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Literature Study GuidesThe Cherry OrchardAct 3 Lyubov Andreyevna Holds A Dance Summary

The Cherry Orchard | Study Guide

Anton Chekhov

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Act 3, Lyubov Andreyevna Holds a Dance

Course Hero Literature Instructor Russell Jaffe provides an in-depth summary and analysis of Act 3, Lyubov Andreyevna Holds a Dance from Anton Chekhov's play The Cherry Orchard.

The Cherry Orchard | Act 3, Lyubov Andreyevna Holds a Dance | Summary



Everyone except for Lopakhin and Gayev, who are at the auction for the cherry orchard, gathers at Lyubov Andreyevna's home for a dance. They wait anxiously for word of what has happened at the auction. Trofimov teases Varya about Lopakhin. She is angry, then sad, because she would like to marry Lopakhin but must wait for him to ask her. Charlotta entertains them all by performing various magic tricks, and Pishchik becomes enamored of her.

Lyubov Andreyevna worries about Lopakhin and Gayev's absence. Varya tries to reassure her that Gayev has bought the orchard with a loan from their great-aunt. Everyone is anxious. Lyubov Andreyevna and Trofimov are cross with each other. He demands that she face the truth of her situation with the cherry orchard, and she responds by speaking cruelly to him. He runs away horrified and falls down the stairs. One of the guests, the stationmaster, recites a poem called "The Sinner" in the ballroom. Lyubov Andreyevna and Trofimov reconcile and dance together.


Tension builds in the household because the fate of the cherry orchard determines everyone's fate, master and servant alike. Anxiety about the future fuels more nonproductive talk: Trofimov's teasing, Varya and Lyubov Andreyevna's crying, and Trofimov and Lyubov Andreyevna's arguing all fill the time but change nothing. Likewise there is frenetic activity but no productive action. Charlotta's tricks, the continuous dancing, the recitation of literature, and games of billiards keep everyone busy, but nothing really gets done. Trofimov's tumble down the stairs adds a moment of comedy to the general atmosphere of suspense and imminent tragedy.

Lyubov Andreyevna's argument with Trofimov does offer a new perspective to consider on the sale of the orchard. She accuses him of acting too morally superior for his young age. Her objections to the sale go beyond objecting to a "vulgar" business deal, or even a nostalgia for an innocent past. She begs Trofimov to remember that "I was born here, my mother and father lived here, and my grandfather ... without the cherry orchard my life has no meaning for me."

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