The Cherry Orchard Essay, Research Paper
Not a Laugh
There is a convincing debate whether The Cherry Orchard is a tragedy or a comedy. Chekhov strongly argues that the play is a comedy and should be performed as a comedy. The philosopher Aristotle can support Chekhov perception of his play. Aristotle defines a comedy as “an imitation of characters of a lower type who are not bad in themselves but whose faults possess something ludicrous in them.” The misinterpretation of The Cherry Orchard is due to a misunderstanding of what a comedy is.
The sympathy and compassion of the main characters in The Cherry Orchard should not blind the reader to the fact that they are virtually comic characters. For example no character could be more ludicrous then a patrician like Gayev, whose characteristics according to Chekhov are “suavity and elegance”. It is not the fact that Gayev becomes a bank official that is laughable but that sense the beginning of the play it is made quite clear that he would not be able to hold a job for even a month. It is also ironic that Gayev would become a bank official considering that it is obvious that he and the rest of his family are all terrible with money. Along with Gayev his sister’s ability to understand business and budget their money is completely ludicrous. Through out the play Ranyevskaya continuously spends money although the family is broke and losing everything they own. She has Leonid give Pishchik two hundred and forty rubles although she has told Pishchik “I have no money, my sweet.” This is ridiculous and the reader has to laugh at the ignorance of this family. Even more ludicrous is Ranyevskaya concern for the lost of her belongs but makes no attempt to save them. After Lopakhin has spent act one and some of act two explaining how to save the land Ranyevskaya is ably to ask, “what can we possibly do? Tell us.” This leaves Lopakhin to make a comical comment about this family “such a strange unbusiness like people.” Although tragic events are taking place through out the play, the characters actions and dialect is comical.
The symbolism of the sale of the cherry orchard can be sent as comical; it becomes a seminal icon for the memories of the family. This play is generated on seminal values of this family. No one in the family wants to see the cherry orchard go but it is ludicrous that the family does not see that the cherry orchard is going either by sale or development. Sense this is a fact, it is only risible that the family should profit from the lost of the cherry orchard. The importance of seminal values should be over run by the importance of survival. Ranyevskaya does not seem to be concerned with survival and can only see the cherry orchard as a seminal object. This is completely ridiculous and demonstrates the comical actions of Ranyevskaya. The view of the cherry orchard as a seminal object also effects the true objective of the cherry orchard. Firs says: “In the old days, forty, fifty years ago, they used to dry the cherries, they used to soak them, they used to pickle them, they used to make jam out of them, and year after year.” This caption informs the reader that the original purpose for the land was for profit. Ranyevskaya memories of the orchard as a fantastic playground disallows her to see the truth that the cherry orchard was just her parents business and it is time to change the business because times have changed.
Every one of the many characters was carefully planned out to show some purpose in the message conveyed in The Cherry Orchard. Chekhov is able to show that the core of humanity is full of ludicrous emotions and ideas. The importance of the use of comedy in the play conveys with the importance of comedy in our lives. It shows the reader how the most ridiculous moments and decisions are probably the most important ones. The decisions of the characters are full of “faults that posses something ludicrous in them” which allows this to be considered a comedy.