How important is the past and especially childhood for the behavior of the characters in the present in the cherry orchard ?

Pages: 4 (1000 mots) Publié le: 16 octobre 2010
The idea of the past is very much present in Anton Chekov’s Cherry Orchard. Some characters have great moments of nostalgia towards their past or childhood, some characters try to break free orescape from their past through change and acceptance. The recurrent theme of memory being either remembering or forgetting are evident in the play. Through the characters, memory is perceived as a struggleto be able to attain happiness as well as a sort of personal identity crisis.

From the very beginning of the Cherry Orchard, through Lopakhin, the reader is introduced to the nostalgiapresent in the play, “I remember when I was only fifteen my old father […] struck me in the face with is fist and my nose bled. We were out in the courtyard, and he had been drinking. Madame Ranevsky, Iremember it like yesterday, still a slender young girl, brought me to the wash-hand stand, here, in this very room, in the nursery. ‘Don’t cry little peasant,’ she said”.
This shows us that Lopakhinis linked to Madame Ranevsky therefore the estate and consequently the orchard, the symbol of the past. Lopakhin sees the past as being opressive, because they are memories of an uncultured andrelatively harsh childhood which conflict with the identity of himself that he attempts to put off through his physique or so called culture. These are memories he tries to forget because they seem to leavehim in a perplexity of identity.
The fact that he goes from a childhood serf under Madame Ranevsky’s management, to a man who actually gives this woman advice on what she should do with her estateor more precisely with the orchard, creates an opposition between a former restrained Russia and contemporary reatively liberated Russia.

Madame Ranevsky seems to be obssessed with forgettingher past and prefers to live in the present. This can be shown when in Act one, when she speaks of the nursery and her childhood, she clearly states “if only I could forget my past”. The only...
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