In this play, Anton Pavlovich Chekhov combined many different types of plays. We can spot the lyrical, psychological play and atmosphere play. The author emphasized the man and his psychological characterization, not paying much attention to the plot that only served to describe the characters.
This play takes place inside each and every one of us because we fight with ourselves. The style of writing is simple as are the dialogues. Throughout the book, we can notice peace and quiet even though the relationships between the characters are chaotic and complex.
Here we have 4 acts and there is no event that can be classified as the breaking point of the play. The play begins calmly and ends calmly even though there are many event and clarifications during the plot. Through the play, the author shows us the confrontations between the characters. We could say that the plot twist is the arrival of Serebryakov and his younger wife Yelena to the village.
All of the characters are static, weak and melancholic. They spent their lives waiting for something to change but they do nothing to provoke any kind of change. Their lives go on with no sense, excitement or joy.
Even though Voynitsky woke up from that dream for a while he didn’t last long. Soon he went back to his old life and he was ready to spend it without any sense with his niece Sonya. All of the characters are described as if they were waiting for death but none of them was ready to commit suicide.
Chekov described his characters through dialogues while being very realistic in describing their lives without any accusations or explanations. There is no particular moral to the story but the author did a good job in describing the states of people in certain situations.
Time: 24hours on an autumn night
Place: Russian village – Serebryakov’s house
The plot begins with the description of the life of Serebryakov. He is a retired professor who lives in a house and from his past we find out that in the last 25 years he received a lot of many from that house so that he could live a glamorous life and have everything. The people who financed him were proud of him even though they did not know how his life went on. Nobody knew he lived by somebody else’s rules and only left an impression of a talented and intelligent person.
When he was working he did not have many students and now, in his retirement, he tried to write. In reality, his writing was only putting to paper somebody else’s thoughts about life without it making any sense.
He was lucky in his love life and women always loved him. The first woman brought the house were the play takes place into the marriage. From that marriage he had a daughter named Sofia, but everyone called her Sonya. His wife died early and he remarried again. This time he picked a much younger wife Yelena. He believed that she resented the fact that he was that old so he would always say to her that he has the right to live despite his age.
His daughter Sonya was young but not very pretty. She took care of the house with uncle Vanya. When Serebryakov and his wife arrived, Sonya’s stepmother, she got lazy and her life sort of stopped. In the beginning Sonya did not talk to her stepmother but after some time they started to socialize and Sonya admitted that she was in love with Mikhail Lvovich Astrov. Astrov was a doctor that would drink too much sometimes but Sonya was in love with him and was very unhappy about that. In the moment she realized she can’t change her faith she turned to faith and that was her salvation.
Sonya’s uncle Vanya was a middle aged man who realized he wasted his life doing nothing. When he was 47 he realized he has spent his life working in this house so that Serebryakov could be dedicated to his writing. He also realized that Serebryakov only pretended to be an intellectual while in reality he would never get famous because of his works. He felt like a fool for believing him and he was very angry because he realized he could have done a lot of different stuff in his life. He was unable to make his peace with it.
On the estate, there was another family and that was the family of his deceased wife. Maria Vasilyevna Voynitsky was the mother of his first wife and her husband died. Besides her, Marina also lived there. She was a nanny but everyone considered her to be a part of the family. Also Telegin lived here. He was a poor worker who helped around the house and he knew how to play the guitar so he would cheer up the calm atmosphere.
The professor said to everyone that he wants to sell the estates and that would make Sonya and Vanya homeless. Vanya couldn’t put up with the injustice so he took a gun and decided to kill the professor. When he shot he realized that he had missed the professor and he felt embarrassed because he was in love with his wife Yelena who paid no attention to him.
Vanya felt like his niece Sonya. He considered his faith to be tragic and that he has nothing to live for. He was aware of the fact that he wasn’t that old and what to do with the rest of his life was a question that frightened him. Even though he wanted to start a new life Astrov kept on telling him that the two of them are the same and that they have nowhere to go.
Astrov was a doctor that worked in the villages and because of his exhausting job he started drinking. He admitted that he had a problem with alcohol but claimed that he is the best doctor when he is drunk. He lived as a loner and had no family. He lost faith in himself and had very low self-esteem. He felt nothing and loved no one and that was his biggest tragedy.
Sonya was an ideal wife for him but he never felt anything for her. On the other hand, he felt very attached to Yelena. She represented everything he had and couldn’t get back and that was youth. He tough that, if Yelena escaped with him he would feel young again. He asked her to meet him many times but she refused and couldn’t wait to get out of that house.
Astrov realized his life made no sense and he decided to go away. He said he would be back after the winter but he knew that he wasn’t saying the truth. He believed that the best way to pass the time and forget about his meaningless life was drinking.
Yelena was a young, 27 years old woman and she was very unhappy. She is the center of the plot and the main reason of her unfortunate life was her old, grumpy and nervous husband who couldn’t satisfy her needs. Even though she hated him for that she never cheated on him or betrayed him in any way.
Yelena never felt comfortable in that house because of Astrov’s and Vanya’s feeling for her. Vanya was her husband’s dead wife’s brother and Sonya was in love with Astrov.
In the end, she left the house with her husband leaving behind a shot in a different kind of life.
Charachters: Serebryakov, Yelena, Sonya, Vanya, AStrov, Marina, Telegin
Uncle Vanya – he is a 47 years old man who realized that he wasted his life. He shared the same miserable destiny with his niece Sonya. When he realized that his whole life was a fraud he felt betrayed and when he found out that the professor wanted to sell the house he tried to kill him but missed. The only nice thing in his life was Yelena but she paid no attention to him.
Sonya – her life was miserable because of her love for AStrov. She worked a lot with her uncle on the estate and never actually lived a full life. She had no strength to change anything and she found her salvation in faith.
Astrov – he was a doctor and an intellectual stuck in the Russian villages. He spent his life alone and working. He is indifferent towards everything except Yelena who never felt anything for him. He made peace with his meaningless life.
Yelena – a 27 years old woman stuck in an unhappy marriage with her much older husband. She made peace with her life and never tried to change anything. She was completely rational in her thoughts about life and she was always faithful to her husband even though many men declared their love for her.
Serebryakov – he was an old professor who brough sadness and unhappiness to everyone’s lives. Vanya and Yelena believed he was the one to blame for their unhappy lives while Sonya loved her father in spite of everything. He was old and sick and felt jealous of the youth. He is a stuck up and expects everyone’s undivided attention. He avoids talking about his work and he never accomplished much in his life.
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov Biography
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov was born in 1860 in Ukraine. He finished high school in his home town and went to med school in Moscow. He had a heart condition and married the actress O. L. Knipper
As a student, he started writing and except for plays he also wrote novels and stories. His best works are mostly short stories. Chekov had a great influence on the development of playwriting.
Some of his most famous works are: “Uncle Vanya”, “Three sisters”, “The Cherry Orchard”.
He wrote short stories about people who were changed by the social reality. His plots are simple with no big heroes or events. He died in Badenweiler hospital in 1904.