Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Five Plays: Ivanov / The Seagull / Uncle Vanya / The Three Sisters / The Cherry Orchard” as Want to Read:
Five Plays: Ivanov / The Seagull / Uncle Vanya / The Three Sisters / The Cherry Orchard
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Five Plays: Ivanov / The Seagull / Uncle Vanya / The Three Sisters / The Cherry Orchard

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  3,963 ratings  ·  104 reviews
Chekhov's worldwide reputation as a dramatist rests on five great plays: Ivanov, The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters, and The Cherry Orchard. All are presented in this collection, taken from the authoritative Oxford Chekhov, in Ronald Hingley's acclaimed translation. Hingley has also written an introduction specifically for this volume in which he provides a detailed h ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published July 9th 1998 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1964)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor DostoyevskyAnna Karenina by Leo TolstoyThe Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor DostoyevskyThe Master and Margarita by Mikhail BulgakovWar and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Best Russian Literature
75th out of 380 books — 1,524 voters
Hamlet by William ShakespeareMacbeth by William ShakespeareThe Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar WildeRomeo and Juliet by William ShakespeareThe Crucible by Arthur Miller
Best Play Ever
89th out of 422 books — 366 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Reading, as opposed to seeing Chekhov is quite a strange experience because of his impressionistic technique - nothing is explained, everything is surface, the opposite of the great classic novels of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky which are all psychology. There are motifs, as in poetry, which emerge or sink into the narrative. The dialogue is so ambiguous, so flexible, that the variety of interpretations that theatre companies can bring to the plays seems to be endless, judging from Anatoly Smeliansky' ...more
Livada de visini ****
* Mi s-a parut cea mai sensibila, poate pentru ca sentimentul pierderii e aici foarte evident si puternic: livada de visini e vinduta in cele din urma si intreaga familie e privata de locul cel mai drag lor, pierderea livezii putind echivala cu pierderea sperantelor, desi in final Trofimov exclama: “Viata noua, te salutam!” Sau poate, intr-un ton mult mai mundan, pierderea livezii echivaleaza cu noua ordine sociala ce se instala in Rusia vremii respective.

Trei surori ****
* O
I was young, full of fire, sincere, no fool; I loved, I hated and I believed, but not like other men, I worked and I had hopes for ten, I tilted at windmills and beat my head against walls.... And tell me: could it have been otherwise? There are so few of us, and so much, so much to do! God, how much to do! And now the life against which I struggled is taking this cruel vengeance on me! I've worn myself out! ... Before you stands a man of thirty-five, disillusioned and crushed by his worth

This book consists of five different plays. As I read each one, I just wrote down my thoughts:

Ivanov: a disillusioned landowner is fed up with his life. Really, he just over-thinks everything and has given up on trying to be happy. There is a lot of fussing over Ivanov and his choices - ever since his marriage to a "Jewess" who gave up her family and religion to be with him, he's gone emotionally downhill. There is a lot of men crying in this play and if I had to give it a theme or a point, I th
Apr 28, 2010 Steve rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: drama
I'm ok with these, but I muc prefer Chekhov as a short story writer. His plays are so delicate, that you just know you're losing something due to the translations.
Daniel Klawitter
One of the great playwrights of course. My favorite play in this collection is Ivanov. Here are some snippets:

"This life of ours...human life is like a flower gloriously blooming in a meadow: along comes a goat, eats it up---no more flower."

"I am beginning to think that fate has cheated me Doctor. There are a great many people, perhaps no better than I, who are happy without having had to pay for their happiness."

"Scientists have been thinking about this since the world began, but they haven't
Vanja Antonijevic
There is something special about Chekhov. I would have to admit that Dostoevsky and Tolstoy may be greater writers than he is, but it seems that no writer has been able to produce a certain Russian spirit, tone, and sentiment as well as Chekhov in his writings. To put it simply, his plays and short stories have more "soul" and "heart" to them than anything else I have read. The Russian Shakepeare is my second favorite Russian author (after Dostoevsky), and is an underappreciated genius in his ow ...more
This collection of Chekhov's major and most well-known plays has to be one of my most valued possessions. Each story is unique, each plot has its own theme, the characters could undoubtedly have existed and not just been imagined. Chekhov's plays seem to have a strong effect on me, I could see myself on his characters, I could sympathize with their actions and the setting would have me instantly on board.
I'd love to read more of his work, especially his short stories, for which as well he is hig
I cannot rationally explain my obsession with this man and his plays. His life is a fascination in and of itself, but his plays are full of real characters, with blood in their veins and mortality on their minds. They are confused, brittle, funny and frank. I cannot help but love them.
I love reading Chekhov's short stories. I love reading plays. I should love reading Chekhov's plays, right? Apparently not. These completely failed to interest me. I actually fell asleep several times while trying to get through this book. I'll stick with the short stories.
Play after play ending with one or more of the characters going downstage and shooting themselves. Enough, already!
Gabriel Day
Note: Read Three Sisters

It took me a long time to connect with these characters, but once I did Three Sisters became quite sad, though somewhat comical at the same time due to the ever increasing extremes in some of the characters. I couldn't tell what Chekhov was trying to say with this, but it felt like something. Perhaps his intent was to contrast the sisters, who are emotional and fret about life, to the old doctor Chebutykin, who seems to see life as a meaningless joke. I prefer Chekhov as
I don't think that this translation is the one that I was familiar with and can't recommened one translation in particular.

Chekhov has a had a strange fate in English in that his plays - judging by revivals of Ivanov - seem to be more valued than his short stories. Chekhov's plays have tapped into a particular British nostalgia which doesn't help us to understand them in their own context. Chekhov wasn't a solidly middle-class Edwardian Englishman reflecting on a world that had vanished after WW
This is my second attempt at tackling a Chekhov play in the last few months. If I had to rate it (which, I guess is what I'm doing here, after all,) I'd say it's more entertaining than the last one I read (The Three Sisters) and less entertaining than watching fish swim in an aquarium, especially if you're not an avid aquarium enthusiast.

The plot of The Cherry Orchard was more palatable; a once-wealthy Russian landowner as a problem spending money and confronting her problems. When her beloved
Thurston Hunger
There's a lot of misery in these comedies? And quite an odd mix of affirmation and nihilism. Not quite a recipe, but include at least one babbling fool, and one case of unwanted affection. Upper crust going stale, a world ending, and yet things not really changing in big arc?

Translation of the plays in this book is by Ann Dunnigan. I have no idea if they are spot on or not. I'll have so see some performances of these to see how they affect me in presentation, I recall having seen "Vanya on 47th
Garrett Zecker
Several plays that are screaming indictments for change in my opinion. I picked these back up at an interestingly strange time in American history - wouldn't right now be a wonderful and stark time for someone somewhere to stage a revival of The Cherry Orchard? I mean, it has everything we love about our economy and society - difficulty of expression of feelings, a mess in the mortgage holdings of a family, and all this coming from a family and society where those with money seemingly think they ...more
Evaristus Toby
Ivanov: "No, Doctor, we all have too many wheels, screws, and valves to judge each other on first impressions or one or two pointers. I don't understand you, you don't understand me and we don't understand ourselves..."

The Seagull(1): "Out of the mediocre scenes and lines they try to drag a moral, some commonplace that doesn't tax the brain and might come in useful about the house."

The Seagull(2): "The thing is to write without thinking about technique - write from the heart because it all comes
Feisty Harriet
I have seen bits and pieces of The Seagull, The Three Sisters, and The Cherry Orchard, but this was the first time I read them all. Written during Imperial Russia's decline there is a sense of a fading aristocracy learning to deal with reality (losing estates, running out of money), family decline, and the rise of modern society. I think Ivanov was my favorite of the five, certainly the most humorous.
Chekhov is sublime. Period. If you want insight into the human experience, read the achingly lovely and poignant "Lady with the Little Dog" and then you're done. He invented a whole new way of writing - complete honesty with no trickery. Chekhov is for grownups.
Jul 26, 2008 Brenda rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Theatre folk - anyone, really
Three young orphaned women and their brother live in the boonies of Russia, desparately hoping to return to their childhood home of Moscow. As the years go by, the women's fortunes fall, their lives become lonelier and they get no closer to their dearest dream.

I've read this 3 or 4 times and I keep seeing more and more of the humour of this piece. It's a sad, dark, somewhat depressing humour to be sure, but it's there. The women slowly become more deeply trapped in their habits and beliefs, and
Kate Rasmussen
I like to read different translations of playwrights and it's fun to see how this Three Sisters compares to some of the others I have read/seen. The language is formal but that's also the play. This is one I bought for a class but kept.
Just read The Cherry Orchard, which was interesting but not something I would put on the top of my list.
Judging from these 5 plays, Chekhov had some bizarre fixations. Doctors, for one, appear in almost every play. As does infidelity. Climactic ending gun deaths (two suicides, one in a duel). Longsuffering innocent young women and the creepy old guys who love them. Any one of these plays on their own would, I imagine, be less ridiculous (and much better) than the five as a group. As it is, I found myself bored and apathetic by the end. There were cool moments here and there but my main takeaway is ...more
Rea Bailey
Chekhov is the best! I love these plays, especially seagull and uncle vanya!
Benjamin Wallsten
Amazing! Stupendous! Russian literature at its finest!

I am always left wanting more from Chekhov (too bad his life was cut short by a disease we, ironically, can prevent today - it's oddly reminiscent of what one of the characters in Chekhov's "The Three Sisters" - Vershinin - is constantly saying about the future being better than the present). This volume simply enlarges that desire.

If you love Chekhov, you must read this book. It gives you the 5 major plays that made Anton Chekhov into the fa
I'm familiar with Russian literature's tendency to be humorously tragic. I didn't expect any more (or less) from Chekhov and wasn't disappointed. However, compared to his short stories, the plays in this book were somewhat lacking. They didn't have the blunt edge of wit that I loved about stories like Sleepy or Death of a Government Clerk. While critics can find humor in the Cherry Orchard, for me it's just not the same. It's still well-written (though the English doesn't come off as smoothly), ...more
Anton Chekhov' s plays for me are not entirely pleasant to read at all. Characters Chekhov created tend to be self-destructed and more pessimistic about lives. Having said that, I still love Anton Chekhov' s philosophy shown in his life. Our lives are full of agonies already and perhaps occasionally we see some glimpses of joyfulness if we are lucky enough. I really love Ivanov. The reader can see where this play is going and surely it is not going to end happily ever after.

Reading Chekhov broad
My only complaint is that I can't keep all the name variations and diminutives straight on the page. This is why I love to see Chekhov performed. The characters get embodied by actors, and you don't have to keep mental files on each one. That said, it's Chekhov. It's wonderful. Every page has little tidepools of human rumination that are beautiful even if you can't figure out if they belong to that woman, her mother, her aunt, her lover, or her mother's lover.
Chekhov is one of the few playwrights that I like to read, which is to say, I like it just well on paper as on stage - maybe more. Possibly because most stage productions don't get it quite right. It's the comedy, Stupid.

I go back and forth on favorites, and they are all so good. But if you held a gun to my head (which would, of course, have to go off by the end of the play), I guess I'd have to say The Cherry Orchard. So funny, so sad, so maddening. So funny.
Cassandra Kay Silva
These plays are so carefully measured in tone and rhetoric that I think it would be impossible to determine what they would be like without actually seeing them preformed on stage. I also imagine that a great deal of the nuance of the work would depend heavily on the actors chosen. I chose more eccentric actors for my own mind while reading this work and found that enjoyable. This could also be terribly boring given the wrong cast.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Four Major Plays: A Doll's House / Ghosts / Hedda Gabler / The Master Builder
  • The Misanthrope and Other Plays
  • Miss Julie and Other Plays
  • Three Plays: Desire Under the Elms / Strange Interlude / Mourning Becomes Electra
  • Everyman and Medieval Miracle Plays (Everyman's Library)
  • The Complete Dramatic Works
  • Three Plays: Our Town/The Skin of Our Teeth/The Matchmaker
  • Home of the Gentry
  • The Coast of Utopia (Box Set)
  • The Cossacks and Other Stories
  • Fool for Love and Other Plays
  • Lysistrata and Other Plays
  • Three Plays: Blithe Spirit / Hay Fever / Private Lives
  • Naked Masks: Five Plays
  • Baal
  • Three Plays: Juno and the Paycock / The Shadow of a Gunman / The Plow and the Stars
  • Euripides V: Electra / The Phoenician Women / The Bacchae
  • The Collected Stories
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov was born in the small seaport of Taganrog, southern Russia, the son of a grocer. Chekhov's grandfather was a serf, who had bought his own freedom and that of his three sons in 1841. He also taught himself to read and write. Yevgenia Morozova, Chekhov's mother, was the daughter of a cloth merchant.

"When I think back on my childhood," Chekhov recalled, "it all seems quite glo
More about Anton Chekhov...
Selected Stories The Cherry Orchard The Seagull The Complete Short Novels Uncle Vanya

Share This Book

“NINA: ...what's important is...the ability to endure. To be able to bear one's cross and have faith. I have faith, and it's not so painful now, and when I think of my vocation, I'm not afraid of life.” 5 likes
More quotes…