Study Guide

The Cherry Orchard

by Anton Chekhov

The Cherry Orchard Characters

Characters Discussed (Great Characters in Literature)

Madame Lubov Andreyevna Ranevskaya

Madame Lubov Andreyevna Ranevskaya (lew-BOHF ahn-DREH-ehv-nuh rah-NEHF-skah-yah), a middle-aged woman and the owner of a large estate that has become impossible to maintain because of debts. Madame Ranevskaya is a remnant of the old order of Russian feudal aristocracy being pushed aside by social change. Her estate, her mansion, and especially the cherry orchard exist for her as symbols of her past, her innocent youth, and her formerly carefree life. She cannot reconcile herself to giving them up, she cannot change with the times, and she cannot assume the financial and emotional responsibility demanded of her. the forces that molded her are disappearing from Russian life.

Anya

Anya (AHN-yah), Madame Ranevskaya’s seventeen-year-old daughter. Although she loves the estate and the cherry orchard, her youth makes it possible for her to bend with the social tide. She reconciles herself to loss and change, to a new Russia of which she will be a part. Her love for Peter Trofimov, a student representative of the intellectual liberal in the new order, influences her toward confidence and hope for the future.

Varya

Varya (VAH-ryah), the adopted daughter of Madame Ranevskaya. Having managed the estate for years, she is exhausted by concern: about debts, for the servants, and about the future. Her efforts have come to nothing. She is in love with Lopakhin, a wealthy merchant who is so busy making money that he cannot bring himself to propose to her. Varya’s illusions of happiness and peace tempt her to run away to enter a convent. Neither of the aristocracy nor of the rising middle class, but caught between both, she finds that only work can ease her frustration and unhappiness.

Leonid Andreyevitch Gaev

Leonid Andreyevitch Gaev (leh-oh-NIHD ahn-DREH-yeh-vihch gah-EHF), Madame Ranevskaya’s brother, a restless, garrulous, and impractical dreamer. Bound to the old ways, he tries in vain to save the estate by borrowing or begging the necessary money. Like his sister, he is unwilling to sell the cherry orchard and let it be used for a housing subdivision. Until the last, he cherishes his illusions that they will be saved by a stroke of good fortune.

Ermolai Alexeyevitch Lopakhin

Ermolai Alexeyevitch Lopakhin (ehr-moh-LIH ah-lehk-SEH-yeh-vihch loh-PAH-khihn), a wealthy merchant whose father was a peasant. Without sentiment for the past, he lives in the present and for commercial opportunism. He redeems the past, literally, when he buys the Ranevsky estate, where his father and grandfather had been serfs. His feelings are calculated in terms of profit and loss, and his love for Varya cannot compete with his commercial zeal.

Peter Sergeyevitch Trofimov

Peter Sergeyevitch Trofimov (PYOH-tr sehr-GEH-yeh-vihch troh-FIH-mof), an idealistic young student willing to work for the future betterment of humankind. He claims his mission is freedom and happiness, escape from the petty and deceptive elements of life. His love for Anya is confused with social zeal, and his understanding of people is slight.

Boris Borisovitch Simeonov-Pishchik

Boris Borisovitch Simeonov-Pishchik (boh-RIHS boh-RIHS-eh-vihch sih-MEH-ehn-of-PIH-shchihk), a landowner constantly in debt, always trying to borrow money. Unlike the Ranevskys, he has no feeling for the land or his heritage. He eventually leases his land to be torn up for its valuable deposits of clay.

Charlotta Ivanova

Charlotta Ivanova (shahr-LOHT-teh ih-VAH-neh-vah), the governess to the Ranevskys, a young woman who does not know her parentage. She is classless, ready to be swept by any tide.

Simeon Panteleyevitch Epikhodov

Simeon Panteleyevitch Epikhodov (seh-MYOHN pahn-teh-LEH-yeh-vihch eh-pih-KHOHD-of), a clerk in the Ranevsky household. He is in love with Dunyasha, a maid, who does not return his love.

Dunyasha

Dunyasha (doo-NYAH-shah), who is in love with the brash young footman, Yasha. She dresses well and pretends to be a lady.

Fiers

Fiers (fihrs), an old footman, faithful to the Ranevsky family for generations. Concerned only with the well-being of his employers, he is inadvertently left to die in the abandoned house, a symbol of the dying past.

Yasha

Yasha (YAH-shah), an insolent young footman, Fiers’s grandson. Caring nothing for his family, Yasha thrives on cruelty and opportunism. He knowingly leaves his grandfather to die alone.

The Cherry Orchard Character Analysis

Peter Trofimov

Trofimov is a shabbily dressed "eternal student. '' He was a tutor for Mrs. Ranevsky's son, and the sight of him when she first returns to...

(The entire section is 204 words.)

Mrs. Ranevsky

Mrs. Ranevsky is an aristocratic woman incapable of adapting to the changing social climate in Russia. When faced with the loss of her...

(The entire section is 272 words.)

Lopakhin

Lopakhin is a wealthy businessman whose grandfather was once a serf on the Ranevsky estate. Though sometimes seen as a calculating...

(The entire section is 158 words.)

Other Characters

Anya
See Anya Ranevsky

Charlotte
See Charlotte Ivanovna

Dunyasha...

(The entire section is 866 words.)