Character of Louba Ranevsky in The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov

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Character of Louba Ranevsky in The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov

LUBOV. Oh, my sins. ... I've always scattered money about without holding myself in, like a madwoman, and I married a man who made nothing but debts. My husband died of champagne--he drank terribly-- and to my misfortune, I fell in love with another man and went off with him, and just at that time--it was my first punishment, a blow that hit me right on the head--here, in the river ... my boy was drowned, and I went away, quite away, never to return, never to see this river again ...I shut my eyes and ran without thinking, but _he_ ran after me ... without pity, without respect. I bought a villa near Mentone because _he_ fell ill there, and for three years I knew no rest either by day or night; the sick man wore me out, and my soul dried up. And last year, when they had sold the villa to pay my debts, I went away to Paris, and there he robbed me of all I had and threw me over and went off with another woman. I tried to poison myself. ... It was so silly, so shameful. ... And suddenly I longed to be back in Russia, my own land, with my little girl. ... [Wipes her tears] Lord, Lord be merciful to me, forgive me my sins! Punish me no more! [Takes a telegram out of her pocket] I had this to-day from Paris. ... He begs my forgiveness, he implores me to return. ... [Tears it up] Don't I hear music”1 

The extract taken from lines….. Act II of The Cherry Orchard written by Anton Chekhov introduces us to the plot development of the play, and gives us an insight into the protagonist Louba Ranevsky’s character. I consider the extract very significant as through this dramatic monologue Louba delineates her escapades, her foibles, her illusions and her quandary- a life put to the test of time at every turn and corner. It is very conducive in inferring and analyzing what kind of a personality she is!

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The dramatist portrays her as an aristocratic lady, the owner of her ancestral Cherry Orchard.  The extract is in itself sufficient enough to help us decipher the intricate web of her life that Louba is weaving. She is so lost in the reminiscences of the past that she hardly ventures to reconcile to the present. She vacillates in her resolutions unwaveringly, being metaphorically blind, and is wholly, swayed by her emotions rather than reason. The context of the lines is Lopakhin’s sincere advice to Louba to get the Cherry Orchard transformed into villas in order that she can pay ...

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