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Unformatted text preview: Character study of Character study of “Feers”
from “The Cherry Orchard” Detail from script, Act 1
Detail from script, Act 1 Feers Nikolayevich, aged 87, manservant
 wears jacket, white waistcoat, puts on white gloves “preoccupied” attends to coffee, scolds maid
“fussing” uses phrase “daft” to complain of thers
talks & laughs to himself Nostalgic for “master” [Lyubov’s husband? Father?] Happy to have Mistress home, he “weeps with joy”
Lyubov: “my dear” “my dear friend” as he puts pillow below her feet
Gayev: “doesn’t hear very well” – this is source of comic misinterpretations, such as “The day before yesterday” Detail from script, Act 1 (cont’d)
Detail from script, Act 1 (cont’d)  Nostalgic for heyday of Cherry Orchard,  speaks of “his honour’s” visit [religious figure? judge?] speaks of high production and sale of cherries. “No one can remember the recipe” Does Feers?
remembers how many salted cucumbers he ate. Varya: He has been muttering for the past 3 years
Scolds Gayev for wearing wrong trousers [sounds like a mother]  reproaches Gayev for staying up late, Gayev: “Go away!”  rebukes Gayev again and ‘hobbles’ out after him Detail from script, Act 2
Detail from script, Act 2  brings overcoat to Gayev, concerned with Gayev’s dress Lyubov: “How you’ve aged!”  F makes stale joke about his own age. Was made chief valet before Emancipation. Gayev: “nuisance” F speaks like a mother again He rejected his freedom [critical point]
“The peasants belonged to the gentry, and the gentry belonged to the peasants, but now everything’s separate, and you can’t understand anything.”
Gayev: “Be quiet!”  Nostalgic for before the ‘misfortune’ [Emancipation] when “the owl hooted and the samovar kept singing” Detail from script, Act 3
Detail from script, Act 3  serving guests, wears tailcoat, crosses with soda water on tray
 uses walking stick, claims he’s ‘not too well” [cf Estate]  Yasha “You weary me… go away and die soon” calls Yasha “daft” and mutters Worries about Gayev & his coat, might catch cold ‘I’ve grown so weak somehow”
Claims to use ‘sealing wax” as medicine (Master said so) Feers seems oblivious of larger issue of estate being auctioned
Lyubov: “Where will you go?” F: “Wherever you tell me to go” Worries about guests, feels alone in serving – [sense of importance]
Yasha: “keeps walking around… muttering… silly things” Detail from script, Act 4
Detail from script, Act 4  Family’s solution to Feers: take him to the hospital Yepikhodov: “Superannuated… ought to join his ancestors… I can only envy him”
 Lyubov: Feers is one of “two worries on her mind”
 enters after all are gone, when house is locked up Has he has gone already? and it’s rumored he has. wears coat and white waistcoat, slippers, he is ill
figures out his predicament: locked in, alone
worries about Gayev’s clothing & mutters, decides to lie down &sleep “My life’s gone as if I never lived…. You haven’t got any strength left” Character Description
Character Description Physical Traits: 87, losing hearing, mutters, hobbles, very aged, gets progressively more ill through the play. Dress: jacket, white waistcoat, white gloves [later: tail coat, walking stick, slippers] Socioeconomic status: manservant, former serf who has apparently refused emancipation because of his position in the house at the Cherry Orchard. A relic of a previous age.
Psychological Makeup: dutiful, highly nostalgic, irascible, humorous, talks to himself, reproachful towards Gayev, scornful of other help, entirely devoted to Gayev and family and has sublimated his own needs. Also, “preoccupied” “fussing” and obsessed with Gayev’s wardrobe. His sense of selfimportance comes from his service. He actually has a posture of superiority when it come to his attending to Gayev’s needs, as if Gayev is still a child and Feers is the mother.
Moral or Ethical choices: Refusal of Emancipation/stayed with family; Has bypassed moral choices for himself by burying his own choices in the decisions of the family. His final accounting: “My life’s gone as if I never lived….” Feers’ Intentions
Feers’ Intentions Dominant Conscious Intentions Dominant Unconscious Intentions To sublimate his own will in that of his master and mistress.
To control his master by enforcing a strict code of behavior. Other Conscious or Halfconscious Intentions To ensure the smooth running of the household.
To make sure Gayev is dressed appropriately for every occasion. To make sure Gayev is where he needs to be when he needs to be. To ensure that the family members are happy and comfortable. To bully the other help to serve the family correctly.
To keep the traditions of the past as long as possible. Other Unconscious Intentions To recreate the splendor of the olden times, even if only in his mind.
To scorn lesser mortals into their rightful station.
To understand the way things work today. [weak, but present] Constellation of Character
Constellation of Character
(Wornout Waistcoat) Dutiful Formal
/ \ Rejected SelfImportance Emancipation in Servitude \ o
/ Nostalgic Reproachful / o
\ Aged & Failing Humorous \ o /
Inseparable from the Orchard Final thoughts on Feers
Final thoughts on Feers Real Point of View enunciated by character: “The peasants belonged to the gentry, and the gentry belonged to the peasants, but now everything’s separate, and you can’t understand anything.”
Though Chekhov’s buffoon stamp is on him, still he is sympathetic and, at the last, he is the image of the playwright on his death bed. ...
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- Fall '08
- The Cherry Orchard