Topics for Further Study

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Investigate Henrik Ibsen's use of symbolism in The Wild Duck and compare it to Chekhov's use of it in The Seagull.

Investigate life expectancy and infant mortality rates in Russia at the time of Chekhov's play and relate your findings to two significant revelations of The Seagull, the death of Nina's child and Sorin's disclosed age.

Research the state of medicine in Russia in the 1890s and relate your findings to Dorn, the physician in The Seagull, and to Chekhov's own medical career and struggle with tuberculosis.

Study some of the artistic manifestos of the late nineteenth century, such as George B. Shaw's The Quintessence of Ibsenism (1891), and Leo Tolstoy's What Is Art (1898), that elucidate the principles of realism in literature, whether in drama or fiction, and relate them to Chekhov's practice in The Seagull.

Research the structural principles of the ‘‘well made’’ play, that is, one that follows the form described by Aristotle in his discussion of tragedy in The Poetics. Compare those principles with Chekhov's practice in The Seagull.

Research Count Leo Tolstoy's complaints about Chekhov's alleged failure to use his art to advance a moral cause. Explain whether or not you think that charge is validated by the playwright's thematic concerns in the play.

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