The Cherry Orchard

Mankind marches on, going from strength

Peter Trofimov

The Cherry Orchard

See more monologues from Anton Chekhov


Age Range
Act 2
Time & Place
Russia, 1904
Time Period
Show Type

Monologue Context

Trofimov has been at loggerheads with local businessman, Lopakhin. They are

Monologue Text

Mankind marches on, going from strength to strength. All that now eludes us will one day be well within our grasp, but, as I say, we must work and we must do all we can for those who are trying to find the truth. Here in Russia very few people do work at present. The kind of Russian intellectuals I know, far and away the greater part of them anyway, aren’t looking for anything. They don’t do anything. They still don’t know the meaning of hard work. They call themselves an intelligensia, but they speak to their servants as inferiors and treat the peasants like animals. They don’t study properly, they never read anything serious, in fact they don’t do anything at all. Science is something they just talk about and they know precious little about art. Oh, they’re all very earnest. They all go round looking extremely solemn. They talk of nothing but weighty issues and they discuss abstract problems, while all the time everyone knows the workers are abominably fed and sleep without proper bedding, thirty or forty to a room--with bed-bugs everywhere, to say nothing of the stench, the damp, the moral degradation. And clearly all our fine talk is just meant to pull wool over our own eyes and other people’s too. Tell me, where are those children’s creches that there’s all this talk about? Where are the libraries? They’re just things people write novels about, we haven’t actually got any of them. What we have got it dirt, vulgarity and squalor. I loathe all those earnest faces. They scare me, and so do earnest conversations. Why can’t we keep quiet for a change?

Anton Chekhov. “The Cherry Orchard”. Five Plays. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008, p. 266.

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