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The major theme is the inevitability of change. Because of her financial situation as a widow, Lyobov cannot save the cherry orchard, her childhood home. Ironically, when the estate is auctioned, it is purchased by Lopahin. He used to be a slave at the orchard, but after he won his freedom, he became a successful merchant, who could afford to purchase the estate. Symbolically, the sale of the cherry orchard shows that the old order must give way to the new.
Love is another theme that is woven throughout the play. Besides the romance of Lyobov and her lover in Paris, Varya becomes interested in Lopahin, and Trofimov is attracted to Anya. In addition, there is the affair between Yasha and Dunyasha. None of the romantic relationships really comes to a happy ending. Lyobov's lover grows gravely ill in Paris, and she returns to care for him. Anya only wants to be friends with Trofimov, so he returns to study at the university. Lopahin is going away on business for several months without ever asking Varya to marry him.
The main mood of the play is largely melancholic as Lyobov struggles unsuccessfully to save the cherry orchard. When she winds up losing her childhood home to a former slave at the orchard, she has a great sense of loss. There are, however, moments of happiness in the play, especially when Lyobov rejoices to be home and throws a grand party.