The Cherry Orchard

Static in Motion : Examining the Complexities and Contradictions of Lopakhin in The Cherry Orchard

A notoriously psychological composer of satire and comedy, Anton Chekhov employs The Cherry Orchard as a case study of an ensemble of ludicrous characters united in their inability to transform their behaviors or identities. Each character appears suspended in his/her separate concerns, each so self-absorbed that he/she is rendered ineffectual in saving the estate and orchard; the characters appear doomed to remain forever as they are: Trofimov the student, Gaev the silenced, Firs the slave, Lyubov the gullible, etc. In contrast, Lopakhin is driven by motivations of action and change: though his father was born a peasant and his grandfather a serf before him, Lopakhin has risen above poverty and become even richer than the aristocrats who once owned his family. By this virtue, he represents the new wealth of Russia in an increasingly democratic and middle class society. However, Chekhov reveals that despite his wealth and appearance, Lopakhin remains painfully bound to his identity as a peasant, static despite his role as a major force of action throughout the play. Each aspect of his character is shaped by his peasant mentality, including his pessimism about life, desire to succeed in business, and hypocritical attitude...

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