Analysis Pages

Tone in The Cherry Orchard

Tone Examples in The Cherry Orchard:

Act I

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"Gormandizer! [All laugh.]..."   (Act I)

The noun “gormandizer” is an insult for someone who eats too much, often in a short amount of time. The group finds Pischin’s consumption of Lubov’s pills to be humorous rather than cause for concern, reflecting the darkly comedic nature of the play.

"but now everything's all anyhow and you can't understand anything...."   (Act II)

Fiers directly states that things after Emancipation are more complicated and nothing is easily understood. He willfully ignores how he was oppressed during serfdom, and his attitude and preference for the nostalgic past align with Gaev’s and Madame Ranevsky’s views. However, Fiers’s role in the play is primarily that of the hard-hearing, grumpy old man who complains about “new things” and whose presence serves as comedy for the audience.

"[Feels his pockets, nervously] I've lost the money! The money's gone! [Crying] Where's the money? [Joyfully] Here it is behind the lining... I even began to perspire...."   (Act III)

This line is meant to elicit laughter from the audience. Pischin takes on the role of the clown as he fumbles around for the money, beginning to cry, only to discover it was in the lining of the coat all along. This comedic moment serves as a respite from the more dramatic elements of the play, and again lends to the interpretation of The Cherry Orchard as an absurd comedy.

"In the drawing-room the grand rond is being danced...."   (Act III)

The grand rond (or ronde) is a couples dance performed in a large circle. Chekov borrows from French when using dance terminology. By beginning the third act with a large spectacle, Chekov deliberately begins to build energy and tension towards the impending climax of the play.

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