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MonkeyNotes-The Cherry Orchard by Anton Pavlovich Chekov
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Act IV

The final scene shifts to a smaller room in Lyobov's childhood home; it is the same room seen in the first act. The stage is filled with packed trunks and traveling bags. Yasha is holding a tray of glasses of champagne. Lopahin, Trofimov, and the servants have come to bid farewell to Lyobov and her family. A sense of desolation hangs over all.

Although she is pale, Lyobov is not weeping. In a dramatic gesture, she gives away her purse to the servants. Lopahin insists that everyone has some champagne for a farewell toast, but he tells the gathered crowd that they should hurry so Lyobov will not miss her train. Lopahin also teases Trofimov about his being a perpetual student, but he offers him some money, which Trofimov refuses.

There are several last minute details. Dunyasha enters to bid farewell to Yasha, who is going to Paris with Lyobov. Although she is passionately in love with Yasha, he does not seem to care much about her. Surprisingly, Pischtchik comes in to pay off his debts to Lopahin and Lyobov and to wish Lyobov all the best. Lyobov tells Charlotta, who is not going to Paris, that she will help her to find a new position. Anya worries about Firs and suggests that he should perhaps be taken to the hospital after Lyobov's departure. Gaev admits that he feels somewhat relieved, almost calm, now that everything is settled; however, when he and Lyobov reminisce about the cherry orchard, both of them cry about losing it. When she is finally ready to depart, Lyobov appeals to Lopahin, asking him to marry Varya; he seems to agree, even though no definite plans are made. As she leaves, Lyobov bids her childhood home a final farewell.

After everyone has left the stage, the only sound is that of an axe chopping down one of the trees in the orchard, clearing the way for the future. Suddenly, Firs appears at the doorway. Feeling lost and forgotten, he sits down to rest on the sofa. As the play ends, there is a low, mournful sound, like the breaking of a harp strong.


Notes

The entire play seems to have come full circle with the final act taking place in the same room of the house as the first act. There are, however, many changes in the room. There are no curtains on the windows and no pictures on the wall. The furniture has been removed, and large packed trunks and traveling bags fill the room. Lopahin, Trofimov, and the servants have assembled to bid Lyobov farewell.

Lyobov is pale and weak. Although she is financially broke and has lost her childhood home, she still refuses to accept reality. In a generous gesture, she gives the servants her purse, which contains the last of her money. It is a flashback to two earlier events in the play: when she gives a beggar gold coins even though she cannot afford to feed her servants and when she rents the Jewish orchestra for the final ball even though she does not have the money to pay them.

In contrast to the grieving Lyobov, Lopahin is animated and excited. He has champagne for everyone and insists that they have a toast before Lyobov's departure. In addition, he talks about his future plans for the entire estate, and at the end of the play, the sound of an axe felling a tree is clearly heard in the background. Lopahin has wasted no time in changing things in the cherry orchard.

Trofimov and Lopahin criticize one another in a friendly way. Trofimov reprimands the new owner for his eagerness to build the villas for foreigners, while Lopahin criticizes him for being a perpetual student. In the end, Lopahin offers Trofimov some money, which he refuses.

There is much concern over the departure of Lyobov. Anya and Lyobov worry about Firs, who will be left behind without a home. Anya suggests that he be taken to the hospital, but at the end of the act, he is still present and feeling lost and lonely. Lyobov also worries about Varya and asks Lopahin to marry her. Lopahin half- heartedly agrees, but makes no effort to propose to Lyobov's older daughter, which causes her to weep. Lyobov is also concerned about Anya, who will remain in Russia to study, and about Charlotta, who needs to find a new position. Dunyasha is feeling heart-broken, for Yasha seems to be excited about going with Lyobov and leaving Russia and Dunyasha behind. Finally, Gaev and Lyobov express their grief over the loss of their childhood home.

The play fittingly ends on a mournful note. As old Firs rests alone on the sofa, there is a long, sad note, like the one heard earlier in the forest; it is like the sound of a breaking harp string.

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