42 pages 1 hour read

Anton Chekhov

The Seagull

Fiction | Play | Adult | Published in 1895

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Act II

Act Summaries & Analyses

Act II Summary

Dorn reads aloud to Masha and Arkadina. Arkadina asks Masha to stand next to her, then asks Dorn which of the two women looks younger. Dorn replies that Arkadina does, and she proudly replies, “There you are. And why? Because I work—I feel things—I do things! You [Masha] don’t stir from the same place—you’re not alive…” (22). Arkadina continues to compare herself to the lovesick Masha, who gives up on defending her sorrowful state. Arkadina takes the book from Dorn, taking that attention away from him and turning it, too, on herself.

Nina enters with Sorin, who walks with a stick, and Medvedenko trails behind with a wheelchair for Sorin. As Sorin takes a seat in the wheelchair, he talks about how pretty Nina is looking today. Arkadina agrees, but adds, “we mustn’t overdo the compliments, it arouses envy in the fates” (24). As the conversation continues, the sound of snoring comes from Sorin’s wheelchair. Arkadina wakes him up and asks if he is taking anything for his ailments. He replies that he would if Dorn would prescribe him something, but Dorn insists there is not much of a point given his age.