Plot Structure in The Cherry Orchard

The structure of the plot in The Cherry Orchard is tightly unified. The play moves around Lyubov and the sale of the cherry Orchard. The play maintains the unities of time, place and character. The entire setting of the play takes place on her estate, mostly in the home where she has spent her childhood.

Anton Chekhov(1860-1904)

The first act of the play is largely introductory, with the main characters being presented and initially developed. The conflict and the setting of the play are also clearly established. By the second act, the rising action of the plot has begun. The action continues to build in the third act, rising to a climax when the estate is sold. When Lyubov learns that Lopakhin, a former slave, has purchased the Cherry Orchard, she weeps. Her tears are for the loss of her childhood home and for the passing of the old aristocratic society of Russia. The falling action revolves around Lyubov's departure to Paris and tying up the loose ends. Gayev takes Job the first time in his life, and Varya also finds a position for herself. Trofimov makes plans to continue his perpetual studies, and Anya makes the decision to stay behind in Russia to go to school. Lopakhin reveals his excitement about the purchase of the cherry Orchard and his plans to develop it in the conclusion of the play.

At the end of the fourth and final act, he is already clearing the land to make room to build the summer villas. The only remnant of the old order left behind in the cherry orchard is Firs, the faithful old valet, who is feeling very lost and alone.

The outcome of the plot is clearly tragic. Lyubov, the protagonist of the play, has fought to save the cherry Orchard, but she fails miserably due to her inability to change. Her clinging to the past defeats her in the end. Lopakhin, a symbol of the newly emerging capitalistic middle class buys the estate at a foreclosure auction and immediately begins to change it, destroying the old, aristocratic way of life that the cherry orchard symbolizes. In addition to the main plot, there are several minor subplots, all revolving around love, but returns to him in the end when she has no place else to go. Anya is attracted to Trofimov, but can't win him, for he is too preoccupied with lofty ideas and the pursuit of further studies. Varya is attracted to Lopakhin and hopes to marry him. However, he is too busy with his business and making money than to fall in love or to propose marriage. Even Dunysha, the servant, can't persuade Yasha to marry her. He is eager to return to Paris with Lyubov. As a result, none of the romances in the novel come to a happy conclusion.

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