The Cherry Orchard Arguments Paper

Polemic as Parting Advice:
The “Argument” of The Cherry Orchard
Incidentally, as we’re not likely to meet again, Td like to give you a bit of advice, by
way of farewell…
—Act Four, The Cherry Orchard (Fen 388)
/ think that, however boring it may be, there’s something new about my play.
—Chekhov (McVay 338)
Nothing new. Everything – moods, ideas, if you can … eall them that, characters – are
to be found in the earlier plays. Of course it’s beautiful, and raw anguish on the stage
hits the audience, but what the argument is about, I don’t know.
—Gorky on The Cherry Orchard (Rayfield 19)
Since this was Gorky’s “moment” – the triumphant premiere of The Lower
Depths in 1902 had heralded the arrival of the new man demanded by the new
century – so there may be a hint of ideologically induced deafness about the
fledgling playwright’s dismissal of his dying mentor’s play. The “new” was
Gorky: he was, as Nemierovich-Danchetiko put it in his review of the fn-st
draft of Summerfolk, the “great poet, to whose works practically the whole
world is listening at the moment” (Marsh 29). But would that settle any question
about the kind of “argument” Gorky expected – was there really “nothing
new”? There has always been something of a riddle about The Cherry
Orchard: its subtle, musical shifts in mood and genre were very new, and puzzling.
The familiar human cargo of a comedy with an estate setting, feckless
aristocrats, alienated underlings, the rising bourgeois entrepreneur, and the
philosophising radical student, seemed to define a recognisable range of class
relations in this dramaturgy-of-types comedy. Or was it, as some audiences
and actors felt, a tragedy? How could you end a play with the death of old Firs
and still insist that your play was a comedy? The audiences wept. The actors
Modern Drama, 48: i (Spring 2005) 30
Polemic as Parting Advice: The Cherry Orchard 31
wept. Chekhov’s insistence on “comedy” as the generic home of his play had,
as usual, complex determinants. But, as I want to argue, one neglected set of
determinants was that this play may have been (sotto voce) parting advice to a
friend: a friend who possihly represented the future, the “new man” so noisily
prophesied in Gorky’s works.
With Gorky, advice had always taken the form of polemic. Where
Nietzsche conducted philosophy with a hammer, his Russian afficionado felt
more at home with the axe. Summerfolk could readily be construed as Gorky’s
last word, his axe blow, on Chekhov’s theatrical and aesthetic world – the revolutionary
play Chekhov should have written, but didn’t. It was also the play
that the Moscow Art Theatre had been too frightened to take on. Gorky’s
attendance at rehearsals for The Cherry Orchard must have convinced him
that the “new” was within his grasp. By contrast, Chekhov knew that his time
was up – “as an author my time has passed,” he wrote to Olga Knipper on 20
September 1903 (McVay 337) – and, in a few months, Chekhov’s body would
be embalmed in the “Fresh Oysters” crates that brought his corpse back to
Moscow. But if we frame “Gorky’s moment” as one possible induction to The
Cherry Orchard, the polemical contours of Chekhov’s advice could help us to
limn the ghost that remains unrecognised in many of our contemporary productions:
at present, we gorkify what should be chekhov’d.”
Among friends sharing a consumptive cough, as Gorky and Chekhov were,
advice need be little more than a joke seasoned with good intentions, but
advice, however oblique, is polemical stuff. If the advice continually shifts its
genre perspectives, will it remain clear that it is “advice”? To whom is it
addressed? Plays declare neither their authors nor their audiences: dialogism
emphasises “addressivity,” that nothing means anything until it achieves a
response, however singular. The Latin root of advice is ad visum, which has
both a realistic strand – “according to what is seen” – and one that casts a
shadow of objective evaluation -“what seems best,” My argument will slither
across “what is seen,” “what was seen,” “what might have been seen,” “what
should have been seen,” and claim that there is a polemical measure of “what
seems best” discernible in Chekhov’s last play – but delivered via an aesthetic
rhetoric of implication, not confrontation. It would help if we knew in more
detail what Gorky saw when he saw The Cherry Orchard, but, aside from a
few well-known remarks, we don’t – although it is true that Knipper and
Stanislavsky were probably guilty of distorting the balance of sympathies in
favour of the feckless aristocrats. Nevertheless, how Gorky saw the play is a
measure of what he saw. Certainly, the inadequacy of his response is striking:
he appears to have seen little beyond the stereotypes that were readily available
to him, his unwillingness to be addressed at any other level was (probably)
a calculated denial of the play’s potential. But the case I want to make is
that the artistic ambivalence of Chekhov’s play makes best sense if “Gorky’s
moment” is the rhetorical situation that stimulates its gently subversive
polemic.^ It is revealing, I think, to look at the play as if it contained an intertextual
dialogue between friends who share more than their differences might
suggest – but the differences are important.
In spite of the fact that drama is somehow (theoretically) air-brushed out of
Bakhtin’s celebration of dialogical art, I am working with the assumption that
Chekhov’s play is dialogical in the profoundest Bakhtinian sense: it voices
and enfolds Gorky’s eschatological (political) strivings through a form that
continuously voices other perspectives. But the Bakhtinian affinities go
beyond the mere fact of a plurality of voices. It is the conflicting temporalities
that the play presents, the rich processual texture of its comic action, and a
form of closure that insists upon a palpable unfinalizability about its major
characters. The play riddles its audience with the indeterminacies of relationships,
narratives, and the ever-impending presentness of the “future.”^ The
riddling is in the laughter and the feeling – not Gorky’s “raw anguish” or the
“beautiful,” but a jauntily cheerful insistence on the importance of not being
eamest in our encounters with the whirligig of time. The carnival gesture of
retuming to a dramaturgy of Gogolian grotesque types and shifting genre
frames, maps out a shared, Russian field of possibilities in a play that appears
to demand a camival acceptance that the social good may be beyond absolutism.
But there is also a touching recognition of the prime, focus audience: the
friend, Gorky. Aleksei Maksimovich Peshkov chose his pseudonym, Gorky
(Bitter), as a sign of the self-overcoming required of a political warrior who,
like Hamlet, felt his gentleness to be a hindrance to his calling; a gentleness
that had to be suppressed and denied in order to ascend to the chilling spiritual
heights that beckoned in Nietzsche’s writings – to become a stormy petrel.
Trevor Griffiths comments on what he takes to be “a very special problem
in translating the emotionality of Chekhov’s text” (Miles 162), as if the problem
were to be understood as solely a matter of taking account of a different
national, and cultural, structure of feeling. But what if the emotionality of this
play, in all its shifting keys, is part of the polemic? Most likely, the production
failed to capture that camivalesque, Gogolian key signature that Chekhov’s
letters keep retuming to – “the entire play is cheerful and frivolous,” he wrote
to Olga Knipper, 21 September 1903 (McVay 338). More likely, Gorky saw
what was there: “raw anguish.” But perhaps a good playwright who saw both
the rehearsals and the performance should have been able to look beyond the
limitations of particular occasions? For instead of “argument,” in the strictly
limited sense of “rational discourse,” Gorky needed to respond to the kind of
argument articulated by the theatrical rhetoric of the play. The letters suggest
that he had the experience but missed the potential meanings – but that, in
itself, was part of the import of the play: in existential terms, our incomprehension
is inseparable from our contingency.
Chekhov’s tolerant, yet humorous, distrust of Gorky’s preachifying is evident
in his letters. But, as Henri Troyat points out, Gorky always retained his
Polemic as Parting Advice: The Cherry Orchard 33
faith in his mission as an educator, even if it meant that most of the plays have
“an air of militant sermonizing about them” (182). Unlike Chekhov, young
Gorky never could be content with “posing the questions correctly”; he possessed
the messianic smugness of Nil in Philistines^ who blithely asserts, “I’ll
make life give me the answer I want” (88). Gorky’s irrepressible cheerfulness
about change and the future went hand in hand with a sense of cultural leadership
that wholeheartedly embraced the task of raising the spirits of the common
people. Like Nil, Gorky had no time for what he regarded as bourgeois
defeatism and neurasthenia, for people who “just hang onto life by the shirttails
and complain endlessly” {Philistines 40). Interestingly, Chekhov
responded enthusiastically to the character of Nil, founding stereotype of the
proletarian hero, but advised Gorky to let the character make his impact without
resorting to overt sermonising or ideological confrontations. How typical
of Chekhov’s own methods of indirection that a key suggestion for change is
that Nil should be presented as a carefree chap who eats a lot after work:
When Nil tries to appear bigger than Petr and Tatiana and says that he is such a good
fellow, then an aspect is lost which is so characteristic of a decent working man in
Russia and that is his modesty. He boasts and quarrels, but it is clear what sort of
man he is without that. Let him be carefree, let him lark his way through all four
acts, let him eat a lot after work, and that wiU be enough for him to conquer the
audience. Chekhov, letter to Gorky, 22 October 1901 (Marsh 13)
It’s understandable that, on tbe eve of inevitable political upheaval, Gorky
expected his friend and fellow-craftsman to adopt a bigher, political profile
(and “argument”) supporting the revolutionary cause. The astounding success
of The Lower Depths at the Moscow Art Theatre (MAT), in December 1902,
seemed to have divided the company into progressives and conservatives in
terms of their expectations of the future repertoire. It is against the background
of such expectations that Gorky is reputed to have consoled the dying
author during rehearsals of The Cherry Orchard: “Now I’m convinced that
your next play will be a revolutionary one” (Peace 132). The terms of Gorky’s
earlier praise for Uncle Vanya may serve to indicate his own robust confidence
in the clear-cut thwack of the tendentious: “It’s a hammer with which
you pound on the public’s empty beads” (Karlinsky 337). (Since this
Nietzschean “hammer” is left as empty of content as tbe heads, no ideological
harm could come from these percussive encounters.) But contemporary
reviews (left and right) shared Gorky’s disappointment insofar as they seemed
to expect more overt social commentary from a play that appeared to be a
“state of the nation” play in an off-beat, allegorical mode: in particular, Trofimov
and Lopakhin were types who did not seem to fit neatly into the political
agon of either ideological faction – but troubled their expectations. For Gorky,
the “argument” of a play was a form of political discourse; it was (as many
modem literary theorists would have it) political discourse in a different key.
So the “ideas, if you […] call them that” of The Cherry Orchard failed to
shape up to the “onwards and upwards” of revolutionary discourse: the “raw
anguish” that registered Gorky’s sense of audience reaction would seem to
have been (in his terms) as futile as that bourgeois empathy that invariably
won Brecht’s scorn. It is significant that Gorky’s own reactions work on an
opposition between confused ideas and raw emotion – if only to establish that
ideas should come first. Not that Gorky had any pretensions about his own talents
as a subtle, philosophical thinker: as Mary Louise Loe has demonstrated,
he seized, opportunistically, upon those ideas that articulated his particular
dissatisfactions with the established social order (262).
In The Lower Depths, the down-and-outs and vagabonds who languish
dispiritedly in a bleak, cavernous lodging-house are momentarily aroused
from their habitual state of weakness and passivity by Satin’s monologue on
the “proud man.” Satin has much in common with a long line of tough-talking
hoboes who populate Gorky’s stories of 1898 and through whom Gorky could
take particular pleasure in rudely debunking the slave ethics of the Russian
intelligentsia – especially their servile devotion to the deprived, lower classes.
When Gorky first encountered Nietzsche’s writings in translation, around
1890, he said that it was like being hit over the head with “the blunt edge of an
ax” (qtd. in Loe 256). When old Luka in The Lower Depths is accused of lying
by the young thief, Pepel, he offers a shrewd defence against the axe of truth:
“Anyway, what do you want the truth for? The truth might come down on you
like an axe” (Gorky, Lower Depths 72). Like the hoboes. Satin is a romantic
revolutionary figure who preaches an unabashed Nietzschean pride in selffashioning
and self-overcoming. The only “truth” that matters to Satin is not a
Levin-like quest for the meaning of life, or the pursuit of philosophical knowledge,
but the striving (like Zarathustra’s) to make man the master of his own
fate. Satin’s “truth” replaces God and the consoling lie of religion with a fearless,
amoral faith in the strength and potential of man:
The TARTAR spreads something out on his plank bed, kneels down, prays. The
BARON points to the TARTAR, addressing SATIN.
BARON, Look.
SATIN, Lxave him. He’s all right, don’t interfere with him. (Laughs.) I’m in a kind
mood today, God knows why!
BARON, You’re always kind when you’ve been drinking. Kind – and clever,
SATIN, When I’m drunk – 1 like everything! Mmm-ye-e-s, So – he’s praying? Fine –
a man can believe, or not believe – that’s up to him. Man is free. Whatever he does,
he has to pay for himself – for believing, for not believing, for loving, for thinking –
man pays for it all himself, and that’s why he’s free. Man! There’s the truth for you!
What is Man? It isn’t me – or you – or them ,., no! It’s you and me and them and the
old man and Mahomet,., all rolled into one ! {He draws a figure ofa man in the
Polemic as Parting Advice: The Cherry Orchard 35
air.) You see? It’s tremendous! All the beginnings and all the ends are here –
everything, in Man – everything, for Man! Only Man exists, everything else is the
work of his hand and brain! Hu-man-kind! – it’s magnificent! It sounds so proud!
[.,.] {The Lower Depths 84)
The strength of Satin’s homespun Nietzscheanism is clearly tested at the
play’s close when the Actor tums out to be a weakling, incapable of taking
even the first steps to self-liberation – he commits suicide. No doubt the actors
of the MAT would have been tempted to generate some “raw anguish” in handling
the suicide of a fellow professional (played by Vishnevsky), but it seems
to have been a deftly meta-theatrical touch on Gorky’s part, calculated to
undercut excessive pathos. The whole point of the ending is Satin’s reaction to
the reported suicide that, in its casually understated dismissal of histrionics,
starkly underlines the extent to which Gorky’s Nietzschean stance could be
construed as a challenge both to conventional religious values and to Tolstoyan
The door is suddenly opened. The BARON stands in the doorway and shouts.
BARON, Hey .,. you .,. come ,., come here! Out there ,., in the yard ,,, the Actor .,,
He’s hanged himself!
Silence. Atl look at the BARON, From behind his back NASTYA appears, and, slowly,
her eyes wide open, makes her way to the table.
SATIN (quiedy) Ooh .,. spoilt our song ,,, the fool!
CURTAIN (Jhe Lower Depths 91)
Gorky was frustrated that neither audiences nor critics grasped what he
regarded as the heart of his play. His dissatisfactions appear to have centred
on the interpretation of Luka, the old vagrant with religious pretension,
because the actor playing the part readily won the audience’s sympathies –
creating ambivalence where Gorky probably hoped for certainties. At the
heart of the play, I think, is an entirely Nietzschean conflict of values where
Luka’s assertion of the ethics of altruism and compassion is undermined by
his own behaviour, and exposed as a slave ethic. For Satin, like Nietzsche,
pity is a demeaning attribute, a symptom of existential sickness, not of
strength. The palliatives that Luka dispenses to the various victims of life’s
injustices in the doss-house, expose his “pity” as a kind of lying that harms
more than it comforts. According to Lunacharsky, Gorky’s “God-building”
comrade and translator of Nietzsche, Gorky insisted that Luka was a cunning
character who “knows how to apply a plaster of lies to every wound” (qtd. in
Marsh 24). By contrast. Satin asserts the Promethean dignity of man. The
polemical intent is unmistakable, I think, but the sheer abstractness of Satin’s
rhetoric gives it a peculiarly hollow ring: the frisson of existential braggadocio
is short-lived.
The Lower Depths had its stunningly successful first performance on i8
December 1902. In July of that year, Chekhov had responded to Gorky’s
request for an objective critique of his play by a fellow professional and mentor.
Chekhov sent him a thoughtful, astute appraisal of the play. Among his
many useful observations, it is amusing to find the author of The Seagull complaining
about the off-stage suicide of the Actor in tbe final act. Even worse, it
is clear that, at this stage, our much-misunderstood major playwright failed to
recognise the profoundly Nietzschean import of Gorky’s hammer-blow ending:
“The death of the actor is terrible, you seem to be giving the audience a
sock on the jaw, for no apparent reason and without waming” (Budberg 12).
Gorky responded to these criticisms of Act Four with the insouciance proper
to a charismatic super-hobo who knows how to live dangerously: “I’m not
afraid of the Fourth Act. I’m not afraid of anything, that’s how I feel. A desperado,
that’s what I am!” (Budberg 12). By tbe time he came to write The
Cherry Orchard, Chekhov had a much clearer understanding of the political
amorfati that drove his friend and inheritor – tbis young Nietzschean desperado.
From Gorky’s point of view, what must have been so unsettling was that
the friend who (before anyone else had seen it) had praised his play as
“extremely new in approach and undoubtedly excellent” (Budberg 11)
seemed, in his own play, to be engaged in some kind of veiled polemic with
the desperado’s diagnoses of the present, the past, and tbe future. Gorky’s
doubts about the “argument” may have been shrewdly prescient, for if one
attempts to view the play from within a Bakhtinian perspective, there are elements
of ironic inversion and parodic allusion that could readily be construed
as subtly veiled polemic.
According to Alexander Kaun, while Gorky “never became a strictly party
member” (281), bis patent preference for the Marxists began as early as 1899.
He could not risk conducting open revolutionary work with police agents continually
on his heels, and the revolutionary parties were careful not to compromise
his position – nor their most vital source of funds. By 1902 Gorky had
clearly thrown in his lot with Lenin’s revolutionary Marxist movement, taking
over editorship of the Marxian review Zhizn and becoming a shareholder in
their Znaniye publishing house. Levin describes the ludicrous cloak-and-dagger
manoeuvres that led to the first meeting with the Moscow Committee of
the Social Democratic Leninists in 1902 (104-105). Nemirovich-Danchenko
and Stanislavsky were profoundly uneasy about the increasingly militant,
political profile that Gorky’s work would bring to the MAT. Nemirovich’s letters
urged Chekhov to complete the new play, clearly desperate for a piece
that would be less overtly “political.” He was delighted to receive what be
took to be a “symbolic poem,” thereby, anticipating the key terms of later
reception of the play, such as Francis Fergusson’s praise of it as a “theaterpoem
of the suffering of change” (Fergusson 162). But in the political climate
of the time. The Cherry Orchard was bound to be received as a political play.
Polemic as Parting Advice: The Cherry Orchard ‘ii
Perhaps, from Gorky’s point of view, it would be wise to consider the possibility
that it was (in certain key respects) a counter-revolutionary play?
Gorky adapted the messianic self-fashioning of Nietzsche’s Zarathustra to
his Russian context where, in the civic tradition of a poet of the people like
Nekrassov (who had urged the youth of his day to “Be a Citizen”), Gorky would
now call up the “mighty image of Man” in order to intone “Be a Man” (Levin
97) because the storm of change would now be breaking: “Let it break in all its
fury!” (Wettlin 640). Through his rebellious, brashly energetic hoboes, he articulated
his romantic involvement with the Promethean fearlessness and ruthlessness
that marked Nietzsche’s call for cultural rebirth. Nietzsche’s appeal to
“aeronauts of the spirit” who would be unafraid of sacrifice — “those brave birds
which fly out into the distance, into the farthest distance” {Daybreak 228) –
makes itself felt in Gorky’s heady, Zarathustra-like songs and prose-poems:
“The Song of the Stormy Petrel” and “The Falcon” hymn the “madness of the
brave” with turgid, idealistic intensity (Wettlin 690). Gorky’s fearless birds
became part of the iconography of communist ideology, one of the ways in
which Nietzsche’s injunction to hardness became assimilated into the ideological
rhetoric of Russian communism. When Chekhov read Gorky’s threnody to
the mighty image of Man, he said that it reminded him of “a sermon by a beardless
young priest” (Friedland 217): he had found a similar kind of religious
intensity in The Lower Depths, which (to Gorky’s delight) he said reminded
him of Strindberg. But Chekhov had as little sympathy with political eschatology
as he had with religious eschatology. Gorky’s fondness for preaching was
starkly evident in his early allegories, poems, and plays. It marred, in Chekhov’s
opinion, Foma Gordeev (1899) and Philistines (1902), but at the same
time, he could not deny the necessity for Gorky’s protest-“speak[ing] up at the
precise time when the public was ready for this protest” (Yarmolinsky 447).
I’m strong, Tm proud, I can do without you, I ean pass you by. Humanity is
advancing towards the highest truth, the greatest happiness that it is possible to
achieve on earth, and I am in the van! (The Cherry Orchard, Fen 389)
There is little doubt, I think, that Trofimov’s sense of strength, pride, and
truth at the end of The Cherry Orchard has all the infectious confidence in
revolutionary futurity that was associated with Gorky and his work. For many
of the leading players at the MAT, and the regular audiences, the allusion
would have been unmistakable after Gorky’s success with The Lower Depths.
But while Gorky could hardly avoid hearing echoes, quotations, or misquotations
of his work, there was little that added up to transparent counter-statement.
Trofimov identifies himself with the Gorkian “proud” man in Act Four,
but it often goes unremarked that Trofimov would seem to have refashioned
himself when compared to his preaching in Act Two, where he seems to be
rejecting the mystical, proud man that was specifically associated with Gorky.
TROFIMOV. We talked a lot yesterday, but we didn’t agree on anything. The proud
man, in the sense you understand him, has something mystical about him. Maybe
you’re right in a way, but if we try to think it out simply, without bieing too farfetched
about it, the question arises – why should he be proud? Where’s the sense
in being proud when you consider that Man, as a species, is not very well constructed
physiologically, and, in the vast majority of cases is coarse, stupid, and
profoundly unhappy, too? We ought to stop all this self-admiration. We ought
to-just work.
GAYEV, You’ll die just the same, whatever you do,
TROFIMOV. Who knows? And anyway, what does it mean – to die? It may be that
Man is possessed of a hundred senses, and only the five that are known to us perish
in death, while the remaining ninety-five live on afterwards, {The Cherry Orchard,
Fen 363)
There is a sense, here, of ironic inversion, where the revolutionary type
undercuts the claims of messianic self-fashioning, or at least destabilises confidence
in what could have been his own (Gorkian) rhetoric. The claims of the
“proud” man seem, in this act, to have arisen in an aristocratic context with
Gaev – a displacement that avoids any sense of overt anti-Gorkian polemic.
Since both Gaev and Trofimov have been established as victims of their own
rhetoric, the audience’s attention is focused on the banality of such rhetoric
rather than any ideational content. Chekhov has subtly recontextualised the
“proud” man rhetoric, so that elements of (possible) corroborative stylisation
are sounded in a dialogic context that is hostilely counterpoised to Gorky’s
prose paean to Man. But the hostility does not amount to open disagreement,
the parodic utterance is not shaped to claim greater semantic authority in any
finalisable sense. The counter-accent of physiological and human limitation is
kept within the all-encompassing parenthesis (and limitation) of earnest
The trick of stylisation, according to Bakhtin, was to adopt the “body of
devices of another person’s speech” in order to render their characteristic, particular
point of view: stylising another style “in the direction of that style’s
own tasks” {Problems 193). Bakhtin was aware that there must be, necessarily,
an element of evaluation – a “slight shadow of objectivization” {Problems
193) must be cast across the original utterance. By contrast, parodic utterance
sets out to discredit the original utterance: to make clear that the parodic utterance
is antithetical to the original utterance and that it claims greater semantic
authority. Part of the rhetorical complexity of what Chekhov can achieve
through dialogue is a musical synthesis of stylisation and the parodic.
In Act Two, Trofimov’s thematics and revolutionary style (“Humanity is
perpetually advancing …” [Fen 363]) identify Gorky’s works as (potential)
target utterances, but the “argument” is not just a matter of ideas – hence
Gorky’s confusion, since he clearly expected ideological discourse and
Polemic as Parting Advice: The Cherry Orchard 39
debate. But Chekhovian parody can achieve progressive, rhetorical deflation
of a target utterance by indirect means, through the use of a range of devices
that recontextualise the target utterance and shift its semantic orientation. Trofimov’s
character interacts with our sense of his performance of his “wisdom,”
and the reactions of the onstage audience mediate a further range of
potential meanings. The speech itself may capture, at a parodic level, the confident,
Gorkian note of idealistic excess and overstatement about the perfectibility
of man, or, more absurdly, the meaninglessness of mortality, but such
traces of overt parody can just as suddenly become slyly embedded in an
extended piece of (quasi) stylisation, such as the upbeat insistence upon the
work ethic, the blunt plain-speaking of the attack upon the superfluous intelligentsia,
and the grim reminder of the degrading conditions of working people.
But the material selected for stylisation (dealing with areas, where, so far as
one can tell, Gorky and Chekhov were probably in agreement), is not semantically
secure. The speaker’s persona ensures that it is kept within an overarching
rhetorical parenthesis – the ironically self-deconstructing rhetoric of
Trofimov’s fear of “serious faces” and “serious talk” – and the rhetorician’s
distrust of rhetoric generates a “Cretan liar” irony on Chekhov’s part (Bakhtin.
Dialogic 324).
A similar kind of effect is achieved through inverting expected associations
between discourse and social type. Bakhtin describes heteroglossia at one
point as the novelist’s ability to present “another’s speech in another’s language”
with the effect that it “serves two speakers at the same time and
expresses simultaneously two different intentions: the direct intention of the
character who is speaking and the refracted intention of the author” {Dialogic
324). Chekhov achieves a similar duality of effect through detaching the discourse
content of a particular social type from that type, and reassigning it to
the discourse of a character not readily associated with such utterances – and
then the types are made to interact.
When he is at his most priggish and insensitive, Trofimov sees Lopakhin
(as Gorky might) through the blinkers of class prejudice as a stereotypical
merchant, mocking him in front of the assembled company as a necessary
evil, “a beast of prey.” Ironically, this phrase paints Lopakhin in Nietzschean
colours, since a “magnificent beast of prey” was the image used in The Genealogy
of Morals to capture the energy and vitality of the superman – doubly
ironic, since Lopakhin betrays the commonness of that yeaming for heroes,
for giants, for supermen (Max Nordan, qtd. in Clowes 324). While those on
stage may laugh at the crestfallen Lopakhin, audience sympathies must be
guided (in part) by the sheer crudeness of the stereotype, as well as the casual
arrogance of the idealist whose serious-faced diatribe against the work-shy
intelligentsia oddly excludes himself from consideration within that particular
social set. But Lopakhin is a worker; if anything, he’s a workaholic. So his
defensive boasting about his hard-working way of life is a relatively modest
assessment of his commitment to work. He is not an unthinking, greedy capitalist:
he is perplexed by the social world around him and, since philosophy is
just the prosaic business of trying to make sense of life, he is baffled by “this
distorted unhappy life” (Fen 384). Most significantly, he has surges of idealism
that lead him to envisage man’s potential in decidedly Promethean terms:
LOPAKHIN. Well, let me tell you that I’m up soon after four every morning, and I
work from moming till night. I always have money in hand, my own and other
people’s, and I have plenty of opportunities to leam what the people around me are
like. You only have to start on a job of work to realise how few honest, decent
people there are about. Sometimes, when I can’t sleep, I start brooding over it. The
Lord God has given us vast forests, immense fields, wide horizons; surely we ought
to be giants, living in such a country as this …
LiUBOV ANDRYEEVNA. Whatever do you want giants for? They’re all right in
fairytales, otherwise they’re just terrifying.
TEPIHODOV crosses the stage in the background, playing his guitar. (Fen 364-65)
The Promethean rhetoric is checked not only by Ranyevskaia’s bluntly prosaic
put-down, it is also undercut at an absurdist level by the pathetic image of
non-Promethean man, tunelessly plucking his moumful guitar. Far from being
an “epic-mover,” as his name might suggest, Yepihodov is a grotesque Gogolian
variation on the frailty of man. This particular segment could be closely
analysed as an example of Chekhov’s polyphonic artistry throughout the
whole of this act. Dostoevsky was always capable of giving his own most
favoured ideas to entirely antithetical characters, thereby resisting the finalizable
in such types. Chekhov’s dramaturgy of types makes such “surprises”
part of the audience’s processual experience of characters in the play. Through
appropriating the bombast of Promethean discourse within Lopakhin’s discourse,
Chekhov gives a different semantic orientation to the “proud man”
and “giants” motif. This element of double voicing, while creating a plane of
indeterminacy with respect to utterance and social type, belongs within a
broader attempt to increase the plurality of voices that engage the audience’s
attention; a plurality of isolated voices that is as eerily asocial as Maeterlink’s
symbolist echo chamber.
“Speechifying” and “preachifying” are presented as part of the shiftless
identity of Homo rhetoricus who, on the evidence of this act, is a creature
afflicted with incurable monologism. After the doleful Hamletism of Charlotta’s
opening monologue, the higher lunacy of Yepihodov’s even more grotesque
Hamletism appears to upstage (and undercut) one monologism with
another. The “social” Hamletism of the owners of the cherry orchard makes it
appear to be an endemic condition: Lopakhin’s misquotations from the play,
at the end of the act, jangle discordantly like a grotesque coda. It could be that,
for the audience, the effect is cumulatively yet curiously dialogical. But
Polemic as Parting Advice: The Cherry Orchard 41
“speechifying” and “preachifying” – whether it be Ranyevskaia, Lopakhin,
Gaev, Trofimov, or the Passerby – is invariably defiated and undercut. Words,
words, words. In this comic world, words do nothing, unless, ironically, they
are the words of Chekhov’s tramp, who slyly exploits upper-class guilt and
fondness for rhetoric. But the appearance of the tramp is a reminder of how
difficult it must have been for Gorky to make sense of this visitation.
Theatrically, the world of Act Two is a liminal space, beyond the boundaries
of any familiar Turgenev drawing-room world, adrift in a proto-symbolist
world that threatens to engulf all the varied types before us and deliver
them into the maw of traumatic change. As Gary Morson suggests, in his telling
analysis of the temporalities of the drama, the characters appear to live in
“epilogue time when they feel nothing they could do would change anything
essential because the essential is long since over” (Morson 193). But Chekhov
does not want to define his characters as creatures of Maeterlinckian powerlessness
and passivity. However, like Tolstoy, he is sceptical about the degree
to which “history” is ever under our control. Unlike Gorky, who measures
“time” and “history” within the frame of the youthful inheritors, Chekhov
gives choric weight to Firs, who barely comprehends his own life, never mind
the Utopian fantasy of the “freedom” – that slavery regained. From a Gorkian
perspective, it could be argued that the passer-by steps into the Ranyevskaia
estate world like a ghost from the lower depths, throwing sharply into relief
the sheer othemess of that estate world. Many modem critics, directors, and
version-writers have colluded in the gorkification of Chekhov insofar as they
make-over the play in order to suggest that the passer-by represents that revolutionary,
future-inscribed reality that had been heralded in Gorky’s play – as
if Chekhov were transparently on-message in pre-revolutionary, ideological
terms. The strings are false. Once again, the dialogical is hammered into the
The breaking-string, sound cue for this sudden rupturing of the alreadyfractured
idyll of gentry life, is only one of several non-verbal effects that, like
a camera shutter, seem to freeze the gentry household into the othemess of a
photograph. But in the stillness, in the wordlessness, the actors dwindle into
an audience – waiting, uncertain – straining together to grasp the moment’s
meaning. With two audiences in the theatre, such moments altemate uneasily
from watching to sharing. From an audience point of view, such effects are in
Chekhov’s drama a crucial part of the theatrical experience of dialogism. Its
simultaneity seems to break the temporal contract of the audience with “the
play,” and the play intrudes on our time and makes it part of stage time. But
this is more than a distancing effect, or an interesting instance of meta-theatre;
it can collapse temporalities into an undefined, shared presentness. The
unbearable heaviness of the present becomes the unbearable lightness of being
– until Yepihodov retums, or the ghost from the lower depths enters.
But what are we to make of the ghost? Michael Frayn points out that, in
Siberian usage, the Russian word for passer-by at this time tended to identify
“someone who was tramping the roads to escape from prison or exile” (Frayn,
lvi). However, what the audience sees is a tramp, and tramps were everywhere
at the tum of the century, the result of widespread poverty, starvation, and dispossessed
peasants. It has been estimated that around 1901, over twenty million
peasants were starving. When Gorky first tumed up at Yasnaya Polyana,
Tolstoy’s wife mistakenly took him for a passing tramp and brought him into
the kitchen to feed him. Since Gorky costumed himself (with theatrical thoroughness)
in peasant tunic, breeches, and boots – with a rakish, widebrimmed,
black hat, a cape, and a cane, and affected the rough manners of the
hobo (Loe 253) – this misidentification is quite understandable. Modem productions
tend to stage the tramp as if he were the threat of things to come – his
appearance is often shocking and menacing to the assembled company. But
this is not an amoral, Gorkian tramp: his begging may be a calculated “performance,”
but he is remarkably well-mannered and deferential. Some critics
have interpreted his battered, white peaked cap as a forage cap, an item more
likely to be associated with the landless gentry than dispossessed peasants. It
seems more likely that it is Chekhov’s way of slightly deforming the stereotypical
(Gorkian) “tramp” image and softening it. There is the potential mockery
of offstage laughter when the beggar releases his drunken delight at his
incredible good fortune in having been given a gold coin rather than the few
coppers he asked for. But the laughter need not be menacing. The fact that
Varia is frightened, particularly when the beggar appeals directly to her, has
its own shadowy history. It’s important that we are first made aware of tramps
at the end of Act One, when Varia reveals that a few old servants had taken
pity on some tramps and allowed them to sleep in their servants’ quarters.
Given her neurotic religiosity, it is unsurprising to find that Varia seems to
lack generosity – she is more disturbed by the thought of being interpreted as a
mean person than the actual needs of the tramps. She partly recognises that
through her inability to handle the situation she has taken it out on one of the
old servants. Varia’s fright behaviour is wholly in excess of the occasion, even
if it’s true, ironically, that the feckless gentry have no food in their own house.
The scraps of declamatory poetry (“Oh, my brother, my suffering brother!
… Come to mother Volga, whose groans …” [Fen 366]) that the beggar uses
for his begging routine seem to parody the speechifying of those who have
preceded him in diverting attention from themselves with words. But the grandiose
invocation of brotherhood follows hard on the heels of Trofimov’s
paean to perpetually advancing humanity and seekers of the truth, echoes of
Gorkian rhetoric that have increasingly been placed as mere rhetoric. The
staging of this episode usually focuses on Ranyevskaia’s reckless generosity –
the stage directions suggest that she is “at a loss what to do,” “fiustered,” in
R.H. Hingley’s translation (Chekhov, Oxford Chekhov 86) – but most
actresses project a strong element of class guilt in her panic response. There is
Polemic as Parting Advice: The Cherry Orchard 43
one crucial omission, as I have found, if the staging of this brief episode
dwells solely upon Ranyevskaia, and it relates to what remains unsaid. Trofimov’s
silence and inaction are deafening. It’s true that he is too poor to give
anything, but his non-reaction could be an ironic measure of his distance from
the real world of deprivation. Given that he is the one person on stage to
whom a brotherly appeal for solidarity might mean something, and that he has
just described in ringing tones the appalling conditions of the poor, what kind
of silence is this? (For example, it is quite plausible in production to allow the
tramp to direct his recitation to the group through the student, before turning
to Varia, to make his monetary appeal where it could have most effect.) Is it
enough to show the audience that Lopakhin acts decisively, if crudely, while
the idealist does nothing? In the last segment of the act Trofimov confides,
somewhat defensively, to Ania that he has had experience of real suffering,
that he knows what it means to live like a beggar. (Young Gorky made the
same claim and clearly cashed in on his “rough diamond,” “on the road”
image – until it embarrassed him.) Ania is so enraptured by his eloquence, she
barely notices the guilty admission of inadequacy – or the tone of near total
self-absorption in which it is clothed:
TROFIMOV. You must believe me, Ania, you must. I’m not thirty yet, I’m young, and
I’m still a student, but I’ve suffered so much already. As soon as the winter comes, I
get half-starved, and ill, and worded, poor as a beggar, and there’s hardly anywhere
I haven’t been to, where I haven’t been driven to by Fate. And yet, always, every
moment of the day and night my soul has been filled with such marvellous hopes
and visions. I can see happiness, Ania, I can see it coming … (Fen 368)
This whole segment begins with Ania’s laughter and ber joking proposal
that they should “thatik the tramp” (367) for scaring off Varia and leaving
them together. Ania guilelessly declares her emotional priorities through displacing
the tramp’s reality – even if it’s clear to the audience that these priorities
are an immature mixture of idealism and nascent emotional realities. But
to displace the tramp’s reality is somehow to displace the political “realities”
that Trofimov has invested his identity in. Trofimov has not given anything to
the tramp: “thanks” would be a travesty of the realities of the encounter.
Ania’s joke is unwittingly threatening at two levels for Trofimov: it questions
the reality of his relations with the insulted and the injured, and the lack of
reality in his relations with Ania. Trofimov pours scorn on interfering Varia
while fervently denying relations with Ania – “she can’t grasp that we are
above falling in love” (Fen 367) – and promptly soars into the rhetorical
stratosphere, far above such sordidly personal matters. But these hammerblows
of my analysis do scant justice to the delicacy of what can be realised
with the dialogue in performance.
For these immature characters, Chekhov takes pains to ensure that tbe audi44
ence cannot dismiss them as easily knowable, simple types: Romeo and Juliet
as twin idealists from different classes and in very different planes of experience.
Just as Dostoevsky can surprise the reader by placing his own preferred
views as an author in the speech of the least likely character, Chekhov can
check his audience’s proclivity for finalizing definitions of a character. Trofimov’s
priggishness and speechifying can invite the satirical gaze of the audience
but, just as suddenly, such attitudes have to give way before the
compelling oratory of “The whole of Russia is our orchard” speech (Fen 367-
68), and, like Ania, the audience may fmd themselves drawn into taking these
ideas seriously. For a moment, idealism and innocence are intensely “real.” In
the course of the play, Trofimov and Ania change – as characters they are still
fully open to the depredations of time and change.
For Trofimov, the present is a vulgcir reality in comparison to that Utopian,
future happiness – that bliss over the horizon where all adolescent suns set.
Ironically, he may insist passionately on the need to “begin to live in the
present” (368), but he is chronically incapable of following his own prescription.
Herzen questioned a similar denial of the present in the revolutionaries’
willingness to sacrifice one generation for the good of another, thus displacing
attention from the real, prosaic lives and immediate problems of living Russian
people. In Trofimov we are given a similar critical view of the religiosity of the
Utopian mentality: our time will be overcome. Like Gorky, Trofimov’s intense
faith in the future is a matter of visions and self-denying, messianic rapture:
TROFIMOV. Yes, the moon is rising. {A pause.) There it is – happiness – it’s coming
nearer and nearer, I seem to hear its footsteps. And if we don’t see it, if we don’t
know when it comes, what does it matter? Other people will see it! (Fen 369)
This mirage of happiness is counterpointed with Yepihodov’s ever-doleful
unhappiness, as his melancholy guitar-playing is heard again, offstage. It is
the superiority of the Nietzschean proud man that is put under scrutiny in the
final acts of the play. Both Acts Three and Four begin with Trofimov offering
highly “superior” advice to different characters. At the opening of Act Three,
Trofimov’s callow and insensitive teasing of Varia makes his assertion of his
pride in being a “moth-eaten gent” sound rather hollow, if not silly (Fen 371).
He patronises Pischik’s obsession with money (Gorky was highly contemptuous
of such concerns), but again his priggish superiority seems ludicrously out
of place, given the infantile incoherence of Pischik’s neurotic energies. But
the earnestness of the “proud” man is, unwittingly, treated with the disrespect
it deserves when Pischik’s bizarre response is to conjure up an even more
absurd level of advice – using Nietzsche to justify the practice of forging banknotes.
But how apposite, to use a vulgarised, totally banal misrepresentation
of the “proud” man’s prophet. There is no debate, no earnest conflict of ideas
and ideologies – but this is surely a wickedly subversive piece of theatrical
Polemic as Parting Advice: The Cherry Orchard 45
rhetoric? It is the same kind of rhetoric that is at work when Trofimov’s pratfall
is the perfect comic denouement to his failed attempt to preserve a “superior”
pose in relation to Ranyevskaia’s openness about her miserable affair.
At the beginning of Act Four, Trofimov is still asserting his proud indifference
to all grubby money manners, when he turns down Lopakhin’s generous
offer of a loan: it is generous because it is clear that, for Lopakhin, this is a
gesture of affection. But once again, the superiority of the idealist is given
subtle Gorkian (sub-Nietzschean) resonances. There is the familiar rhetoric of
advancing humanity and the ineffable chalice of “truth” that will bring happiness
to all true believers:
TROFIMOV. Even if you offered me two hundred thousand, I wouldn’t take it. I’m a
free man. And all that you value so highly and hold so dear, you rich men – and
beggars, too for that matter – none of it has the slightest power over me – it’s all just
so much fluff blowing about in the air. I’m strong, I’m proud, I can do without you,
I can pass you by. Humanity is advancing towards the highest truth, the greatest
happiness that it is possible to achieve on earth, and I am in the van! (Fen 389)
“I can do without you, I can pass you by” is a chilling enough summary of
the revolutionary mindset; Trofimov has no inkling of the cruelty that lurks
behind that virginal pride. But the most telling devil in the detail of Chekhov’s
theatrical rhetoric is that throwaway addition: “and beggars too.” In context
there is no need for that somewhat paradoxical extension of the constituency
of those who must be passed by. (It should certainly make the actor playing
Trofimov look back very carefully at his “silence” when the tramp appears in
Act Two.) But it is that tiny, interjected phrase that signals the Nietzschean
parameters of Trofimov’s pride. Perhaps beggars (not Grisha or Ranyeskaya’s
mother) are the real ghosts in the cherry orchard because the neglect of Firs
can feel like the neglect of a superannuated beggar. The holier-than-thou ideologue
is not a free man; his “superiority” is seen to be a stance that closes him
off to vital aspects of relationship: his inadequacy in dealing with the claims
of affection and friendship is still a serious flaw. There are hints of growth and
change in his intimate recognition of Lopakhin as a person, in his fledgling
work as a translator, and in that shared eagerness for new life that Ania and he
possess – which resonates so gaily (offstage) before the final diminuendo.
Chekhov had similar reservations about Gorky’s addiction to class stereotypes
and the “superiority” that accompanied his vanguard stance. In his letters, he
was sometimes annoyed by Gorky’s tendency to trade upon a crude negative
stereotype ofa whole group of people, like local government officials: “[…] I
find that neither their characters nor their activities are at all typical” (Friedland
87). But even after Chekhov’s death, one can find Gorky deploying the
same kind of brutally crude stereotypes in his critical reflections on The
Cherry Orchard:
There’s the weepy Ranyevskaya and the other former masters of The Cherry
Orchard, as egotistical as children and as flabby as senile old men. They missed
their chance to die in time and now they are moaning, seeing and understanding
nothing – parasites who lack the strength to latch on to life again. The miserable
student Trofimov talks prettily about the need to work and spends his time in
idleness, entertaining himself with stupid ribbing of Varya, who works tirelessly for
the benefit of these drones. (Karlinsky 443)
It seems to me that Gorky’s fondness for stereotypes, his preachifying, his
Nietzscheanism, and his “superiority” define a whole Utopian mentality whose
weaknesses are seriously questioned in The Cherry Orchard. In terms of the
ways in whieh Chekhov shapes the theatrical rhetoric of the play towards
these polemical ends, one of the most important artistic decisions rests with
the characterisation of Lopakhin. It is clear from his letters that Lopakhin was,
for Chekhov, the most important character in the play, but it is far from clear
why this should be the case. But in a context of hidden polemic with Gorky, it
is not difficult to see why Chekhov put such store in the treatment of this character.
From the outset, Chekhov wanted a businessman who was the opposite
of the stereotypical businessman, and one obvious way of getting things moving
in that direction was to get it played by an actor who was himself a businessman
and yet the obverse of that type – Stanislavsky.
When I was writing Lopakhin, I thought of it as a part for you. If for any reason you
don’t care for it, take the part of Gaev. Lopakhin is a merchant, of course, but he is a
very decent person in every sense. He must behave with perfect decorum, like an
educated man, with no petty ways or tricks of any sort, and it seemed to me this part,
the central one of the play, would come out brilliantly in your hands … In choosing
an actor for the part you must remember that Varya, a serious and religious girl, is in
love with Lopakhin; that she wouldn’t be in love with a mere money-grubber…
(Friedland 159)
In a letter to Nemerovich-Danchenko a month later, Chekhov suggests that
Stanislavsky should be left to make his own choice between the two roles; but
there is little doubt about his own priorities – or the importance of the role: “If
he were to take Lopakhin and the role pleased him, then the play would be
successful. But if Lopakhin is poorly played by a second-rate actor, both the
role and the play will fail” (Friedland 160). The character notes on the Lopakhin
role in the same letter make it clear that Lopakhin is a thinker – “thinks
deeply while walking […] while in thought he passes his hand through his
beard […]” (161). When Trofimov finally registers something of the humanity
of Lopakhin in the final act, it is a moment that reveals the extent to which he
has sloughed off the unfeeling stereotype of earlier exchanges: “When all’s
said and done, I like you, despite everything. You’ve slender, delicate fingers.
Polemic as Parting Advice: The Cherry Orchard 47
like an artist’s, you’ve a fine, sensitive soul …” (Fen 388). Chekhov does not
dispense with all the elements that might come into play with a businessman
from Lopakhin’s peasant background and thus avoids sentimentalising his
“sensitive,” “thinking” businessman. Reading a book is so difficult it puts him
to sleep, his sense of humour can be coarse and insensitive, he has no ear for
music, his taste in theatre is decidedly limited, and so on. As he himself recognises,
he cannot cast off his peasant background. Chekhov is not foolish
enough to deny elements of typicality, but Lopakhin, like Ranyevskaia, is one
of the few characters in the play who remain largely untouched by the parodic.
It is vital for the argument of the play that Lopakhin becomes in Chekhov’s
terms a “living character,” capable of suggesting complexity and unrealised
potential. To put it in Bakhtin’s terms, he must give the audience the impression
that there “always remains an unrealized surplus of humanness” (qtd. in
Morson 112, emphasis added).
It goes without saying that, for Gorky, a sensitive, thinking businessman
must exist only in the realms of the oxymoronic – as would “parasites” like
the “weepy Ranyevskaya.” As Dan Levin suggests, Gorky “instinctively considered
money evil” (Levin 55), his identification with Zarathustran hoboes
declared his total alienation from social ties and money matters. Gorky’s
intense hatred of the bourgeois, the merchant class, was strongly felt in the
“dark kingdom” of his first two plays, especially Meschanye – variously translated
as Philistines, The Petit Bourgeois, or Smug Citizens. Part of the
immense attraction of Nietzsche’s writings for Gorky was that they elevated
his defiance of bourgeois values and offered philosophical justification for his
(already well-developed) contempt for the petty bourgeoisie. Chekhov, in his
letters, was shrewdly critical of Gorky’s lack of restraint in his writing, yet
The Cherry Orchard reveals, I think, an equally critical view of Gorky’s lack
of restraint in the wider world – in particular, his visionary politics. Trofimov’s
visionary approach to politics seems to be inseparable from his asexual
idealisation of Ania, but Chekhov seems concerned to protect his character
from a cruelly reductive stereotype. Ranyevskaia may puncture his silly
“superiority” to love in Act Three, and then gently soothe his hurt pride, but
from Act One onwards, there are moments where the audience is invited to
accept rather than sneer at his feelings. It is important at the end of Act One,
for example, that the sincerity of his idealism (“Ania … my one bright star!
My spring flower!” [Fen 353]) survives the lyrical simplicity of its expression:
Chekhov underscores that sincerity in his stage directions – “deeply moved”
(353). Trofimov is also deeply moved when Ranyevskaia, in Act One, puts
her arms round him and weeps quietly for her dead son. His unguarded openness
to feeling protects the audience against later expressions of his snobbery.
But his emotionality is, I think, part of Chekhov’s “argument” with Gorky.’*
One of the most suspicious aspects of Nietzscheanism was the chauvinistic
(and misogynistic) taboo on tenderness. For Nietzsche, women’s eyes did not
“sparkle still the right Promethean fire” as they did for Shakespeare’s
Berowne (4.3.325). The sections “Of Chastity” and “Of Old and Young
Women” in Thus Spoke Zarathustra present, through brutally sadistic stereotypes,
Zarathustra’s distrust of “the bitch Sensuality” (81) and take patriarchal
relish in the notion of women as “the recreation of the warrior” (91). Trofimov’s
tenderness goes against the grain of the warrior cult: it is an inversion
of the Nietzschean stereotype and highlights the extent to which his “superiority”
is achieved only at the expense of overcoming his inexperienced, tender
self. Chekhov seemed to detect a similar contradiction in young Gorky –
between Gorky the tender and Gorky the bitter – because the charismatic, sexually
attractive young Gorky was not comfortable with women as friends or
social equals. When Chekhov encouraged him to enjoy his success and put
himself about with women, Gorky demurred. Like all good preachers, the
members of the Wednesday club were into much higher things (Levin 96-97).
More important, it would be impossible to imagine Maxim Gorky taking seriously
the feelings of an aristocratic woman like Liubov – a woman called
“love,” how strange – is there no offence in it? For early Russian Marxists,
“love of the far-off {liubov’ k dal’nemu)” was a typically Nietzschean term
made much of in their writings (Kline xiv). Gorky dismissed her as “weepy
Ranyevskaia,” but Chekhov wanted a character of great emotional volatility
who was “affectionate to everybody” (McVay 340). Liubov’s emotionality is
the heart of the argument as far as the theatrical rhetoric of the play is concerned.
Lopakhin is a sensitive, thoughtful businessman. Trofimov suppresses,
with difficulty, his tender, sensuous self. Ranyevskaia, whatever else
she may be, is a woman who, as Chekhov advised Olga Knipper (25 October
1903), should not be tumed into “someone who had calmed down.” On the
contrary, “death alone can calm such a woman” (Worrall 69). As I suggested
earlier, the argument about emotionality in the play goes beyond cultural protocols.
The theatrical rhetoric of the play focuses chiefly, but not exclusively,
upon Lopakhin, Trofimov, and Ranyevskaia: for an audience to accept them
as individual “living characters” – the class differences are not insignificant –
that is where Chekhov’s polemic begins. But the acceptance demanded is not
couched in moralistic terms, or class stereotypes. What should win an audience’s
sympathy is the unidealised, prosaic generosity of the central characters.
But these moments of unaccentuated magnanimity shine sweetly in a
mean, disjointed world and, later, accentuate the collective neglect of Firs.
It is Ranyevskaia’s behaviour after her dressing down of Trofimov that,
minus speechifying or preachifying, reveals her capacity for genuine tenderness
(although the recitation of “The Sinner” may have helped in prompting
her remorse) when she asks Trofimov for forgiveness. It is vital that Trofimov’s
tirades against Ania’s family – those parasites who owned living souls
– is always at odds with the facts of his involvement with that family. (Chekhov
has registered in his play all the foibles and infantilism of the Kiseliovs,
Polemic as Parting Advice: The Cherry Orchard 49
with whom he was deeply involved.) The fruit of Ranyevskaia’s generosity is
Trofimov’s reluctant tenderness and recognition of Lopakhin in the final act.
But by that stage Trofimov’s inadequacies have been exposed, left begging
for the audience’s generosity. Chekhov’s demands upon an audience’s sympathies
are never two-dimensional – the possibilities for audience response are
dialogical. But if one takes seriously the anti-Nietzschean subtext of The
Cherry Orchard, then Firs’ death, in all its humdrum, prosaic awfulness, is the
world that Nietzsche passed by. Against the reality of death, Trofimov literally
passes by into the future. But death was not a serious item on Trofimov’s
or Gorky’s agenda. However, looking back at Act Two, the sheer silliness of
some of Trofimov’s speculations about death (to a contemporary audience)
did have equally silly historical precedents. So it is important, I would argue,
for Trofimov to be intensely serious when he questions the meaning of death:
TROFIMOV. Who knows? And anyway, what does it mean – to die? It may be that
Man is possessed of a hundred senses, and only the five that are known to us perish
in death, while the remaining ninety-five live on afterwards.
LIUBOV ANDRYEEVNA. How clever you are, Pyetia!
LOPAKHIN. [ironically] Oh, awfully clever! (Fen 363)
Gorky was Nietzsche-intoxicated to the extent that he did look to the conquest
of death as if it were as meaningful a possibility as the defeat of poverty.
Zarathustra had inveighed against the Christian “preachers of death” as the
“consumptives of the soul” {Zarathustra, 71-72) and commended a “voluntary
death that comes to me because / wish it” (97). For the self-overcoming
aristocrat of the spirit, death is the consummation of life. To the Russian
Prometheans at the tum of the century, nothing was impossible: just as
Nietzsche’s “voluntary beggar” could “pass by” both the rich and the poor,
Gorky and Lunacharsky urged their followers to “pass by” conventional
notions of mortality. As James Billington points out, even as early as 1903,
Lunacharsky could make death sound like a mere temporary setback for those
who truly affirmed the Promethean proletariat:
Man moves toward the radiant sun; he stumbles and falls into the grave. But… in
the ringing clatter of the grave-diggers’ spades he hears creative labour, the great
technology of man whose beginning and symbol is fire. Mankind will carry out his
plans … realise his desired ideal. (Billington 488)
In the year that Chekhov died, Gorky’s Summerfolk must have felt like a
sequel to The Cherry Orchard, insofar as the title and setting might suggest
that Lopakhin’s dreams for the orchard have been realised: the dachas have
been built down by the river, and the new moneyed classes that Lopakhin
envisaged have indeed taken up their summer residences in the country. But
the behaviour of the new professional class, who have risen in the world just
like Lopakhin, defines them as alienated and corrupt. Gorky presents a predictably
dystopian vision of a deracinated, leisure class whose trivial existence
invites the audience’s contempt. Gorky was delighted that the Petersburg production
divided the audience into opposing facfions and, at curtain call, he
enjoyed projecting his own contempt across the footlights at the hateful bourgeoisie.
However, within the context of the inter-textual dialogue between
Chekhov and Gorky that I have been exploring, what is most interesting about
Summerfolk is what some critics have referred to as its “Chekhovian echoes,”
but that could be more accurately described as part of Gorky’s sustained
attempt at stylisation.
There are aspects of the dialogue and characterisations that suggest Gorky
has attempted to capture a composite Chekhov play, but the play world most
strongly evoked by Summerfolk is that of the first half of The Seagull. There is
the promise (never realised) of amateur dramatics in the vicinity of the Bassov
dacha, yet Gorky’s amateur thespians are only a shadowy presence helping to
define the effete bourgeois world of art and leisure. The Bassovs have invited
a famous writer, Shalimov, to stay at their dacha. Bassov’s sister, Kaleria, is
also a would-be writer. Ryumin, the lover of Bassov’s wife, makes a feeble
attempt at suicide that is reminiscent of Trepliov’s first suicide attempt. The
sheer banality of Shalimov provokes various crises among other relationships
of the summer visitors; and, increasingly, the shallowness and futility of most
of their lives is brought into focus. But compared with Tregorin, Shalimov is
crudely functional within the ideological scheme of things. The far-fromsubtle
process of unmasking the “profound” malaise that afflicts the summerfolk
falls to the unlikely romantic pair of a young lawyer, Vlass, and a middleaged
doctor, Maria Lvovna. Maria’s passionate denunciation of the failures of
this new professional class is at the heart of Gorky’s ideological project – his
hammer. Gorky did comment somewhat disarmingly upon his play: “Summerfolk
is not art but it’s certainly a shot in the bullseye […]” (qtd. in Braun xxiii).
(Vlass’s poem in Act Four is also an anti-bourgeois shot in the bullseye.) The
yearning for a new life finally leads Bassov’s wife, Varvara, to reject both her
husband and her feeble lover in favour of pursuing a more purposeful life. Out
of this twilight world of pastiche Chekhovian boredom and ennui, Gorky acts
as revolutionary midwife and ensures that a positive heroine has been bom.
In Summerfolk, Gorky appears to have replicated many of the key features
of Chekhov’s dramaturgy. Unfortunately, Gorky assumed that he could make
Chekhovian poetics take on Gorkian colours. The plotlessness, the fragmentariness
of many of the conversations, and the loosely connected scenic units,
bring alive this bourgeois world in a manner that Gorky must have assumed
was not dissimilar to that deployed by Chekhov when dealing with the landed
gentry. Most significantly, the spareness and economy of the dialogue goes
hand in hand with a concerted attempt on Gorky’s part to attain greater variety
Polemic as Parting Advice: The Cherry Orchard 51
and complexity of characterisation. While the effort at complexity, in relationships
and characterisation, honours Chekhov’s demand that Gorky should
resist the stereotype in his handling of social types, Gorky is less adept at harnessing
that complexity into a coherent structure that can achieve his polemical
objective – exposing the bankruptcy of the intelligentsia. The cumbersome
four-act structure that Chekhov inherited from Turgenev, its web of relationships
and intrigues, and their languorous unfolding, appears to be entirely
unsuited to the demolition job that Gorky had in mind. The major characters
that are thrust into the choric roles that make them the vanguard of the professional
class are given insufficient structural weighting and development to
make them truly “major.” The tussle between leisurely exposition and incisive
satirical exposure is one that Gorky failed to resolve – but there are several
deconstructive moments in the play where his exasperation is obliquely given
an airing.
The young lawyer, Vlass, would appear to be an extraordinarily accurate
(yet flattering) self-portrait of the author — charming, irreverent, bold, outspoken,
vulgar — continually suppressing the temptation to shout something
insulting at the spineless, pathetic “summerfolk.” Vlass’s clowning (residual
affection and relatedness) is designed to hide his sense of his futility. His
coarse versifying gives vent to his profound distaste for the refined idealism of
Kaleria’s poetry. This argument about art gives expression to the central conflict
of values in Gorky’s play, resolved through Vlass’s lampooning of the
“boremongers” (the author wants it to be recited “powerfully, challengingly”
[Gorky 198]), which is Gorky’s polemical “goodbye to all that.” In effect,
Vlass permits Gorky to inscribe an earlier version of himself within this ersatz
Chekhovian world, as an aesthetic and political antidote to that world. However,
while Vlass is not too dissimilar to Gorky, Chekhov is certainly not
Kaleria. The anxiety of infiuence does make itself most crudely felt with Shalimov.
Unlike in The Seagull, the aesthetic conflict in Summerfolk does not
accomplish the thematic tasks that the hammer-blows of Gorky’s ideological
project were designed to accomplish. Shalimov is no longer in touch with the
“new.” The “new type of reader” is a species that he no longer understands:
“I’m old … all my ideas are old. I don’t understand who they are” (Hunter-
Blair and Brooks 129). In his letters Chekhov expresses many similar misgivings
about his out-of-date manner and sense of irrelevance. Shalimov’s art
confined itself to the needs of the intelligentsia, but he dimly recognises that
the new readers of the future will require something wholly different. While
confiding his impotence to Bassov, Shalimov diagnoses his aesthetic irrelevance
and incomprehension of the new Russia against a background chant of
beggars begging for food and alms. Shalimov and Bassov remain deaf to the
appeals of the beggars, and the watchman chases them away. In Nick Dear’s
version of Summerfolk, the choric effect of Gorky’s simple hammer-blow
takes on sledgehammer proportions: Bassov gives an importunate beggar a
coin “without really thinking” {Summerfolk 44), and at the play’s close, the
Bassov dacha is surrounded by a shadowy, silent chorus of ragged beggars,
caps in their hands. By contrast, Gorky wanted an effect not too dissimilar to
Chekhov’s breaking string – the semiotic ambiguity of a watchman’s soft,
long-drawn-out whistle.
Lunacharskii, the Marxist critic who shared Gorky’s enthusiasm for
Nietzsche, had been concerned that the young author of The Lower Depths
could lose his polemical edge and, with Summerfolk, tum soft: “Thank goodness,
this has not happened and cruelty has prevailed in him. More and more
cruelty is going to be required by the people of tomorrow” (qtd. in Braun
xxiii). Varvara develops into a heroine who becomes increasingly prepared to
welcome the cruel people of tomorrow: “[I]t seems to me that soon, perhaps
even tomorrow, some quite different kind of people, strong, bold people, will
come and sweep us off the earth like so much litter” (Hunter-Blair and Brooks
162). Chekhov ends his play with an image of collective cruelty, the neglect of
old Firs, but an image that is not designed to elicit either moral or political
judgements. Even Trofimov, who bears many Gorky-like traits, including an
incorrigible confidence in his ability both to see the truth and to boldly solve
the great questions of life, is not singled out for special polemical treatment.
For Chekhov, the stereotype is the root of monologism, and the whole polemical
thrust of The Cherry Orchard is to challenge such monologism with heteroglossia
and dialogism. The argument of the comedy is, as Vladimir Kataev
rightly insists, that “all of us are to blame” (268).
1 Gorky has never been alone when it comes to attempts to turn Chekhov into a political
partisan. Laurence Senelick, in The Chekhov Theatre: A Century of the Plays
in Performance, covers a wide range of European appropriations and political
deconstructions. Patrick Miles’ Chekhov on the British Stage takes a close look at
the politics of British Chekhov.
2 Richard Peace offers one of the few readings that recognise the extent to which
“Chekhov is polemicising with Gorky in the play” (132-33). Also, Peace rightly
underlines the symbolic links between Chekhov’s orchard and Dobrolyubov’s forest,
an extended allegory about the state of Russia in which the serfs finally put the
gentry intelligentsia to the axe.
3 Marvin Carlson is one of the few critics to recognise that Bakhtin’s theoretical prejudices
against drama, as an inherently monological genre, need to be challenged.
As Carlson points out, Bakhtin’s description of his key concepts (dialogism, heteroglossia,
and so on) would actually suggest that “the drama seems a more apt
example than the novel” (314). It seems ironic that Bakhtin once delivered an oration
over Chekhov’s grave, the writer who (rather than Dostoyevsky) should have
been the exemplar of some of his most cherished concepts.
Polemic as Parting Advice: The Cherry Orchard 53
4 Bemard Beckermann praises what in a Bakhtinian context might be referred to as
“unfinalisability” when he notes Chekhov’s talent for “shaping human relationships
into provocative, unresolved actions,” and the way in which various motifs
can be orchestrated into “asf)ects of an antagonism between loving and doing”
Bakhtin, Mikhail. The Dialogic Imagination. Trans. Caryl Emerson and Michael
Holquist. Austin: U of Texas P, 1981.
. Problems of Dostoevsky’ s Poetics. Ed. and trans. Caryl Emerson. Minneapolis:
U of Minnesota P, 1984.
Beckerman, Bemard. “Dramatic Analysis and Literary Interpretation: The Cherry
Orchard as Exemplum.” New Literary History 2.3 (1971): 391-406.
Billington, James. The Icon and the Axe: An Interpretative History of Russian Culture.
New York: Vintage, 1970.
Braun, Edward. Introduction. Maxim Gorky, Pive Plays. London: Methuen, 1988.
Budberg, Moura. Introduction. Maxim Gorky, The Lower Depths. Trans, and ed.
Moura Budberg. London: Weidenfield and Nicholson, 1959.
Carlson, Marvin. “Theater and Dialogism.” Critical Theory and Performance.
Ed. Janelle G. Reinelt and Joseph R. Roach. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 1992.
Chekhov, Anton. Anton Chekhov: Plays. Trans, and intr. Michael Frayn. London:
Methuen, 1993.
. The Cherry Orchard. Trans. R. Hingley. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1965. 57-112.
. Plays. Trans. Elisaveta Fen. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1954.
Clowes, Edith W. “Literary Reception as Vulgarization: Nietzsche’s Idea of the Superman
in New-Realist Fiction.” Rosenthal 315-29.
Frayn, Michael. Introduction. Anton Chekhov: Plays. London: Methuen, 1993. xi-lxix.
. “Note on the Translation.” Anton Chekhov: Plays. London: Methuen, 1993.
Friedland, Louise S., ed. Letters on the Short Story, the Drama and Other Literary
Topics, by Anton Chekhov. London: Vision, 1965.
Gorky, Maxim. Gorky: Pive Plays. Trans. Kitty Hunter-Blair and Jeremy Brooks.
Ed. and intr. by E. Braun. London: Methuen, 1988. 1-92.
. The Lower Depths. Trans, and ed. Moura Budberg. London: Weidenfield and
Nicholson, 1959.
. Philistines. English version by Dusty Hughes. Oxford: Amber Lane, 1986.
. “Song of the Stormy Petrel.” Selected Short Stories. Trans. Margaret Wettlin.
Moscow: Progress, 1974, 278-79.
. Summerfolk. Gorky: Pive Plays. 93-212.
. Summerfolk. New version by Nick Dear. London: Faber and Faber, 1999.
Karlinsky, Simon, ed. Letters of Anton Chekhov. Trans. Simon Karlinsky and Michael
Henry Heim. London: Bodley Head, 1973.
Kataev, Vladimir. If Only We Could Know! An Interpretation of Chekhov. Trans, and
ed. Harvey Pitcher. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2002.
Kaun, Alexander Samuel. Maxim Gorky and His Russia. London: Jonathan Cape,
Kline, George L. Foreword. Rosenthal xi-xvi.
Levin, Dan. Stormy Petrel: The Life and Work of Maxim Gorky. New York: Meredith
P, 1965-
Loe, Mary Louise. “Gorky and Nietzsche: The Quest for a Russian Superman.”
Rosenthal 251-73.
Marsh, Cynthia, ed. Pile on Gorky. London: Methuen, 1993.
McVay, Gordon, ed. and trans. Chekhov: A Life in Letters. Edinburgh: Folio Society,
Miles, Patrick, ed. Chekhov on the British Stage. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1993.
Morson, Gary Saul. Narrative and Freedom: The Shadows of Time. New Haven and
London: Yale UP, 1994.
Morson, Gary Saul, and Caryl Emerson. Rethinking Bakhtin: Extensions and Challenges.
Evanston: Northwestem UP, 1989.
Nietzsche, F. Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Trans. R.J. HoUingdale. Harmondsworth: Penguin,
. Daybreak. Trans. R.J. HoUingdale. Ed. Maudmarie Clark and Brian Leiter,
Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1997.
Peace, Richard. Chekhov: A Study of the Pour Major Plays. Cambridge: Cambridge
UP, 1993.
Rayfield, Donald. The Cherry Orchard: Catastrophe and Comedy. New York:
Twayne, 1994.
Rosenthal, Bemice Glatzer, ed. Nietzsche in Russia. New Jersey: Princeton UP, 1986.
Senelick, Laurence. The Chekhov Theatre: A Century of the Plays in Performance.
Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1997.
Shakespeare, William. Love’s Labours Lost. Ed. H.R. Woodhuysen. London: Arden
Shakespeare, 2001.
Troyat, Henry G. Gorky. Trans. Lowell Bair. London: Alison & Busby, 1991.
Worrall, Nick, ed. Pile on Chekhov. London: Methuen, 1986.
Yarmolinsky, Avrahm, ed. Letters of Anton Chekhov. London: Jonathon Cape, 1973.

Get Professional Assignment Help Cheaply

Buy Custom Essay

Are you busy and do not have time to handle your assignment? Are you scared that your paper will not make the grade? Do you have responsibilities that may hinder you from turning in your assignment on time? Are you tired and can barely handle your assignment? Are your grades inconsistent?

Whichever your reason is, it is valid! You can get professional academic help from our service at affordable rates. We have a team of professional academic writers who can handle all your assignments.

Why Choose Our Academic Writing Service?

  • Plagiarism free papers
  • Timely delivery
  • Any deadline
  • Skilled, Experienced Native English Writers
  • Subject-relevant academic writer
  • Adherence to paper instructions
  • Ability to tackle bulk assignments
  • Reasonable prices
  • 24/7 Customer Support
  • Get superb grades consistently

Online Academic Help With Different Subjects


Students barely have time to read. We got you! Have your literature essay or book review written without having the hassle of reading the book. You can get your literature paper custom-written for you by our literature specialists.


Do you struggle with finance? No need to torture yourself if finance is not your cup of tea. You can order your finance paper from our academic writing service and get 100% original work from competent finance experts.

Computer science

Computer science is a tough subject. Fortunately, our computer science experts are up to the match. No need to stress and have sleepless nights. Our academic writers will tackle all your computer science assignments and deliver them on time. Let us handle all your python, java, ruby, JavaScript, php , C+ assignments!


While psychology may be an interesting subject, you may lack sufficient time to handle your assignments. Don’t despair; by using our academic writing service, you can be assured of perfect grades. Moreover, your grades will be consistent.


Engineering is quite a demanding subject. Students face a lot of pressure and barely have enough time to do what they love to do. Our academic writing service got you covered! Our engineering specialists follow the paper instructions and ensure timely delivery of the paper.


In the nursing course, you may have difficulties with literature reviews, annotated bibliographies, critical essays, and other assignments. Our nursing assignment writers will offer you professional nursing paper help at low prices.


Truth be told, sociology papers can be quite exhausting. Our academic writing service relieves you of fatigue, pressure, and stress. You can relax and have peace of mind as our academic writers handle your sociology assignment.


We take pride in having some of the best business writers in the industry. Our business writers have a lot of experience in the field. They are reliable, and you can be assured of a high-grade paper. They are able to handle business papers of any subject, length, deadline, and difficulty!


We boast of having some of the most experienced statistics experts in the industry. Our statistics experts have diverse skills, expertise, and knowledge to handle any kind of assignment. They have access to all kinds of software to get your assignment done.


Writing a law essay may prove to be an insurmountable obstacle, especially when you need to know the peculiarities of the legislative framework. Take advantage of our top-notch law specialists and get superb grades and 100% satisfaction.

What discipline/subjects do you deal in?

We have highlighted some of the most popular subjects we handle above. Those are just a tip of the iceberg. We deal in all academic disciplines since our writers are as diverse. They have been drawn from across all disciplines, and orders are assigned to those writers believed to be the best in the field. In a nutshell, there is no task we cannot handle; all you need to do is place your order with us. As long as your instructions are clear, just trust we shall deliver irrespective of the discipline.

Are your writers competent enough to handle my paper?

Our essay writers are graduates with bachelor's, masters, Ph.D., and doctorate degrees in various subjects. The minimum requirement to be an essay writer with our essay writing service is to have a college degree. All our academic writers have a minimum of two years of academic writing. We have a stringent recruitment process to ensure that we get only the most competent essay writers in the industry. We also ensure that the writers are handsomely compensated for their value. The majority of our writers are native English speakers. As such, the fluency of language and grammar is impeccable.

What if I don’t like the paper?

There is a very low likelihood that you won’t like the paper.

Reasons being:

  • When assigning your order, we match the paper’s discipline with the writer’s field/specialization. Since all our writers are graduates, we match the paper’s subject with the field the writer studied. For instance, if it’s a nursing paper, only a nursing graduate and writer will handle it. Furthermore, all our writers have academic writing experience and top-notch research skills.
  • We have a quality assurance that reviews the paper before it gets to you. As such, we ensure that you get a paper that meets the required standard and will most definitely make the grade.

In the event that you don’t like your paper:

  • The writer will revise the paper up to your pleasing. You have unlimited revisions. You simply need to highlight what specifically you don’t like about the paper, and the writer will make the amendments. The paper will be revised until you are satisfied. Revisions are free of charge
  • We will have a different writer write the paper from scratch.
  • Last resort, if the above does not work, we will refund your money.

Will the professor find out I didn’t write the paper myself?

Not at all. All papers are written from scratch. There is no way your tutor or instructor will realize that you did not write the paper yourself. In fact, we recommend using our assignment help services for consistent results.

What if the paper is plagiarized?

We check all papers for plagiarism before we submit them. We use powerful plagiarism checking software such as SafeAssign, LopesWrite, and Turnitin. We also upload the plagiarism report so that you can review it. We understand that plagiarism is academic suicide. We would not take the risk of submitting plagiarized work and jeopardize your academic journey. Furthermore, we do not sell or use prewritten papers, and each paper is written from scratch.

When will I get my paper?

You determine when you get the paper by setting the deadline when placing the order. All papers are delivered within the deadline. We are well aware that we operate in a time-sensitive industry. As such, we have laid out strategies to ensure that the client receives the paper on time and they never miss the deadline. We understand that papers that are submitted late have some points deducted. We do not want you to miss any points due to late submission. We work on beating deadlines by huge margins in order to ensure that you have ample time to review the paper before you submit it.

Will anyone find out that I used your services?

We have a privacy and confidentiality policy that guides our work. We NEVER share any customer information with third parties. Noone will ever know that you used our assignment help services. It’s only between you and us. We are bound by our policies to protect the customer’s identity and information. All your information, such as your names, phone number, email, order information, and so on, are protected. We have robust security systems that ensure that your data is protected. Hacking our systems is close to impossible, and it has never happened.

How our Assignment Help Service Works

1. Place an order

You fill all the paper instructions in the order form. Make sure you include all the helpful materials so that our academic writers can deliver the perfect paper. It will also help to eliminate unnecessary revisions.

2. Pay for the order

Proceed to pay for the paper so that it can be assigned to one of our expert academic writers. The paper subject is matched with the writer’s area of specialization.

3. Track the progress

You communicate with the writer and know about the progress of the paper. The client can ask the writer for drafts of the paper. The client can upload extra material and include additional instructions from the lecturer. Receive a paper.

4. Download the paper

The paper is sent to your email and uploaded to your personal account. You also get a plagiarism report attached to your paper.

smile and order essay GET A PERFECT SCORE!!! smile and order essay Buy Custom Essay

Place your order
(550 words)

Approximate price: $22

Calculate the price of your order

550 words
We'll send you the first draft for approval by September 11, 2018 at 10:52 AM
Total price:
The price is based on these factors:
Academic level
Number of pages
Basic features
  • Free title page and bibliography
  • Unlimited revisions
  • Plagiarism-free guarantee
  • Money-back guarantee
  • 24/7 support
On-demand options
  • Writer’s samples
  • Part-by-part delivery
  • Overnight delivery
  • Copies of used sources
  • Expert Proofreading
Paper format
  • 275 words per page
  • 12 pt Arial/Times New Roman
  • Double line spacing
  • Any citation style (APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, Harvard)

Our guarantees

Delivering a high-quality product at a reasonable price is not enough anymore.
That’s why we have developed 5 beneficial guarantees that will make your experience with our service enjoyable, easy, and safe.

Money-back guarantee

You have to be 100% sure of the quality of your product to give a money-back guarantee. This describes us perfectly. Make sure that this guarantee is totally transparent.

Read more

Zero-plagiarism guarantee

Each paper is composed from scratch, according to your instructions. It is then checked by our plagiarism-detection software. There is no gap where plagiarism could squeeze in.

Read more

Free-revision policy

Thanks to our free revisions, there is no way for you to be unsatisfied. We will work on your paper until you are completely happy with the result.

Read more

Privacy policy

Your email is safe, as we store it according to international data protection rules. Your bank details are secure, as we use only reliable payment systems.

Read more

Fair-cooperation guarantee

By sending us your money, you buy the service we provide. Check out our terms and conditions if you prefer business talks to be laid out in official language.

Read more
error: Content is protected !!
Open chat
Need assignment help? You can contact our live agent via WhatsApp using +1 718 717 2861

Feel free to ask questions, clarifications, or discounts available when placing an order.
  +1 718 717 2861           + 44 161 818 7126           [email protected]
  +1 718 717 2861         [email protected]