Have you ever opened a present and realized it is not what you wanted? How did you feel after you opened it? Were you angry? Disappointed? Sad? Whether you were angry or sad, what you may have realized Is that you did not know what was inside until you opened it. As human beings, we embark on a journey to explore and experience meaning in life. But on this journey, many of us are surprised when we fail to gain the things we desire the most, such as love, good health, the perfect career, or even happiness.
In Anton Chekhov’s, The Seagull, Chekhov paints a vivid picture of the events that define reality. The characters in Chekhov’s play are young, old, rich and poor; some appear to have the perfect life, but many of these characters are unable to achieve what they desire most. Ironically, some of the characters possess what the other characters want. In the beginning of the play, the character Masha boldly exclaims that she is unhappy. The character, Medviedenko then states, “Why are you unhappy?” “You are healthy.” Good health is not what Masha wants. Masha wants Treplev, an amateur writer, and the son of a famous actress, she believes can bring her happiness. Sadly, Medviedenko must watch Masha, the woman he loves, wail over another man. Immediately, Chekhov shows his audience that unrequited love is one of the many experiences in the real world that affects a person’s happiness. Moreover, Sorin is an older character who is saddened by his health condition and his failure to become a famous writer. Isn’t it ironic how Masha takes her “good health” for granted, while Sorin yearns to be healthy again? What about Treplev, who allows his mother to discourage him from writing creatively, while Sorin wishes he was a famous writer? Treplev’s mother, Arkadina too, struggles to accept something she cannot have, eternal youth and Trigorin, a respectable Russian writer who falls for Nina, who is more youthful and just as beautiful as Arkadina. Although Nina has beauty, youth and succeeds in grasping Trigorin’s attention, Nina wants to be an actress; Nina wants riches and fame, something she desires but does not have. Trigorin, on the other hand, regrets spending most of his youth writing, instead of exploring life.
Chekhov shows in the first half of his play, the unforeseen circumstances the characters experienced, that prevent them from being completely satisfied with their current lives. Will the characters have what they desire at the end of Chekhov’s play? Or will they overstep their boundaries and face yet another surprise?