Anton Chekhov and Irina Essay

Submitted By nsprock
Words: 937
Pages: 4

Noah Sprock
TH106 Introduction to Acting
Prof. David Ledoux
November 10, 2014
Chekhov’s Three Sisters The way we as humans respond to life is subjective to the values that are instilled within us. These values then become principles that direct our behavior and decision-making process, and can be altered depending on the societal environment. Occasionally, our personal values can clash with the values and beliefs of the society that we live in. Literarily, we find this situation quite prevalent in Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters. First produced in 1901 by the infamous Moscow Art Theatre, Three Sisters was directed by Constantine Stanislavsky who is noted for his self-analytical acting method to which this play lends to quite nicely. The conflict that arises between personal and societal values is particularly relevant to one of the three Prozorov sisters. While each of three sisters undergoes some sort of change throughout the course of the play, the youngest sister Irina changes the most. All three sisters wish to return to their home in Moscow, the capital of Russia that they believe will make all of their dreams come true. However, they don’t get this chance and remain in the rural city away from civilization and the realization of their dreams. From the opening pages of the play, Chekhov reveals an abundance of contrast between the characters, specifically the sisters. Olga, who is correcting her student’s papers in her teacher’s uniform, represents hard work and discipline. Similarly, Masha is quiet and contempt, sitting and reading to herself. Quite contrastingly, however, is Irina, who is dressed in all white, not yet disheartened by the pitfalls of love and the difficulties of hard work. She is the youngest of the three sisters, and exudes a more happy soul than her two older siblings. She has immense dreams of achieving the very most of life, as she has not yet faced the reality of her social environment. While Irina is adept to the importance of hard work, she has not yet experienced it for herself. She preaches, “a man must work…for that is the meaning and object of his life, his happiness, his enthusiasm” (Act I, p. 3), however fast forward to roughly a year later and we can see that she has changed dramatically. Her job at the telegraph office has frustrated her and has taken much of the sweet, innocent hope out of her. “I want rest. I am tired,” she says, “No, I don’t like the telegraph office, I don’t like it…I must find another job, this one won’t do for me. What I wanted, what I hoped to get, just that is lacking here. Labour without poetry, without ideas…” (Act II, p. 21). This contact with the “real world” matured Irina and made her much more aware of her surroundings. She is now aware of the environment she is a part of it and how it does not align with her own personal values. The issue with Irina’s disheartenment comes from the fact that there is no space for her in the society she lives. She has no space to further develop and significantly mature. Unfortunately, her degradation only continues as the play progresses. She is unhappy that work and the real world have changed her and tires to understand the consequences. Irina is clearly not like her sisters; they each operate from their own point of view while trying to escape the reality around them. Solyony ensures her that she is different, “you’re not like other people, you’re pure and noble, you see the truth” (Act II, p. 29) in order to make her feel better, but she is unhappy because the