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Modern Literature and the Tragic$
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K. M. Newton

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780748636730

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748636730.001.0001

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Chekhov and the Tragic

Chekhov and the Tragic

(p.51) Chapter 3 Chekhov and the Tragic
Modern Literature and the Tragic

K. M. Newton

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter discusses the work of Chekhov. He is very aware of the tragic in his writing. Though Hamlet would seem to be the most important tragedy for Chekhov — it is clearly a significant presence in The Seagull — one can also see a relationship between The Seagull and Racine's Andromaque, though instead of reinforcing the connection with the tragic, it rather reveals how Chekhov distances his drama from it, both formally and philosophically. Chekhov's resistance to the tragic as a concept is suggested by his description of plays such as The Seagull and The Cherry Orchard as comedies; even Ivanov was originally called a comedy. Chekhov's symbolism is seldom subject to easy decoding, but the colour grey in one of his story is not one that would normally be associated with the tragic.

Keywords:   tragic, Chekhov, Hamlet, The Seagull, Andromaque, The Cherry Orchard, Ivanov, grey

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