The Sea-Gull (also, The Sea Gull)

A comedy in four acts by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov. It portrays an intricate web of romantic relationships binding together most of the major characters. The action takes place at a country estate in the late 1890s. Although it is labeled as a comedy, the story is not without a tragic streak.

Short summary: At Madame Treplev's estate, her son, Konstantin, presents an outdoor performance of his new play, in which the single character (actually just a voice) is played by Nina, a neighbor's daughter, with whom Konstantin is hopelessly in love. When Madame Treplev, a famous actress, makes light of the angst-filled play, Konstantin angrily stops the performance.

Later, Nina becomes infatuated with Trigorin, a literary man and Madame Treplev's current lover. When Madame Treplev and Trigorin move back to Moscow, Nina follows, hoping to become an actress. There, she has an affair with Trigorin. Masha, the daughter of the family steward, is in love with Konstantin (who couldn't care less for her), but marries Medvedenko, the local schoolmaster.

Two years later, Nina has returned to the country, where Konstantin continues to live and work on his writing. Konstantin believes that he and Nina might make a fresh start together, but she rejects him. In the end, he goes out and shoots himself.

In Act II Treplev kills a seagull and presents it to Nina; he says, "Soon I shall kill myself in the same way." In Act IV the seagull returns to the stage, stuffed. Incidentally, the killing of the bird is the centerpiece of Chekhov's symbolism. It is instrumental in introducing a strong "loss of innocence" theme into the play. Mild resemblance to symbolic elements utilized in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge is also apparent.

The Sea Gull is a 1896 play by Russian master Anton Chekhov. Self-described as 'A comedy in four acts,' it has as much melancholy drama as comedy. When it first opened, the audience, expecting light entertainment, booed and stamped their feet throughout. The play closed quickly,. but was revived two years later at the Moscow Art Theatre, where it garnered success and accolades.

The Sea Gull is about a young man named Konstantin Gavrilovich Treplev, who is trying to make a name for himself as an artist. He is at odds with his mother, Irina Nikolayevna Arkadina, who is a famous actress. Arkadina is shallow and manipulative. Her lover, Boris Trigorin, is a talented writer, whom Treplev is jealous of. Treplev is in love with a young lady, Nina Zarechnaya. Nina, unfortunately, is enchanted by fame, and falls for Trigorin. Nina aspires to be an actress, and ends up going to off to Moscow to pursue both this and Trigorin. Treplev is haunted by his love for Nina, and also his desire to bring forth new forms for art in his writing. Nina has a child by Trigorin, the child dies, and Trigorin eventually becomes bored of Nina. Nina finds no success on the stage. She returns to her home, unravelled, and still will not return Treplev's love. Treplev, distraught, commits suicide.

This summary only scratches the surface of The Sea Gull. The characters, of which there are more than just the four mentioned in passing, form a complicated web of relationships. The primary focus of the play is on art and artists, (Chekhov was criticizing the drama of his time) though themes of love, aging, and regret are strongly woven into the play. The characters speak plainly, and act naturally, and this play written over a hundred years ago feels right at home on the modern stage.

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