(Drama for Students)

Alienation and Loneliness
Despite the fact that they have been there for over ten years and that their house is full of visitors, the Prozorov sisters feel lonely in the town where they live. For one thing, they are better educated than the people around them, which isolates them intellectually. Even though Vershinin tells them that he doubts there could even be a town "so boring and so dismal that it doesn't need intelligent, cultivated people," it is clear that they do not share his optimistic viewpoint and his ability to look to the future. Their friends in town are, for the most part, from the military, who are posted there temporarily and are inevitably going to move on, as they actually do in the end. Andrei shuts himself in his room with his violin and Olga removes herself from company, complaining that she has headaches. Even the engagement between Irina and Tuzenbach, which she enters into with reluctance because she feels the need to be more involved, ends with abrupt violence, ruining her chance to break through the wall of alienation that has surrounded her family since their father's death. Their hope that life in Moscow would make much difference by putting them among their own type of people is cast into doubt by Vershinin, who has just come from Moscow and recalls being lonely there.

Love and Passion
This play is a net of interwoven romances, all of them presenting differing degrees of sincerity and passion. Each character gives readers a different view of love. Andrei's love is that of the hopelessly exploited, while Natasha acts as the exploiter to him and as a martyr to her children. Masha and Vershinin are sincerely happy with each other, escaping confining marriages, while Kulygin, though unimaginative, displays a pure and selfless love by comforting his wife when she is upset over losing her lover. He confides also to Olga that he should have married her, not Masha, indicating that he is bound to Masha by devotion. Irina has an open and jocular...

(The entire section is 827 words.)