The Cherry Orchard: Character Profiles
Anya : Anya is the seventeen-year-old daughter of Madame Ranevsky who has lived in Paris for the last five years. Although she is young, she is nevertheless sensible, more so than her flighty mother and an optimistic idealist like the philosopher Trophimof.
Barbara : Barbara is Madame Ranevsky's oldest daughter who hopes to marry Lopakhin. She has been the housekeeper while her mother has been in Paris and wears a ring of keys at her waist. She sees full well what is happening on the estate but is powerless to prevent the family's imminent financial disaster because she has no money, and thus no power. She only wants to join a convent, but does not even have enough money to do this and so must take a job as a housekeeper.
Charlotte : An orphan, Charlotte is Anya's governess but since there is no longer a need for her services she does not know what to do with herself. She performs magic tricks.
Dunyasha : Dunyasha is the seventeen-year-old servant girl who acts like a lady, feeling faint and dancing at the family parties. The clerk Ephikhodof is in love with her but she is taken with the servant Yasha who has recently returned from Paris. Dunyasha provides comic relief and represents the changing classes in Russia.
Simeon Panteleyitch Ephikhodof : Ephikhodof is a bumbling, stumbling clerk who works on the cherry orchard estate. He provides comic relief by constantly falling down. He is in love with young Dunyasha who prefers Yasha. In time, he goes to work for Lopakhin.
Leonid Andreyitch Gayef : Gayef, Madame Ranevsky's older bachelor brother, is an aristocrat who is so fascinated by billiards that comments about the game frequently creep into his everyday conversation. An old-school aristocrat who has never worked, he does not get along with the former serf Lopakhin. He is a clown of sorts but becomes a more serious character by the end of the play after he takes a job in a bank.
Yermolai Alexeyitch Lopakhin : Born into a family of serfs, Lopakhin grew up on the cherry orchard estate. Through hard work and shrewd investments he has climbed into the role of new master. He will never be a true aristocrat, however. In lieu of an education, he works extra hard, but gives his poor background away by being overly familiar with the servants. However, he has become so involved with business that he has not had a chance to cultivate any sort of social life and this disheartens Barbara, Madame Ranevsky's older daughter, who wants Lopakhin to propose.
Firs Nikolayevitch : The oldest member of the cast, Firs is eighty-seven-years-old and was born a serf on Madame Ranevsky's estate. He refuses to accept Liberation and argues that life was easier in the old days when master and serf knew their social positions. Firs stands in opposition to the former serf Lopakhin who has adapted to the new Russian society by becoming a businessman and landowner. At the end, Firs is forgotten and locked away, and his death on stage signifies the end of an era.
Simeonof Pishtchik : Madame Ranevsky's neighbor Pishtchik, who is always borrowing money, provides comic relief. He is charming but spends much of his time attempting to bilk others out of money so he can pay off his own mortgage. However, at the end of the play he comes into good fortune when some of his land is rented, and he manages to return some of Madame Ranevsky's money.
Madame Ranevsky : She is the Russian aristocrat who owns the cherry orchard estate and who has recently returned from Paris, where she had been for five years following the death of her young son, Grisha. The youngster died by drowning shortly after the death of Madame Ranevsky's alcoholic husband. She escaped to Paris where she took an abusive lover who has just left her for another woman. A spendthrift, Madame Ranevsky finds it difficult to accept unpleasant facts, especially those concerning her ancestral home which she is about to lose if she cannot make the next mortgage payment. She throws money away as if she had an unlimited supply and cannot come to terms with the changing times. An aristocrat who has fallen on hard times, she still lives in the past and cannot adapt to the new twentieth century.
Peter Trophimof : Trophimof is the perpetual student, a philosopher who used to be Madame Ranevsky's son's tutor. He has remained on the cherry orchard estate after the boy's death. He balances out some of the play's more flighty characters and speaks sense about the future of Russia. He realizes that the artistocrat/serf social dichotomy is over and preaches that everyone must work hard if they are to succeed.
He is the most thoughtful character and although he falls in love with Anya, he cannot handle the emotional involvement, claiming instead that he and Anya are above love.
Yasha : Yasha is Madame Ranevsky's young servant but acts more like a member of the family. He has seen the lights of Paris and is eager to return. He begins a love affair with the young Dunyasha but tells her to keep it secret. He is too proud to see his aging peasant mother and wants only to return to Paris with his mistress.