The Cherry Orchard – Monologue (Trophimof)

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A monologue from the play by Anton Chekhov

NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from Two Plays of Tchekhof. Trans. George Calderon. London: Grant Richards Ltd., 1912.


Barbara’s afraid we shall go and fall in love with each other. Day after day she never leaves us alone. With her narrow mind she cannot understand that we are above love.

To avoid everything petty, everything illusory, everything that prevents one from being free and happy, that is the whole meaning and purpose of our life. Forward!

We march on irresistibly towards that bright star which burns far, far before us! Forward! Don’t tarry, comrades! All Russia is our garden. The earth is great and beautiful; it is full of wonderful places. 

[A pause] Think, Anya, your grandfather, your great-grandfather and all your ancestors were serf-owners, owners of living souls. Do not human spirits look out at you from every tree in the orchard, from every leaf and every stem?

Do you not hear human voices? . . . Oh! it is terrible. Your orchard frightens me. When I walk through it in the evening or at night, the rugged bark on the trees glows with a dim light,

and the cherry-trees seem to see all that happened a hundred and two hundred years ago in painful and oppressive dreams. Well, well, we have fallen at least two hundred years behind the times.

We have achieved nothing at all as yet; we have not made up our minds how we stand with the past; we only philosophize, complain of boredom, or drink vodka.

It is so plain that, before we can live in the present, we must first redeem the past, and have done with it; and it is only by suffering that we can redeem it, only by strenuous, unremitting toil.

If you have the household keys, throw them in the well and go away. Be free, be free as the wind. Believe what I say, Anya; believe what I say. I’m not thirty yet; I am still young, still a student; but what I have been through!

I am hungry as the winter; I am sick, anxious, poor as a beggar. Fate has tossed me hither and thither; I have been everywhere, everywhere. But wherever I have been, every minute, day and night, my soul has been full of mysterious anticipations.

I feel the approach of happiness, Anya; I see it coming.

Read the play here

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