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MonkeyNotes-The Cherry Orchard by Anton Pavlovich Chekov
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Yermolay Alexeyevitch (Lopahin)

Lopahin is a former slave in the cherry orchard. After gaining his freedom, he works very hard and amasses a fortune for himself as a merchant; however, he remains loyal to Lyobov. When she returns from Paris after a five-year absence, he comes to the cherry orchard to meet and greet her. After her arrival, he tells Lyobov that he wants her to look at him with affection.

Lopahin knows that Lyobov is having financial problems and will probably have to sell the cherry orchard. Wanting to help her, he offers his advice and suggests that she builds some summer villas on the estate to rent out to foreign tourists; the money that she collects can be used to save the cherry orchard. The aristocratic Lyobov refuses to listen to Lopahin's capitalistic suggestions.

Varya is very attracted to Lopahin during the play. In fact, everyone seems to assume that the two of them will marry; Lopahin, however, fails to propose to Varya. He seems too interested in his business and making money to be bothered with romance. At the end of the play, Lyobov, concerned about her daughter's welfare, actually asks Lopahin to marry Varya. He agrees, but still does not propose. The audience is made to wonder if Lopahin will really every marry Varya.

Lopahin is the symbol of the new Russian order - the emerging middle class that makes its own wealth. He rises above his past history as a slave to become a rich and respected businessman. When the cherry orchard is auctioned, he has enough money to outbid Gaev and purchase the entire estate. There is great irony in the fact that Lyobov was once master over the man who purchases her childhood home.


Lopahin is proud of becoming the owner of the cherry orchard and talks about the many plans he has for using it to make more money for himself. In spite of his success, however, he does not become miserly. He offers to give Trofimov, the perpetual student, some money to continue his studies. He also insists that everyone drinks some of his champagne when they gather to bid Lyobov farewell at the end of the play.

Lopahin is clearly a man of action. At the end of the play, the sound of an axe felling the trees in the orchard can be heard. The new owner of the estate has wasted no time in implementing a plan to make the orchard profitable for himself. A member of the new Russian order, Lopahin has capitalistic rather than aristocratic ideas and will build the summer villas to rent out to foreign tourists.

Trofimov

Trofimov is an interesting character who is known as a perpetual student. He knows Lyobov and her family well, for he had been the tutor for Grisha, Lyobov's only son, who was killed in an accident. When Lyobov and Anya return to the cherry orchard, Trofimov comes to greet them. Lyobov, however, is at first saddened to see Trofimov, for his presence reminds her of the loss of Grisha. Trofimov is an intelligent, freethinking member of the new Russian order. He loves to hear himself talk and gives long discourses on his lofty ideas, including his thoughts on some men being above romantic love, the direction of humanity's progress, and the importance of attaining truth. Because of his ideas and rhetoric, Trofimov is often teased, especially by Lopahin.

Trofimov is attracted to Anya, calling her "my sunshine, my spring." She is even more enamored of him and delights in listening to every word of his long discourses. When the cherry orchard is lost, he helps her to accept the change without regret. As much as he likes Anya, Trofimov dislikes Varya, believing her to be a nosy older sister who interrupts the privacy of Anya and himself.

In the third act, Trofimov gets into an argument with Lyobov. When he calls her lover a wretch and reprimands Lyobov for not shunning him, she gets nasty towards him. She calls him a good for nothing schoolboy, incapable of understanding true love. Trofimov, hurt by her harsh words, runs out and proceeds to fall down the steps, bringing comic relief to the play. He is also humorous when he worriedly searches for his galoshes that are in pathetic condition. It is obvious that he is not the least bit concerned about his image or financial position; in fact, he refuses to take money from Lopahin when it is offered.

At the end of the play, the optimistic Trofimov is headed for the University in Moscow to continue his studies once again. Even though he is very different than Lopahin in most ways, like him, Trofimov is a part of the new, emerging Russian society that will succeed on new philosophies rather than on an aristocratic past.

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