The Cherry Orchard

The cherry orchard itself plays a fascinating role in Chekhov’s work. Early on in the play, Madame Ravenskey makes a particularly revealing comment. She states, “If there is one thing that’s interesting, remarkable in fact, in the whole province, it’s our cherry orchard.” Lopakhin responds by saying, “There’s nothing remarkable about the orchard except that it’s a very big one. It only bears once every two years, and then you don’t know what to do with the fruit. Nobody wants to buy it.” This is important because it reveals a perspective held by the upper class in general; the perspective that their lifestyle, possessions  personal worth etc are actually of greater import than those below them. In reality, rich or poor there is no true difference (in the context of social worth) between these characters. I believe that is exactly the point Chekhov is trying to make.

The cherry orchard is a carnal manifestation of the upper class in this sense. Ravenskey believes it to be something more grand than it truly is. In the end, it is no greater than many other orchards found throughout Russia and the entire planet. It is also not immune to the presence of the poor. As the upper class live among servants (that they may or may not treat poorly) anyone may walk through the orchard, such as the Tramp who frightens Barbra.

The rich and poor are directly integrating each day in a societal context. The metaphor continues as the cherry orchard is literally torn down bit by bit, eliminating the presence of the upper class and mixing it’s components into a world of social “equality.” Indeed, it is a strong social metaphor found throughout the play.