The Cherry Orchard: Top Ten Quotes
- "You are too refined.you should remember your place." (p. 2)
Lopakhin, the former serf now turned landowner, treats the nervous young servant Dunyasha first as familiar friend by confiding in her and then as an upstart servant who should know her place. This illustrates the great social change inherent in Russia's newfound class mobility.
- "My mistress has come home; at last I've seen her. Now I'm ready to die." (p. 6)
Firs, the aging man who spent most of his life as a serf, continues to think like one. He has remained a serf in his mind, waiting longingly for six years for the return of his mistress Madame Ranevsky from Paris. He represents the old way of living in feudal Russia.
- "In all my life I never met anyone so frivolous as you two, so crazy and unbusinesslike. I tell you in plain Russian your property is going to be sold and you don't seem to understand what I say." (p. 20)
Madame Ranevsky and her brother Gayef insist they have written to their aunt to send them money but Lopakhin is shocked to find how little they have requested and insists such a small amount will never be enough to make the mortgage payment. This quote demonstrates how out of touch the aristocracy is while the former serf Lopakhin has a much clearer grasp of contemporary economics.
- "Perhaps man has a hundred senses, and when he dies the five senses that we know perish with him, and the other ninety-five remain alive . . . Everything that is unattainable for us now will one day be near and clear . . . But we must work." (p. 23)
Trophimof the tutor expresses a philosophy of idealism to Lopakhin, Madame Ranevsky, Anya and Gayef in his argument that the days of the aristocracy are over and now all classes must work.
- "All you ancestors were serf owners, owners of living souls. Do not human spirits look out at you from every leaf and stem?" (p. 27)
Anya tells Trophimof that he has caused her to no longer love the cherry orchard by making her realize that despite its beauty, it is the product of years of backbreaking labor by unpaid serfs. Her consciousness has been raised and she realizes that she can no longer live a life of luxury served by others but must go out into the world and work herself.
- "A hungry dog believes in nothing but meat." (p. 28)
Pishtchik says this to Trophimof at the beginning of Act III. He is agreeing with Trophimof who has explained how much Pishtchik could have achieved had he not constantly felt the necessity to spend his time scrounging for money to pay off his loans.
- "You look boldly ahead; isn't it only that you don't see or divine anything terrible in the future; because life is still hidden from your young eyes." (p. 32)
Madame Ranevsky says this to the philosopher and perpetual student Trophimof after he insists that she face up to reality. She should have, he insists, taken action to ward off financial disaster by selling the cherry orchard while she attempts to make him understand how much the property means to her.
- "My love is like a stone tied round my neck; it's dragging me down to the bottom; but I love my stone. I can't live without it." (p. 33)
Madame Ranevsky says this to Trophimof after he attempts to get her to change her mind about returning to her abusive Parisian lover. He himself, he insists, is above love while she regrettably says she is beneath love.
- "What's the use of talking? You can see for yourself that this is a barbarous country; the people have no morals; and the boredom!" (p. 35)
Yasha, the self-serving servant complains about his Russian homeland. Since he has seen Paris, he finds Russia intolerable and will use all of his wiles to convince Madame Ranevsky to take him back to Paris with her.
- "Life has gone by as if I never lived" (p. 49)
Firs mutters this during the last scene of the play where he lies ill after all have abandoned him. After a life of servile and selfless devotion, his "betters" have left him behind. Firs' death represents the real end of the feudal Russian way of life.