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MonkeyNotes-The Cherry Orchard by Anton Pavlovich Chekov
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Firs, the old, faithful servant, is again seen in this act. Always concerned about his master's wellbeing, he enters to bring Gaev an overcoat. Like Gaev and Lyobov, Firs is a symbol of the old order. Whenever he speaks, it is to reminisce about the past, and he has great difficulty accepting any change. In contrast to Firs, Trofimov, the perpetual student and tutor, is presented again. With his creative philosophic ideas, he is a symbol of the new age. He launches into a lecture on the progress of humanity that even Lopahin cannot agree with. The group discussion at the shrine is finally interrupted by a mournful sound, like that of a breaking harp string; like Epihodov's earlier song, it seems to foreshadow the sad turn of events to come.


When a beggar enters asking for money, Lyobov gives him gold coins, an overly generous act that shocks the others. Varya is angry about the gift and tells her mother that there is not even enough money to buy food for the servants, who are presently starving. Lyobov regrets her foolish action; it is as if she has no concept of money and no control over her desire to act as if she were still wealthy, instead of broke.

When everyone but Anya and Trofimov leave the shrine, she is happy to be alone with him. She clearly looks up to Trofimov and admires his lofty thoughts. She listens intently as he talks about the laboring and suffering of humanity. He also advises her to have no regrets when she is forced to leave the cherry orchard; he feels it is good to be as free as the wind. As the two of them are talking, Anya hears Varya, her protective sister, calling out to her. She suggests to Trofimov that they go down to the river to escape Varya.

By the end of the second act and with little action, the conflict has been clearly established, the theme of change has been developed, the major characters have displayed their true beings, and the setting has become symbolic. It is obvious that Chekov is a masterful dramatist.

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MonkeyNotes-The Cherry Orchard by Anton Pavlovich Chekov
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