42 pages 1 hour read

Anton Chekhov

The Seagull

Fiction | Play | Adult | Published in 1895

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The Consequences of Disillusionment

One of the main themes of The Seagull is the consequences of disillusionment, which is something many of the characters struggle with throughout the play, especially the protagonists. Whether it is Arkadina refusing to believe that she is aging, Nina believing a life of fame on the stage will bring her joy, or Konstantin believing he will reinvent the form of theater, the primary source of conflict between the characters is their own perspective of the world clouding out the reality of themselves and the reality of others, thereby robbing themselves of the chance to achieve true fulfillment.

Arkadina is still clinging on to the youth and beauty that launched her success years ago. This refusal to accept her age is one of the main reasons she has a strained relationship with Konstantin. Konstantin tells Sorin, “My mother doesn’t love me […] she wants to live and love and dress like a girl, and there I am, twenty-five years old, a constant reminder that she’s not as young as she thinks” (5). Indeed, Arkadina spends most of her time away from the countryside, preferring to stay in town where she can continue pretending she has not aged.