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Chekhov's portrayal of the servant class suggests his critique of a social system that destroys their identity as individuals. In the play The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov, readers are exposed to the various classes

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Chekhov's portrayal of the servant class suggests his critique of a social system that destroys their identity as individuals. In the play The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov, readers are exposed to the various classes in Russian society and the way in which each individual class is treated and viewed. One of these classes, the servant class, is represented by three characters who each possess different qualities and features that promote the idea that they have had their identities stripped as a result of their status in society. Feers, Yasha and Dooniasha symbolize different stages of Russian society and its evolution, a concept which is brought out in the way in which they are treated. As a result of revolution, the servants' identity as individuals change too, and only when serfdom was abolished did these people have their own identity. The oldest servant is Feers, who spent his life serving faithfully and loyally to the family. Despite a reformation that allowed serfs to attain freedom, he chose to remain and "stayed with the Master and the Mistress", showing his commitment to serve although there were opportunities that could have bettered his life. When asked by Liubov of his intention after the orchard was sold, he said, "I'll go wherever you order me to." ...read more.


He fails to understand that, as a servant, it is his duty to do what he is told without question - he reacts to Ania in a way that is not expected of a servant. While Feers chooses to let Liubov decide his future, Yasha makes sure that he is safe, asking Liubov to "do me a favour and take me with you [to Paris]". Yasha is unashamed to approach the mistress of the house for a favour, certainly acting out of his place when he does so. If Yasha had not done so, readers get the impression that he may have ended up like Feers, reiterating that servants have no identity of their own. A similar character to Yasha is Dooniasha, who also has a different ideal of her position in the house as Feers. Like Yasha, Dooniasha acts above her status, constantly powdering her nose and speaking of her delicateness. Despite being reminded by Lopakhin to "remember your place", she still mingles with the upper class, and even kisses Ania when she returns from France. This act of affection shows her desire to be an equal with the superior class. When she tells of her experiences and stories, she is also ignored by the upper class, showing how little attention she is being paid. ...read more.


The servant class, to an intellectual, is the most unfairly treated class as they do not receive the respect and appreciation they should be getting despite their service. Being "people you don't admit further than the kitchen" demonstrates the servants' lowly status as well as the poor treatment they receive. This attitude that is shown to the servants shows their insignificance and inferiority, suggesting their lack of identity. From these views of Trofimov, Chekhov is offered an opportunity to express his notion of this social class. Chekhov's portrayal of the servant class suggests that their members have had their identity destroyed. Feers, Yasha and Dooniasha are not taken seriously by those of the upper class and this is shown through the ungrateful treatment they receive. Through their personalities and individual goals in life, the servants are seen to not have a definite destination in their lives. This sense of powerlessness and the dependence on their masters to dictate, in a way, their future is the social criticism that Chekhov has for the servant class. The difference in which Feers, a symbol of the past, and Yasha and Dooniasha, symbols of the present, are treated shows a step towards freedom for the serfs. However, while the servant class existed in society, Chekhov's critique suggests a class that relied on others for their own lives. ?? ?? ?? ?? Chekhov: The Cherry Orchard 1 Samantha Mak ...read more.

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