Three Sisters. Anton Chekhov (1901) Characters. Characters. Anfisa :
Anton Chekhov (1901)
The old governess who has been with the Prozorov family for thirty years. Anfisa is worried that she will be turned out on her own in her old age. In the end it is only Anfisa who seems happy about the future she is to live in a government apartment with Olga, and she asks nothing more of life.
An old friend of the sisters, a military doctor, a failure, an alcoholic. He lives in the basement of the house. His most important scene occurs when he drops he clock in Act III, smashing it. The sisters are horrified because the clock had belonged to their mother, the woman Chebutykin loved.
A second lieutenant in the army, Fedotik is seldom on stage. When he does show up, he usually has something to give to somebody - a musical top for Irina, or a toy for the baby. He also takes photographs of people whenever he is on stage.
Ferapont is an old man who works for the county board. He is sometimes confused and sometimes has trouble hearing. In the middle of the play, Andrei, feeling the pressure of life with Natasha, takes his trouble out on Ferapont.
Kulygin is Masha's husband, a disappointment to her. He is an assistant principal. At the end of the play, when his wife is upset because her lover is leaving, Kulygin tries to cheer her up. It is an attitude is not based on sharing her suffering, but on weakness and a wish to avoid unpleasantness.
Irina is the youngest sister, not just in age but in her vibrant personality. Act I starts with Irina's twentieth birthday. She idealizes work as the solution to all of life's problems, knowing that work can solve the great problem faced by characters in this play, that of living life with meaning. Irina longs to live in Moscow.
Irina accepts Tuzenbach's proposal of marriage out of a sense of duty to her family. Solyony is also in love with her and is determined that no-one else will have her. He fights a duel with Tuzenbach for her.
Masha is married (not happily) to Kulygin. She is bored and disappointed with her life. She has an affair with Vershinin and this makes her happy. She is the most forthright and honest of the sisters.
Olga is the oldest sister and the voice of rationality among the three of them. She is struggling to live up to the code of nobility that the family has traditionally followed and, therefore, struggling with life's changes. Her greatest emotion shows when Natasha is rude to Anfisa, the family's old servant.
During the first act, the sisters look down on Natasha's way of dress and her coarse manners. By the time the second act begins Natasha is married to Andrei, and they have one son, Bobik.
Natasha’s vulgarity triumphs largely because she actively pursues her aims for herself and her children, while the Prozorov family fail to do anything to stop her. The result is that they are progressively driven out of their house.
By Act III, her affair with Protopokov is openly known. As time passes, Natasha comes to increasingly dominate the household. At the end the play she has taken over the Prozorov family's house with Protopokov, and it is hinted that the younger child, Sophie, is actually Protopokov's.
The sisters' brother is a teacher who aspires to be a great scholar in Moscow. He becomes a henpecked husband and he loses money gambling. This forces him to mortgage the house, which leaves his sisters and him at the mercy of Natasha.
Rode always appears with Fedotik, but he is more loud and boisterous. He teaches a gym class at the high school.
Solony is a hard, angry character who mocks the social conventions of polite society with his nonsensical statements. He is aware of his own crudeness. He believes himself to be so in love with Irina that he is willing to kill any other man that she would choose over him.
Tuzenbach is a Baron of German descent. He is disgusted with himself for the easy life he has lived, noting that he has never worked a day in his life. He is in love with Irina. His excitement extends to an appreciation of the little town he is leaving, in all that surrounds him, even though he knows that he might die in the duel with Solyony.
He is from Moscow and he was in the same brigade as their father eleven years ago. Vershinin has two daughters and a wife who is mentally ill, trying to commit suicide often. Vershinin recalls being lonely in Moscow and appreciates the things the small town has to offer. His affair with Masha offers them both a chance for excitement in their deadening marriages.