In Chekhov’s dramatic texts, he buries many hidden meanings beneath the surface to give the play a deeper and more meaningful dimension. In this play, “The Three Sisters”, we strongly encounter the theme of isolation and separation various times, and uncover, with this theme, the possible importance of the first line. “Father died a year ago. This day exactly. Your saint’s day, Irina. ” We first get a sense of loneliness and solitude when we hear of the death of the father, at which point the audience automatically feels a little bit of grief towards the family. This is important.
Chekhov, from the first line, already outlines one of the play’s themes, and delivers it to the audience, hoping for a response and understanding. Throughout the play, Chekhov continuously pushes and expands the theme, even though discretely. The whole set is quite isolated. The Prozorov household is now in a more desolate location, which re-enforces Chekhov’s idea about solitude. The family no longer lives in Moscow, the enormous Moscow, which they consider home. The sisters themselves could say that they are isolated from the local community- “Only three surrounded by a flood of ignorance. This is a clear distinction between the intellectual level of the three sisters, and the rest of the society.
The education that they received, being the general’s daughters, would certainly be better and much more advanced than any common man or woman on the street at that time. The dramatist here relates back to the first line in two ways: firstly he re-enforces the fact that they are not accompanied by anyone, and secondly by introducing the importance of the father in the development of the story.
There are however some which could accompany the sister’s intellectually. The military. They receive basic school instruction, and so could be seen as educated as well. The problem her is that the army is always on the move, and never stays long in the same place, and cannot, therefore be depended on by the sisters. The army would be the only possible group that the Prozorov family could relate to on an educational level, and seeing that they are constantly away, again leaves the sisters to be isolated. The mention of the father in the first line is of great importance.
This because, as we read on in the play, we hear of the father many times, and can also link most of the characters to the three sisters by General Prozorov. Any one in the military knew the late General, and can therefore connect and is a link between family members and the army. Father Prozorov is also the essential link to the city of Moscow. It was he who lived there with them there and it was he who taught them there. This is also why they feel so connected to Moscow, and why they feel so at home there.
“In Moscowâ€¦nobody knows youâ€¦but yet you belong. The sisters believe that they are more like Moscow civilians, and in the first line, by mentioning the General, the playwright wishes to enforce the necessity of the father in their lives. Another theme which is recognized in the play is perhaps insecurity. The first line can also transmit this to the audience. “Father died a year ago. ” When this line is delivered, the audience right away senses fragility amongst the characters. During speeches in the play, Chekhov frequently uses stage directions, namely tears to show how insecure the sisters are, and the how much they need the support that they no longer have.
Essentially the first line explains, uncovers, and connects points in the story. Chekhov ingeniously disguises it as a less meaningful, but still powerful line, and then continues to develop the hidden meanings during the play. The mention of the father perhaps also has a symbolic value, as he would be the mentor of the family, and someone that the sisters could possibly feel secure about. Without him though, the three sisters would perhaps go astray, and find themselves lonely, isolated from anyone else.