Literary Essay Sample: Realism in The Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov

Published: 2019-12-13 13:47:21
Literary Essay Sample: Realism in The Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov
Categories: Literature
Pages: 8
Wordcount: 2110 words
18 min read

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov is a Russian renowned master writer of short stories and playwright of late 19th and the early parts of the 20th century. He was born on 29/1/1960 in Taganrog, Russia by Pavel who happened to be his grocer dad and Yevgeniya who was his mother and had a storytelling passion the same as that of his son. Anton had five other siblings. His dad had a tendency of money issues and troubles, and subsequently, his business went under in 1875, and this forced him to relocate his family to Moscow while Anton remained in Taganrog so that he could complete his remainder part of his studies. He later went to Moscow in 1879 and applied to join a local medical school. He took up the role of supporting the rest of the family since his dads financial woes were persistent and never ceased. This he did while at medical school when he chose to indulge in the production of short comic articles and pieces as well as doing writings which were mainly freelance in nature. All this he did for the various magazines which were locally based. In the 1880s, while working as a practicing physician, he became serious with his works and began doing fictional works using his name which also had the opportunity of being featured in the New Times. In 1888 he won the Pushkin Prize due to his literal prowess that was exhibited in his famous story The Steppe. His works had immense influence among fellow realists in Russia at that time. He also engaged in various literal forces that were meant for the theaters and had a distinct signature in writing since most of his stories had touches of tragedy coupled with drama.

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His 1887 play of Ivanov, as well as Wood demon, were some of his famous stories that captured the life of smart and educated people in the society who were deemed to be of the upper class in nature but were stressfully coping with debts, frustrations in life as well as diseases. He did his major works in the 1890s onwards with his pieces in Ward No. 6 and The Lady With the Dog which showed his in-depth understanding of human beings and the importance of various happenings in the life of a human being. He focused on characters of his plays and their moods rather than delving more into their plots. His characters exhibited desperation and constant personal conflicts. He had collaborative stints with Constantin Stanislavski who was also a renowned playwright. Most of his plays were performed at the Moscow Art Theatre (Jessica Murphy, 2014). His memorable pieces were The Cherry Orchard (1904), The Seagull (1895), The Three Sisters (1901) and Uncle Vanya (1897). Anton married Olga Knipper in 1901, who was a renowned actress in Moscow Art Theatre. His health was deteriorating since his youthful days since it was at this age that he contracted tuberculosis. He died in Germany on 15/7/1904 after living for only 44 years. His plays are still famous to date as they are staged in various theaters around the globe. He also had a lot of influence on great writers such as Henry Miller.

The play is about the obsoleteness of the traditional culture of the characters in the play who were also striving to live a modern life (Daniel S. Burt, 2008), The characters life seems to be ordinary in nature. The main characters are three sisters namely Olga, Masha, and Irina who are living a stressful life with their family in Moscow. The sisters seem to be confused and frustrated with what life has thrown at them. Olga who is the eldest is the wisest and motherly among the sisters and is unmarried and a headmistress by profession. Masha, on the other hand, is short tempered, loathes Natasha and has negative views on marriage. Irina who is the youngest has a jolly mood always and is childish. The sisters aspire to go back to their favorite town Moscow which to their thinking is a perfect city compared to the city that they are currently living in. To them, happiness and fewer troubles can only be found in Moscow. Together with their brother, they seem frustrated with the kind of life that they are currently living. In this play, Moscow is symbolic in the sense that it is viewed by the sisters and brother as to where dreams, desires, and lifelong ambitions can be fulfilled. It is rather ironic that they never made it to Moscow. The play is realistic since the characters are ever busy throughout the play and the sisters are rarely alone which depicts the troublesome, chaotic and a life of apprehension that the sisters live by. Chekhovs plays are full of action as is depicted throughout the play by the busy nature of the sisters. This play was written to depict the aspect of realism as characters of the play are easily revealed as the play progresses. Chekhovs plays are written to emphasize aspects of content and subject matters.

The play is also written to show that despite dreaming of something that one holds dear or cherishes in life, it can become very easy not to accomplish it in the long-run. Olga lost her youthful days as she never gets to be married and instead is compelled to fend for others, Irina is forgetful of all the important things that he was taught before, Chebutykin skills of being a doctor are lost whereas Andre never becomes the scientist that he so much wishes to become. Natasha being greedy in nature, the three sisters end up losing their house to her. The play is written to give people hope to individuals despite going through the crisis that can be caused by fellow siblings. The crisis in this play arises due to the lost house and never having the chance to go to Moscow. The play is written to depict different time frames of four years depicted by the four characters in the play. The plays is written to depict the bleak prospects that the characters are exposed to going by the mishaps and misfortunes that they come across. The play is written to express the distressed nature of the lives of the three sisters since life is depicted by the plays foreground as well as the background by never being left to be on their own in the entire play (New York Times, 2011). The play was written to depict the broken ambitions of the sisters since they never made it to Moscow. They are forced to seek alternative solutions to the problems that they are facing and establish what life means to them.

The play has been presented in various theaters and movies. Examples are when it was presented on 24th May 1965 at the BBC Home Service under the directorship of John Tydeman, May to June 2009 at Artists Repertory Theatre in Portland under the directorship of Jon Kretzu and also in January to March 2011 at New York by the classic stage Company under the directorship of Austin Pendleton. The play won the Pushkin Prize in 1888. According to The New York times (2011), the play seems to be rather fresh and of eternity. The play was also regarded to portray a sense of fulfillment and life seems to happen the way it ought to happen.

The plot in the play depicts the chronicled four year period that the play is set. It talks about the diminishing fortunes of the four children of a colonel in the Russian Army who had passed on. Irina seems to be sweet and impressive, Olga a sphincter, Masha who faces a marriage that is devoid of love as well as Andrei whose romantic skills are poor and has serious gambling problems since he goes on to waste the familys finances. The play is set in a provincial town and all the siblings long to go to go to Moscow where they think their lifetime ambitions will be met. Their ambitions are not met due to debts, oppression, and disappointment. The cast is also made up of ten other characters as well as soldiers whose arrival and departure from the town cause jubilation and disappointment respectively. The play is action packed and full of emotions. Affairs are witnessed in the play as well as the ravaging fire that razes the nearby town. In the end, the main character also passes on.

The main dramatic arc of the main play is the occurrence of the death of the main characters. Also, the characters seem never to make it to the place that they have longed to go to i.e. Moscow. Loss of the house to one of the siblings shows the sibling rivalry that exists. The main themes that are depicted are loneliness and alienation as well as love and passion. Loneliness and alienation is depicted since the sisters are lonely despite the many and frequent visitors who come to visit them in their house. They remained grounded in their town despite aspiring to go to Moscow. Due to their level of intellect brought about by their high level of education, they face alienation from the rest of the members of the town (Jessica Murphy, 2014). Their military friends are temporarily posted in the town and later move on to other places hence leaving them lonely. Andrei tends to console himself most of the time in his room with his violin whereas Olga resigns from her company due to the headaches that she experiences. Irina and Tuzenbachs engagement ends acrimoniously with violence incidences though she had hoped to overcome the alienation that the family had been exposed to since the demise of their father. Vershinin comes back to them from Moscow and confirms their worst fear that Moscow is very lonely which is contrary to what they had perceived of Moscow. The theme of love and passion is depicted by the nature of romances that are interwoven in the play. The characters have totally different notions and understanding of love. To Andrei, love is hopeless and full of exploitation. Natasha tends to be exploitative but seems to be one to run to as far as her children are concerned. Irina tends to be open. Kulgin expression of love is pure and is always there for his partner by offering her comfort after the loss of her close lover.

The play is set in a period when Russia was undergoing a lot of political changes. The country was on the verge of pre-revolution. During this period, the population of the middle class grew as well as the working class of the population. There was a tendency of the formation of parties which were radical in nature since most of the country was owned by non-Russians. The West looked down on the country and was not intimidated by it. Most political parties were owned by the working class and the wealthy individuals looked down on them. Most workers worked in the factories that were established whereas few tiled in their own businesses. The conditions in which people were working was not very conducive since the taxes were very hing and land was scarce especially for those who preferred earning a living through farming. The social fabric was disintegrated due to the bad living conditions and strikes were the order of the day. Parties that were formed were both liberal and to some extent conservative. These conditions are depicted in the play going by the kind of life that the three sisters were living. The little cash that their brother earned was wasted away and it to the conniving plan of one of the sisters to take over the house. Dreams were shattered for those who aspired to go to Moscow which is a resemblance of how unstable and unpredictable Moscow was.

The setting of the play does not seem to be real but is s small provincial town with a county council which manages it. The town is not very populated but witnesses the deployment of soldiers at some point. It is a place where the inhabitants ambitions are shattered since the sisters never have the chance of going back to Moscow where they initially lived. One noticeable fact about the play is that it is rather evident that the town the family descends to seems to be remote and of least development compared to what Moscow looked like. The feeling of being separated from someone who is close to you especially when they are leaving is evident even in real life. This was exhibited by how Masha was heartbroken when Vershinin wa...

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