How are the actions taken by the main characters in The Cherry Orchard propelled by rational and emotional judgement?

Expert Answers
accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Well, one of the principal themes of this play is actually the lack of action that is taken by the main characters in terms of their apathy and passive state as they face the loss of the cherry orchard. Inaction is just as important an action as actually doing something, and we need to therefore analyse this in response to your question. One of the things that Chekhov focuses on in this play therefore is how choices to act or not to act have their very definite consequences that we must face whether we like it or not. Free will is something that must not be ignored.

The Ranevsky family's decision therefore to be passive in the face of the sale of their property is one that is propelled primarily by their emotional judgement. They just can't believe that something this catacysmic is happening to them and as a result respond with apathy. It is Lopakhin who responds with rational judgement, buying the orchard himself after his advice is ignored and benefiting from it as a result. Pishchik too is another character who is shown to make rational choices rather than emotional ones. His practical, level-headed decision to allow mining on his estate is shown to be a good decision because he earns enough to pay off his debts.

Chekhov seems to be indicating the dangers of making decisions based on emotions alone. If we allow them to rule our lives, he seems to be suggesting, and our actions to be ruled by our hearts, we might find ourselves in a similar passive state to the Ranevsky family. It is only those who are solidly practical in this play who seem to get ahead.

agonistmary | Student
How are the actions taken by the main characters propelled by rational and emotional judgement
Read the study guide:
The Cherry Orchard

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question