Three Sisters

Theatre of Dissent: Analyzing Similarities in the WorksOf Ibsen, Chekhov, and Moliere College

The works of Anton Chekov, Henrik Ibsen, and Moliere are quite distinct from one another, each author being primarily concerned with critiquing the specific society of his own country at the time in which he lived. Their plays, however, share many similarities. All attack the ideology of those who hold power, and they do so by showing how the ideals and virtues upheld by each society are, in fact, oppressive and not virtuous at all. In this endeavor, however, the plays differ significantly according to what ideology is being attacked and to what degree. They also differ in so far as what the endings offer by way of solution.

For example, Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard attacks the declining Russian aristocracy, while at the same time calling into question the bourgeoisie class with which it is being replaced. Ranevskaya returns home from Paris at the beginning, having bankrupted her family, and the majority of the play is spent in discussion of how to avoid selling the family estate. Though there are many viable options, not a single person seems to be able to act. Gaev, Ranevskaya’s brother, insists to her adopted daughter, Varya, that “If plenty of remedies are prescribed for some sort of disease, it means the disease can’t...

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