Uncle Vanya

Uncle Vanya Character List

Uncle Vanya/Vanya/Voynitsky

Uncle Vanya is one of the main characters (and the titular character) of the play. He is forty-seven years old and acutely aware of how his best years seem behind him. He is the uncle of Sonya and the brother-in-law of Serebryakov. Hardworking and sincere, he has toiled for Serebryakov for many years but now regrets this, seeing Serebryakov's writings and teachings as facile and irrelevant. It is difficult for him to retain humanity and hope, but he manages to do so with his niece's help.

Alexander Serebryakov

Serebryakov is an elderly, now-retired professor and art scholar. He was married to Voynitsky's sister and had a daughter, Sonya; he married Helen after his first wife's death. He seems intelligent and sensible but is prone to complaining and selfishness. Over time he appears crueler and indifferent to those around him; he is self-admiring and egoistic.


Helen is Serebryakov’s wife (whom she married for "love" but soon grew to resent) and Sonya's stepmother. She is a young and beautiful woman and has many admirers, including Astrov and Vanya. While not altogether ignorant, she is idle, indolent, and restless; she does not like conflict and therefore hastens her and Serebryakov's departure.


Sonya is the daughter of Serebryakov, stepdaughter to Helen, and niece of Vanya. While not beautiful, she is sweet, hardworking (along with her uncle she runs the estate), and hopeful. She tries to secure Astrov's love, but is disappointed in this endeavor. After her father and Helen depart, she dedicates herself to Vanya and his care.


Astrov is a local doctor in the district. He is attractive and intelligent and seems different than the other, more parochial people in the area. He adopts an annoyed, indifferent attitude toward his job, but he feels its vicissitudes deeply. His true passion is forest preservation, and he often discourses on the destruction of the Russian landscape and its deleterious effects. He attempts to seduce Helen but does so in an almost lackluster way.

Mrs. Voynitsky

The mother of Vanya, grandmother of Sonya, and mother-in-law of Serebryakov, Mrs. Voynitsky is an elderly woman who thinks highly of her son-in-law, to the endless vexation of her actual son.


The kind, elderly nurse and servant of the family.


An elderly, impoverished landowner, friend of the family, and helper to Astrov. He seems a bit out of touch and inferior in intellect, but is a solid musician and often plays the guitar at social gatherings.