Illustration of a chopped down cherry tree that was cut into logs

The Cherry Orchard

by Anton Chekhov

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What imagery is used in Anton Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard?

Quick answer:

Imagery in The Cherry Orchard includes the orchard itself, with its frosty blossoms. There's also the image of Fiers, the faithful old retainer lying down on a sofa having been forgotten and abandoned by the family he's served loyally for so many years.

Expert Answers

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Right throughout The Cherry Orchard Chekhov uses some vivid imagery to highlight certain of the play's themes and to give us an insight into the lives of the characters depicted on stage.

First of all, we have the cherry orchard itself with its frosty blossoms on the cold early spring morning. The inclement weather hints darkly at what's to come, with Lyuba losing her estate as part of major changes in Russian society. For Lyuba, the frost on the cherry orchard's blossoms represents the imminent decline of her estate and her exalted position in society.

More important imagery comes later on in the play, in act IV, when Fiers, the faithful old family retainer, lies down on a sofa and complains about being forgotten and left behind by the very people he's served so loyally for many years. This powerful image speaks volumes about the changes in Russian society that lead to certain people like Fiers being left on the scrap heap.

Suddenly all alone in the world, Fiers is immobilized with fear at what the future may hold. In lying down on the sofa, it's almost as if he's waiting for death, a death that accompanies the end of a whole way of life.

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