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Word Count: 1,094
The 19th Century offered two important developments to Russia which manifest in the play In the 1830s the railroads arrived an important step in Russias move into a more international sphere More importantly in February of 1861 Russias vast population of serfs was liberated for good bringing a long-awaited social change The railroad facilitates Madame Ranyevskaya coming and going across borders but the intrigue itself deals with the theme of social change the aristocratic family loses power as the former serf gains and a whole host of other characters fall in between With the changes in the class system debates about the nature of progress and freedom sprung up across Russia and these questions are reflected in The Cherry Orchard as well The theme of social change is an international theme at the moment when the play was written countries everywhere including the United States were experiencing similar growing pains and similar philosophical debates Chekhovs writing style is very pertinent to the population of Russia at this moment While former aristocrats still patronized the arts there was also a growing class of less educated nouveau-rich attending the theater Chekhovs plays are famous for their simple language which many hold partly responsible for his popularity The fact that his play discusses every social class in language that everyone can understand makes his play accessible to people of all backgrounds It makes high-brow jokes while it provides comedy anyone can understand Chekhov had a strong sense of social duty his play implies that a sense of social duty towards others is necessary for the advancement of humanity This idea is manifested in the fact that nearly all of his characters are sympathetic Chekhov felt it was important that his characters be sympathetic and indeed The Cherry Orchard lacks a villain While the play certainly criticizes our faults it only does so to guide us in the right direction the sympathetic quality of the characters
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