The Seagull

A Comparison of Comedy in The Seagull and The Cherry Orchard 11th Grade

When one imagines Russian theatre around the turn of the nineteenth into the twentieth century, a barrel of laughs is likely not the first clichéd metaphor to spring to mind. This was a contradiction as Russia as it made its way towards revolution, where the old class system was already dying and the poor were beginning to see glimmers of hope that some wealth and power could be theirs, while at the same time prosperity at large was faltering. This left an aristocracy that was increasingly seeing itself as a hollow shadow of its past, as well as less financially capable of sustaining itself and its way of life. New issues now emerged among those in the servant class, who were finding themselves without employment. This also led to new forms of greed in the merchant and former serf classes who now felt, perhaps rightly so, that it was their turn to be on top.

Anton Chekov’s plays subsequently reflect the tumultuous state of rural Russia in which he lived during a time of great social change. As such, the contemporary settings of Anton Chekov’s major plays were not exactly humorous, as on the surface, but rather were deeply chaotic and in many ways had an element of farce. Of course, hard and confusing times are often the sources...

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