Monday, February 1, 2010

Reflection on THE SEAGULL

Anton Chekhov's play THE SEAGULL was first performed in 1896. The play addresses and explores many themes but one that affected me most is Trigorin's view of his writing. B. A. Trigorin is an accomplished writer who speaks of his insecurities to Nina, a naive actress. Trigorin's writing is his obsession and he cannot get away from it because he cannot get away from himself.

"A minor writer, especially, if he hadn't had much luck, sees himself as clumsy, awkward, and unwanted...drawn towards people connected with literature, or art, but then he just wanders among them unrecognized and unnoticed, unable to look them straight and courageously in the eye, like a passionate gambler who hasn't any money."

The gambler metaphor is profound in the way it captures the writer's condition. It also acts as in the introduction to Trigorin's biggest fear which is that

"when I die, my friends as they pass my grave will say: "Here lies Trigorin. He was a good writer, but not as good as Turgenev.""

Writers and artists are all plagued by insecurity. But it is these doubts that allow them to grow and be better at their craft. If there were no fears of failure or of being irrelevant, then there would be no great art. It is a price one must pay.

Nina is an interesting character and one that changes the most throughout the play. At first, she wants to be an actress for fame and fortune but two years later she wants to be an actress for art. She understands Trigorin's insecurities and refers to herself as a seagull.

"I'm a seagull...I think now I know, Kostya, that what matters in our work- whether you act on stage or write stories- what really matters is not fame, or glamour, not the things I used to dream about- but knowing how to endure things. How to bear one's cross and have faith. I have faith now and I'm not suffering quite so much, and when I think about my vocation I'm not afraid of life."

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