Conflict between Old Aristocracy and New Mercantilism

It is a drama about transmission of Russian class during the 19th century. The Cherry Orchard is the symbol of aristocracy and the cutting down (felling) cherry trees is the symbol of the decline of aristocracy. Both Lyubov and Gayev represent aristocrats whereas Lopakhin represents working and middle class businessman who rises in his business; he is the synonym to hard work and by working hard he rises into aristocracy.

Anton Chekhov(1860-1904)

On the other hand, Lyubov and Gayev don't work, but want to defend their status even in hard time. As a result, they can't maintain their status and finally face decadence. The causes of decline of aristocracy are: Impracticality of the so called aristocrats. In the play Lyubov gives the gold coin to the beggar, though she is losing her status; she herself is facing hard times and has lack of money. Rather, her adopted daughter, Varya, 24 years old religious minded daughter, seems conscious about the behavior of her mother. She responds to her mother; "There's nothing in the house for the servants to eat and you give him a gold piece." Varya is very practical who after realizing that Lopakhin, who is making progress in business, he won't marry her due to their difference in their interests and class distinction, decides to go to a nunnery.

Likewise, Lyubov rejects the useful advice of Lopakhin to stop the cherry orchard from being sold and she could pay the loan of the bank. He advises her to cut down cherry trees and sell the wood in auction for summer cottages so that she will get income of 25,000 rubles a year so that she could be saved. If she agreed he would give a loan of 50,000 rubles. But she clings to linger on her old values. Rather, she waits for money from her aunt. She seems worried about only maintaining her status at any cost. Being impractical and taking the serious matter in a light way she is asked to be Lopakhin's business partner, but she rejects, she believes on fate nor on work.

Moreover, she arranges for dance party, everybody comes. Firs old valet of 87, warns her, but she doesn't listen to him. She can neither accept new ideas of Lopakhin, nor the conservative idea of Firs. She does everything to show her superiority and pretention. Even when she has no money she asks her brother to give loan to another. On the surface, she seems very kind, but her kindness seems to be impractical and guided by the status quo.

On the other hand, Lopakhin knows the value of work and time. Once he was a peasant. Then he became a merchant and was rising in the social hierarchy. He doesn't hide and rather doesn't like to hide his reality; he doesn’t forget his past. Rather, he progresses by getting inspiration and moral from the past, progresses in business and maintains his status; he buys Lyubov's "cherry orchard" for business purpose at 90,000 rubles at auction.

He has a business mind, practical minded person though he is not well educated. He represents all working and middle class people who succeeded in by fighting explicitly or directly against aristocracy. Rather the laziness and obsession about aristocracy is the cause of their downfall in status. In other words, the aristocrats are responsible for the decadence of aristocracy whereas the hard labor of working and middle class people is the way to success for them to raise their status.

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