The Women in Chekhov Plays

Now that we’ve read two Chekhov plays, it’s interesting to compare the similarities in how the women are treated and behave. For example, in the Proposal, Natalya may have had to adhere to marrying Lomov in order to socially climb, but she still had character depth. For example, she was able to stand her ground and firmly state that the Meadows were her family’s property.

However, in the Cherry Orchard, the women are not as strong. For example, Anya is still a sweet 17 year old girl. Perhaps it is a cultural shock or placing her on an innocent pedestal, but her uncle Gaev states: “My darling! [Kisses ANYA’S face and hands] My child. … [Crying] You’re not my niece, you’re my angel, you’re my all.” However, Anya’s only characteristic is that: being loved.

Varya, on the other hand, possible is more similar to Natalya because she is aware that she has a duty to support her family. In fact, she tells her sister that “if only you could marry a rich man, then I’d be happy and would go away somewhere by myself, then to Kiev … to Moscow, and so on, from one holy place to another. I’d tramp and tramp. That would be splendid!” Through this, she is saying that if her sister took her responsibility and married rich, then she could travel and explore around. 

As the story progresses, I hope that the women gain more depth that just “eligible to be married.” Although Natalya also followed the same societal norm, she at least rebelled somewhat.

Source: The Cherry Orchard (Acts 1