poverty, scarce land and food

Auteur
Document
Catégorie
Uncategorized
Affichages
31
Taille du fichier
350 KB
Étiquettes
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