Anger and Hatred
Recognizing that he has wasted his life furthering the professor’s scholarship, Vanya responds in anger, a new and unaccustomed emotion for him. Although Vanya’s displeasure simmers throughout the play, it erupts into violence after Serebryakov announces his plan to sell the estate so that he and Yelena can buy a villa in Finland. Vanya then attempts to shoot the professor, only to miss, emphasizing the futility of his rebellion. Vanya’s full name, Voynitsky, hints at his potential for belligerence (the Russian word for ‘‘war’’ is ‘‘voyna’’).
Appearances and Reality
Vanya rails against Serebryakov’s intellectual posturing, knowing that the professors’s claims of intelligence are a fraud. ‘‘You were to us a creature of the highest order and your articles we knew by heart,’’ says Vanya. ‘‘But now my eyes are open! I see everything! You write about art, but you understand nothing of art! All your works, that I used to love, are not worth a brass penny! You fooled us!’’ Although some of Vanya’s charges have merit, Chekhov’s message is more complex. Serebryakov is not as bad and false as Vanya makes him out to be, but he is a self-absorbed, sick old man who has come to fear Vanya and his outbursts of indignation.
Choices and Consequences
Vanya’s mother, Maria Vasilyevna, chides her son for railing against his fate,...
(The entire section is 1283 words.)
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