The Cherry Orchard

by

Anton Chekhov

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Leonid Andreyitch Gayef Character Analysis

Ranevsky’s brother is a gregarious, sentimental man who talks too much. Always gossiping about somebody or waxing poetic about a feeling, a phrase, or even a piece of furniture, Gayef largely functions as comic relief throughout the play. However, his feelings of anxiety over his family’s financial future and his intense sadness and shame at ultimately losing the house are palpable and deep. Gayef schemes and plots throughout the play as to how the family can secure the funds needed to pay off the interest on their estate, but despite all of his grand ideas, Gayef is still reliant on the funds and generosity of others. In the end, Gayef takes a job in a bank, though his family seems dubious as to whether or not he will be able to hold down the common job.

Leonid Andreyitch Gayef Quotes in The Cherry Orchard

The The Cherry Orchard quotes below are all either spoken by Leonid Andreyitch Gayef or refer to Leonid Andreyitch Gayef. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Social Change Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Thrift edition of The Cherry Orchard published in 1991.
Act 1 Quotes

MADAME RANEVSKY: Cut down the cherry orchard! Excuse me, but you don’t know what you’re talking about. If there is one thing that’s interesting, remarkable in fact, in the whole province, it’s our cherry orchard.

LOPAKHIN: There’s nothing remarkable about the orchard except that it’s a very big one. It only bears once every two years, and then you don’t know what to do with the fruit. Nobody wants to buy it.

GAYEF: Our cherry orchard is mentioned in Andreyevsky’s Encyclopaedia.

[…]

FIRS: In the old days, forty or fifty years ago, they used to dry the cherries and soak ‘em and pickle ‘em, and make jam of ‘em, and the dried cherries…

GAYEF: Shut up, Firs.

FIRS: The dried cherries used to be sent in wagons to Moscow and Kharkof. A heap of money! The dried cherries were soft and juicy and sweet and sweet-smelling them. They knew some way in those days.

MADAME RANEVSKY: And why don’t they do it now?

FIRS: They’ve forgotten. Nobody remembers how to do it.

Related Characters: Madame Lyubof Andreyevna Ranevsky (speaker), Yermolai Alexeyitch Lopakhin (speaker), Leonid Andreyitch Gayef (speaker), Firs Nikolayevitch (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Cherry Orchard
Page Number: 9
Explanation and Analysis:

GAYEF: Do you know how old this cupboard is, Lyuba? A week ago I pulled out the bottom drawer and saw a date burnt on it. That cupboard was made exactly a hundred years ago. What do you think of that, eh? We might celebrate its jubilee. It’s only an inanimate thing, but for all that it’s a historic cupboard.

[…]

GAYEF (touching the cupboard): Yes, it’s a wonderful thing… Beloved and venerable cupboard; honor and glory to your existence, which for more than a hundred years has been directed to the noble ideals of justice and virtue. Your silent summons to profitable labor has never weakened in all these hundred years. (Crying.) You have upheld the courage of succeeding generations of our human kind; you have upheld faith in a better future and cherished in us ideals of goodness and social consciousness. (A pause.)

Page Number: 9-10
Explanation and Analysis:

GAYEF (opening the other window): The orchard is all white. You’ve not forgotten in, Lyuba? This long avenue going straight on, straight on, like a ribbon between the trees? It shines like silver on moonlight nights. Do you remember? You’ve not forgotten?

MADAME RANEVSKY (looking out into the garden): Oh, my childhood, my pure and happy childhood! I used to sleep in this nursery. I used to look out from here into the garden. Happiness awoke with me every morning! And the orchard was just the same then as it is now; nothing is altered. (Laughing with joy.) It is all white, all white! Oh, my cherry orchard! After the dark and stormy autumn and the frosts of winter you are young again and full of happiness; the angels of heaven have not abandoned you. Oh! If only I could free my neck and shoulders from the stone that weighs them down! If only I could forget my past!

Related Characters: Madame Lyubof Andreyevna Ranevsky (speaker), Leonid Andreyitch Gayef (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Cherry Orchard
Page Number: 11-12
Explanation and Analysis:

GAYEF: I’ll go [to the bank] on Tuesday and talk [the loan] over again. (To BARBARA) Don’t howl! (To ANYA) Your mamma shall have a talk with Lopakhin. Of course he won’t refuse her. And as soon as you are rested you must go to see your grandmother, the Countess, at Yaroslav. We’ll operate from three points, and the trick is done. We’ll pay the interest, I’m certain of it. (Taking sugar candy.) I swear on my honor, or whatever you will, the property shall not be sold. (Excitedly.) I swear by my hope of eternal happiness! There’s my hand on it. Call me a base, dishonorable man if I let it go to auction. I swear by my whole being.

Related Symbols: The Cherry Orchard
Page Number: 14-15
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 2 Quotes

LOPAKHIN: Excuse me, but in all my life I never met anybody so frivolous as you two, so crazy and unbusinesslike! I tell you in plain Russian your property is going to be sold, and you don’t seem to understand what I say.

MADAME RANEVSKY: Well, what are we to do? Tell us what you want us to do.

LOPAKHIN: Don’t I tell you every day? Every day I say the same thing over and over again. You must lease off the cherry orchard and the rest of the estate for villas […]

MADAME RANEVSKY: Villas and villa residents, oh, please… it’s so vulgar!

GAYEF: I quite agree with you.

LOPAKHIN: I shall either cry, or scream, or faint. I can’t stand it! You’ll be the death of me. (To GAYEF.) You’re an old woman!

Related Characters: Madame Lyubof Andreyevna Ranevsky (speaker), Yermolai Alexeyitch Lopakhin (speaker), Leonid Andreyitch Gayef (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Cherry Orchard
Page Number: 20-21
Explanation and Analysis:

(They all sit pensively. Silence reigns, broken only by the mumbling of old FIRS. Suddenly a distant sound is heard as if from the sky, the sound of a string breaking, dying away, melancholy.)

MADAME RANEVSKY: What’s that?

LOPAKHIN: I don’t know. It’s a lifting-tub given way somewhere away in the mines. It must be a long way off.

GAYEF: Perhaps it’s some sort of bird… a heron, or something.

TROPHIMOF: Or an owl…

MADAME RANEVSKY (shuddering): There’s something uncanny about it!

FIRS: The same thing happened before the great misfortune: the own screeched and the samovar kept humming.

GAYEF: What great misfortune?

FIRS: The Liberation.

Related Characters: Madame Lyubof Andreyevna Ranevsky (speaker), Yermolai Alexeyitch Lopakhin (speaker), Leonid Andreyitch Gayef (speaker), Firs Nikolayevitch (speaker)
Page Number: 25
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 4 Quotes

(MADAME RANEVSKY and GAYEF remain alone [in the nursery.] They seem to have been waiting for this, throw their arms round each other’s necks and sob restrainedly and gently, afraid of being overheard.)

GAYEF (in despair): My sister! My sister!

MADAME RANEVSKY: Oh, my dear, sweet lovely orchard! My life, my youth, my happiness, farewell! Farewell!

ANYA (calling gaily, without) Mamma!

TROPHIMOF (gay and excited): Aoo!

MADAME RANEVSKY: One last look at the walls and the windows… Our dear mother sued to walk up and down this room.

GAYEF: My sister! My sister!

ANYA (without): Aoo!

MADAME RANEVSKY: We’re coming. (Exeunt.)

Related Characters: Madame Lyubof Andreyevna Ranevsky (speaker), Anya (speaker), Leonid Andreyitch Gayef (speaker), Peter Trophimof (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Cherry Orchard
Page Number: 48
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Cherry Orchard LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Cherry Orchard PDF

Leonid Andreyitch Gayef Character Timeline in The Cherry Orchard

The timeline below shows where the character Leonid Andreyitch Gayef appears in The Cherry Orchard. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
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Love and Sentimentality Theme Icon
...her daughters Anya and Barbara, and Anya’s governess Charlotte enter the room in a bustle. Gayef (Ranevsky’s brother), Lopakhin, Dunyasha, and a neighbor named Pishtchik are with them. The teenaged Anya... (full context)
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...says; he is so happy he feels he could die in peace now. Ranevsky, Lopakhin, Gayef, and Pishtchik reenter as well. Anya goes off to bed, kissing her mother and uncle... (full context)
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...the olden days the cherries used to be harvested, dried, and sold in the cities. Gayef tells Firs to “shut up.” Ranevsky asks Firs why no one does this with the... (full context)
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Gayef dismisses this as “gibberish.” Barbara enters with a telegram for Ranevsky. Ranevsky promptly rips it... (full context)
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Gayef calls Lopakhin a snob, and then apologizes, as he realizes Barbara is rumored to be... (full context)
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...window and opens it, allowing in the sweet orchard air and the sound of starlings. Gayef and Ranevsky look out the window, remembering their childhood fondly. Ranevsky awoke with happiness every... (full context)
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...needs to borrow money in the morning. They all head off to bed except for Gayef, Barbara, and Yasha. Barbara reminds Yasha that his mother has come up from the village,... (full context)
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Barbara and her uncle discuss Ranevsky. Barbara laments that her mother is terrible with money. Gayef wishes there was a way for their family to miraculously come into enough to support... (full context)
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Anya says she still can’t sleep. Gayef kisses Anya’s hands, crying, and apologizes for insulting her mother. Anya forgives Gayef; everyone loves... (full context)
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Before he goes to bed, there is one last thing Gayef wants to discuss with the girls: he wants to try to secure a loan from... (full context)
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...her great relief and embraces her uncle. Firs enters the room—he seems to think that Gayef is still a young boy, and urges him to get off to bed. Gayef kisses... (full context)
Act 2
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...that they won’t be seen together. She goes, and just a few moments later, Ranevsky, Gayef, and Lopakhin arrive in the field, having been in town for a luxurious lunch. Lopakhin... (full context)
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...dirt for money, Ranevsky chides herself for having such poor spending habits—and chides her brother Gayef for talking on and on at lunch, wistfully longing for the olden days in front... (full context)
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Lopakhin reveals that a famed millionaire wants to buy the property. Gayef insists that they’ll be able to avoid the auction once the money from their aunt... (full context)
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Music plays in the distance—Gayef identifies its source as a local Jewish band. Ranevsky insists they invite the band to... (full context)
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...better about himself. Lopakhin agrees that he should, but then the two fall into silence. Gayef announces he’s been offered a job at the bank, but Ranevsky scoffs, implying that her... (full context)
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Firs enters with an overcoat for Gayef, whom he continues to treat like a very young boy. He mumbles about how happy... (full context)
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...coming down the road—it is a tramp, who asks the way to the railway station. Gayef gives him directions. Before heading off, the tramp asks for a small coin. Ranevsky rummages... (full context)
Act 3
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Ranevsky and Charlotte enter. Ranevsky asks where Gayef is—she wonders what could be taking so long. Trophimof suspects that Gayef has been unsuccessful... (full context)
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...she hates being in suspense. Barbara attempts to soothe her mother by assuring her that Gayef has purchased their land back—after all, their rich aunt in Yaroslav sent him funds and... (full context)
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...is back. Ranevsky runs into the room, asking what took him so long, and where Gayef is. Lopakhin looks joyful—he says that Gayef is just behind him. The auction ended hours... (full context)
Act 4
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Ranevsky and Gayef come in from the hall. Ranevsky is not crying, but she is pale and twitchy.... (full context)
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...off for the station, and bids Trophimof goodbye. He asks him if he’s heard that Gayef got a job at the bank; before Trophimof can answer, Anya appears in the doorway,... (full context)
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Ranevsky, Gayef, Anya, and Charlotte enter the room. It is nearly time for them to go to... (full context)
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Lopakhin and Pishtchik enter; Gayef predicts that Pishtchik has come to borrow money, and excuses himself from the room. Instead,... (full context)
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...to her new work appointment on time. Ranevsky calls for Anya to get ready; Anya, Gayef, and Charlotte enter along with Ephikhodof, who starts taking the luggage out. (full context)
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...goes out with Trophimof. Lopakhin begins locking up. Everyone heads out except for Ranevsky and Gayef. (full context)
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Ranevsky and Gayef embrace one another and sob quietly, lamenting the loss of their youth and happiness. Outside,... (full context)
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...He remarks that he has been forgotten. He sits down on the sofa, sure that Gayef will soon return to switch out his coat for a warmer one. He mumbles to... (full context)