Why is this considered one of the "great plays" in theatrical history?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One reason behind why Chekhov's work is held in such high esteem is that it is a work that is able to integrate elements of comedy and drama in a real life depiction.  It is startling to try to develop the number of theatrical works that actually render a portrait of real life, the life that regular people live.  Chekhov's work actually does this, in terms of bringing out the problems that real people experience.  The struggles of the characters in the drama are rooted in tragic predicaments, but with characters who never surrender their own sense of humor about things.  In being able to present a comic vision within the predicament of tragedy, the work is seen as a "great play" because of its accurate depiction of modern reality.  Contrary to the Shakespearean or Greek conception of theatre, there are multiple valences where comedy and tragedy intersect and bifurcate one another because of the complexity in the modern setting.  In doing so, there is an appreciation within Chekhov's work because of its openness to present reality in both a complex and truthful manner.

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The Cherry Orchard

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