Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Irina Arkadina (ihr-IHN-uh ahr-kah-DIH-nuh), an aging, famous Russian actress who is vain, egotistical, and selfish. Living only for public acclaim of her art, Irina is neither willing nor able to establish a warm human relationship with her lover, Boris Trigorin, or with her son, Constantine Treplieff. Her disregard for her son helps to drive him to self-destruction.
Constantine Treplieff (kohn-stahn-TIHN trehp-LYEHF), a struggling young writer, the son of Irina Arkadina. He is an extreme idealist, both in his love for Nina Zarietchnaya and in his art. Constantly seeking new forms in his writing, he ignores literary conventions and believes that life must be represented not as it is but as it ought to be. In a moment of despair over his work, he shoots a seagull (which symbolizes human aspiration) and then makes an unsuccessful attempt on his own life. Near the end of the play, deserted by Nina, misunderstood by his mother, and ignored by more successful literary men, he finds himself unable to believe in anything, and he commits suicide.
Boris Trigorin (boh-RIHS trih-GOH-rihn), a successful author and Irina Arkadina’s lover. Although his writing has...
(The entire section is 566 words.)
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