“Age is neither here nor there. When one has no real life, one lives by mirages. It’s still better than nothing.”
Anton Chekhov, Uncle Vanya
The measure of a person is in the day-to-day manifestations of one’s virtue and being. And it’s this illuminative aspect of life that best describes one’s conscience.
The desperation that makes you you.
The generosity of which makes an innocent feel repentant of not living enough. And the exploitation of which guilts the guilty for all the suffering. The stories in this book prove how man is as guilty for his innocence as he is for his arrogance.
Anton Chekhov’s writing invokes such mysterious and complex idiosyncrasies of man. His plays are one of the most ardent and incisive plays that I’ve ever read. They question the deep psychological obscurity of man. The highs and lows, the ebb and flow of existence that feels too acute and sobering to identify as existential.
Deeply embedded in objectivity, Chekhov’s characters deal with naivete and ambition. Ambition of age, of love, of selfness, of creativity, and most actively, of life.
No matter how detached his characters might feel from one another, they live their own individual, solitary lives. And in that, for the reader, there is much to embrace.
His stories aren’t wishful or idealistic.
He sees man as an imperfect, audacious, and most of all, intelligent creature. He’s in pain, often misunderstood, and difficult to endure. His existence is a complicated matter. So is his awareness of his existence.
To read Chekhov’s plays is to maneuver the mind of a realist. And how one atones for one’s own existence in order to be freed from it. In Anton Chekhov’s own words, “for the time being, we must live.”