The Cherry Orchard

by

Anton Chekhov

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Cherry Orchard can help.

Madame Lyubof Andreyevna Ranevsky Character Analysis

In many ways the play’s main protagonist, Madame Ranevsky, is the head of her family’s estate—although she has, over the last five years, led them and the property into financial ruin. A spendthrift with a kind heart, Madame Ranevsky cannot help treating everyone around her to luxuries beyond her means—her altruism (or perhaps overcompensation) has gotten her into trouble, though, as she has wasted away her funds tending to a cruel lover in Paris, leaving her with very few options for saving her family’s ancestral home and prized cherry orchard. Rather than chop down the trees and rent out the land in parcels—the suggestion of her successful, middle-class neighbor Lopakhin—Ranevsky and her brother Gayef attempt to borrow money from wealthy relatives, but cannot delay the inevitable. As it becomes clear that she will lose her home, Ranevsky dives deep into a fantasy world; she throws an extravagant party for her family, neighbors, and servants, and hopes wildly that her daughters will marry well despite knowing deep down that she has failed, through her own frivolity, to make her daughters into appealing prospective wives. Haunted by the death of her first husband and her youngest child, a boy named Grisha, Madame Ranevsky longs to hide away in fancy and memory and shirk the duties at hand. Her denial and self-absorption ultimately lead to the loss of her home and estate; at the end of the play, Ranevsky returns to Paris, uncertain of what awaits her there but with no options left in rapidly changing Russia, where she has been fallen behind the times due to her own failure to adapt.

Madame Lyubof Andreyevna Ranevsky Quotes in The Cherry Orchard

The The Cherry Orchard quotes below are all either spoken by Madame Lyubof Andreyevna Ranevsky or refer to Madame Lyubof Andreyevna Ranevsky. 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 (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 3 Quotes

MADAME RANEVSKY: Oh, if only I knew whether the property’s sold or not! It seems such an impossible disaster, that I don’t know what to think… I’m bewildered… I shall burst out screaming, I shall do something idiotic. Save me, Peter; say something to me, say something…

TROPHIMOF: Whether the property is sold to-day or whether it’s not sold, surely it’s all one? […] You mustn’t deceive yourself any longer; for once you must look the truth straight in the face.

MADAME RANEVSKY: […] You settle every important question so boldly; but tell me, Peter, isn’t that because you’re young, because you have never solved any question of your own as yet by suffering? […] show me just a finger’s breadth of consideration, take pity on me. Don’t you see? I was born here, my father and mother lived here, and my grandfather; I love this house; without the cherry orchard my life has no meaning for me, and if it must be sold, then for heaven’s sake tell me too! (Embracing TROPHIMOF and kissing him on the forehead.) My little boy was drowned here. (Crying.) Be gentle with me, dear, kind Peter.

Related Characters: Madame Lyubof Andreyevna Ranevsky (speaker), Peter Trophimof (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Cherry Orchard
Page Number: 32
Explanation and Analysis:

MADAME RANEVSKY: Who bought it?

LOPAKHIN: […] I bid nine thousand more than the mortgage, and got it; and now the cherry orchard is mine! Mine! (Laughing.) Heaven’s alive! Just think of it! The cherry orchard is mine! Tell me that I’m drunk; tell me that I’m off my head; tell me that it’s all a dream! […] If only my father and my grandfather could rise from their graves and see the whole affair, how their Yermolai, their flogged and ignorant Yermolai, who used to run around barefooted in the winter, how this same Yermolai had bought a property that hasn’t its equal for beauty anywhere in the whole world! I have bought the property where my father and grandfather were slaves, where they weren’t even allowed into the kitchen. I’m asleep, it’s only a vision, it isn’t real… ‘Tis the fruit of imagination, wrapped in the mists of ignorance. […] Come everyone and see Yermolai Lopakhin lay his axe to the cherry orchard, come and see the trees fall down! We’ll fill the place with villas; our grandsons and great-grandsons shall see a new life here […] Here comes the new squire, the owner of the cherry orchard!

Related Characters: Madame Lyubof Andreyevna Ranevsky (speaker), Yermolai Alexeyitch Lopakhin (speaker), Barbara
Related Symbols: The Cherry Orchard
Page Number: 38
Explanation and Analysis:

ANYA: Mamma! Are you crying, mamma? My dear, good, sweet mamma! Darling, I love you! I bless you! The cherry orchard is sold; it’s gone; it’s quite true, it’s quite true. But don’t cry, mamma, you’ve still got life before you, you’ve still got your pure and lovely soul. Come with me, darling; come away from here. We’ll plant a new garden, still lovelier than this. You will see it and understand, and happiness, deep, tranquil happiness will sink down on your soul, like the sun at eventide, and you’ll smile, mamma. Come, darling, come with me!

Related Characters: Anya (speaker), Madame Lyubof Andreyevna Ranevsky, Peter Trophimof
Related Symbols: The Cherry Orchard
Page Number: 39
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

Madame Lyubof Andreyevna Ranevsky Character Timeline in The Cherry Orchard

The timeline below shows where the character Madame Lyubof Andreyevna Ranevsky appears in The Cherry Orchard. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
Social Change Theme Icon
Selfishness Theme Icon
...is over two hours late. Lopakhin came to meet the owner of the estate, Madame Ranevsky, at the station, and chides Dunyasha for letting him fall asleep in his chair. (full context)
Social Change Theme Icon
Loss, Grief, and Class Theme Icon
Love and Sentimentality Theme Icon
...years old. His father had struck him in the face and made him bleed; Madame Ranevsky came out to the courtyard, brought the young Lopakhin inside, and cleaned his wounds. She... (full context)
Social Change Theme Icon
Love and Sentimentality Theme Icon
...unfortunate man who has earned for himself the nickname of “Twenty-two misfortunes.” Lopakhin hears Madame Ranevsky approaching. Dunyasha says she’s so excited she’s going to faint, and the two of them... (full context)
Social Change Theme Icon
Love and Sentimentality Theme Icon
Ranevsky, her daughters Anya and Barbara, and Anya’s governess Charlotte enter the room in a bustle.... (full context)
Loss, Grief, and Class Theme Icon
Selfishness Theme Icon
Barbara comes back into the room, and sends Dunyasha to go prepare coffee for Madame Ranevsky. Dunyasha leaves, and Barbara fawns over Anya, grateful that her “pretty one” is back. Anya... (full context)
Selfishness Theme Icon
...mother was living. Anya tells Barbara that their mother doesn’t have a penny left—and yet Ranevsky is still living beyond her means, dining in expensive restaurants, tipping waiters lavishly, and doting... (full context)
Social Change Theme Icon
Loss, Grief, and Class Theme Icon
Love and Sentimentality Theme Icon
Selfishness Theme Icon
...follows her, dreamily reflecting on the horrors their family has endured recently. Six years ago, Ranevsky’s husband died; just a month later, her youngest son, Grisha, drowned in the river at... (full context)
Social Change Theme Icon
Love and Sentimentality Theme Icon
...again, he 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... (full context)
Social Change Theme Icon
Love and Sentimentality Theme Icon
...whole thing has been put up for auction at the end of August. He encourages Ranevsky not to fret—he has a plan for how she can save her home. The property... (full context)
Social Change Theme Icon
Loss, Grief, and Class Theme Icon
Love and Sentimentality Theme Icon
Selfishness Theme Icon
...that the only “remarkable” thing about the orchard is how infrequently it blooms. He advises Ranevsky to commit to his plan—there is no other way to save the property. Firs begins... (full context)
Social Change Theme Icon
Love and Sentimentality Theme Icon
Selfishness Theme Icon
Gayef dismisses this as “gibberish.” Barbara enters with a telegram for Ranevsky. Ranevsky promptly rips it up, as it is from Paris, and she is “done” with... (full context)
Social Change Theme Icon
Loss, Grief, and Class Theme Icon
...to be betrothed to him. Pishtchik says that Lopakhin is a “worthy individual.” He asks Ranevsky to borrow money from her—his own interest is due tomorrow. Barbara and Ranevsky insist they... (full context)
Social Change Theme Icon
Loss, Grief, and Class Theme Icon
Love and Sentimentality Theme Icon
Ranevsky has finished her coffee and insists it’s time for bed. Barbara remarks that the sun... (full context)
Loss, Grief, and Class Theme Icon
Love and Sentimentality Theme Icon
Trophimof, a shabby and bespectacled student, enters the room. He greets Ranevsky—he says once he heard that she’d returned, he could not wait until the morning. Ranevsky... (full context)
Selfishness Theme Icon
Ranevsky prepares to head off to bed; Pishtchik asks to spend the night at the estate,... (full context)
Selfishness Theme Icon
Barbara and her uncle discuss Ranevsky. Barbara laments that her mother is terrible with money. Gayef wishes there was a way... (full context)
Social Change Theme Icon
Selfishness Theme Icon
...to go on Tuesday to talk with somebody. He urges Anya to try and get Ranevsky to ask Lopakhin for a loan in the meantime, and insists Anya herself go to... (full context)
Act 2
Loss, Grief, and Class Theme Icon
Love and Sentimentality Theme Icon
Selfishness Theme Icon
...so 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.... (full context)
Selfishness Theme Icon
As Yasha scrounges in the dirt for money, Ranevsky chides herself for having such poor spending habits—and chides her brother Gayef for talking on... (full context)
Social Change Theme Icon
Love and Sentimentality Theme Icon
Selfishness Theme Icon
...why they refuse to accept the simple fact that their land will soon be sold. Ranevsky asks Lopakhin to tell them what to do. Frustrated, he explains that he’s already told... (full context)
Loss, Grief, and Class Theme Icon
Love and Sentimentality Theme Icon
Selfishness Theme Icon
Ranevsky begs Lopakhin to stay and help her think of something else. She admits she has... (full context)
Social Change Theme Icon
Selfishness Theme Icon
Music plays in the distance—Gayef identifies its source as a local Jewish band. Ranevsky insists they invite the band to the house one night to play for them as... (full context)
Social Change Theme Icon
Selfishness Theme Icon
Ranevsky suggests Lopakhin marry Barbara; she would help him feel better about himself. Lopakhin agrees that... (full context)
Social Change Theme Icon
Loss, Grief, and Class Theme Icon
Love and Sentimentality Theme Icon
...switches the topic to his own plans to secure a loan through an acquaintance. Both Ranevsky and Lopakhin predict this will never come to pass. (full context)
Social Change Theme Icon
Selfishness Theme Icon
Trophimof, Anya, and Barbara approach the field. Ranevsky embraces her daughters while Lopakhin teases Trophimof for being so old and still a student.... (full context)
Social Change Theme Icon
Selfishness Theme Icon
Ranevsky asks Trophimof to continue the lecture he was giving them all yesterday about “the proud... (full context)
Social Change Theme Icon
...in the mines a long way off; Gayef thinks it must have been a bird. Ranevsky shivers and says there was something uncanny about the noise. Firs remarks that he heard... (full context)
Selfishness Theme Icon
Ranevsky urges everyone to head back to the house. She sees that Anya has tears in... (full context)
Social Change Theme Icon
Love and Sentimentality Theme Icon
Selfishness Theme Icon
...for giving a beggar a gold coin when their family can hardly afford to eat. Ranevsky admits that she has been “stupid,” and promises to hand over her purse to Barbara... (full context)
Act 3
Loss, Grief, and Class Theme Icon
Selfishness Theme Icon
Ranevsky and Charlotte enter. Ranevsky asks where Gayef is—she wonders what could be taking so long.... (full context)
Loss, Grief, and Class Theme Icon
Selfishness Theme Icon
Ranevsky laments that there is still no sign of her brother. She has not enjoyed the... (full context)
Social Change Theme Icon
Love and Sentimentality Theme Icon
Selfishness Theme Icon
Trophimof starts teasing Barbara again, calling her Madame Lopakhin. Barbara teases Trophimof right back. Madame Ranevsky urges Barbara not to get so upset and just go ahead and marry Lopakhin already.... (full context)
Loss, Grief, and Class Theme Icon
Love and Sentimentality Theme Icon
...just broken a billiard cue in the next room. Barbara, incensed, storms off to investigate. Ranevsky urges Trophimof to go easy on Barbara—the girl is unhappy enough already. Trophimof laments that... (full context)
Social Change Theme Icon
Loss, Grief, and Class Theme Icon
Love and Sentimentality Theme Icon
Selfishness Theme Icon
Ranevsky worries that the property has sold—she hates not knowing. She begs Trophimof to say something... (full context)
Loss, Grief, and Class Theme Icon
Love and Sentimentality Theme Icon
Ranevsky reaches into her purse for a handkerchief and pulls out with it a telegram, which... (full context)
Loss, Grief, and Class Theme Icon
Love and Sentimentality Theme Icon
Selfishness Theme Icon
Trophimof urges Ranevsky to see that her lover has robbed her; he is a rascal who will never... (full context)
Selfishness Theme Icon
...starts up, and everyone goes off to dance. Trophimof has not left the party, and Ranevsky apologizes to him, inviting him to dance with her. He accepts. (full context)
Social Change Theme Icon
Loss, Grief, and Class Theme Icon
Selfishness Theme Icon
Ranevsky, needing a rest, returns to the sitting-room. Anya comes into the room—she reports that she... (full context)
Social Change Theme Icon
Loss, Grief, and Class Theme Icon
Love and Sentimentality Theme Icon
Selfishness Theme Icon
Pishtchik enters and sweeps Madame Ranevsky away for a waltz. Dunyasha comes into the room and powders her face—she does not... (full context)
Social Change Theme Icon
Loss, Grief, and Class Theme Icon
Excitement buzzes through the next room as everyone realizes that Lopakhin is back. Ranevsky runs into the room, asking what took him so long, and where Gayef is. Lopakhin... (full context)
Social Change Theme Icon
Loss, Grief, and Class Theme Icon
Love and Sentimentality Theme Icon
Selfishness Theme Icon
Ranevsky calls after him, asking about the cherry orchard and whether it was sold; Lopakhin answers... (full context)
Loss, Grief, and Class Theme Icon
Love and Sentimentality Theme Icon
Selfishness Theme Icon
Ranevsky sinks into a chair and weeps. Lopakhin goes to her and asks why she wouldn’t... (full context)
Social Change Theme Icon
Loss, Grief, and Class Theme Icon
Love and Sentimentality Theme Icon
Anya and Trophimof enter the room; Anya goes to Ranevsky and kneels at her feet. She comforts her crying mother. Though the cherry orchard is... (full context)
Act 4
Social Change Theme Icon
Loss, Grief, and Class Theme Icon
Love and Sentimentality Theme Icon
Selfishness Theme Icon
Ranevsky and Gayef come in from the hall. Ranevsky is not crying, but she is pale... (full context)
Social Change Theme Icon
Loss, Grief, and Class Theme Icon
Love and Sentimentality Theme Icon
Selfishness Theme Icon
...the bank; before Trophimof can answer, Anya appears in the doorway, and relays that Madame Ranevsky has asked if they can wait till she’s gone to start chopping down the cherry... (full context)
Social Change Theme Icon
Loss, Grief, and Class Theme Icon
Ranevsky, Gayef, Anya, and Charlotte enter the room. It is nearly time for them to go... (full context)
Social Change Theme Icon
Love and Sentimentality Theme Icon
...hands and, aloud, promises that they will have long, peaceful autumn evenings together someday soon. Ranevsky assures Anya that she will come back from Paris so Anya’s dream can come true. (full context)
Social Change Theme Icon
...flush with cash, as some Englishmen found valuable white clay on his land. He hands Ranevsky some money, too, and marvels at his own miraculous fortunes. He bids Ranevsky goodbye tearfully,... (full context)
Social Change Theme Icon
Loss, Grief, and Class Theme Icon
Love and Sentimentality Theme Icon
Ranevsky says that although she’s ready to leave, she still has two things on her mind.... (full context)
Social Change Theme Icon
Love and Sentimentality Theme Icon
Selfishness Theme Icon
Ranevsky calls Barbara into the room and then exits. After a moment, Barbara enters—she is looking... (full context)
Loss, Grief, and Class Theme Icon
Love and Sentimentality Theme Icon
...he quickly hurries out of the room. Barbara sits on the floor and sobs. Madame Ranevsky comes back in. Seeing Barbara on the floor, she tells her it’s time to leave.... (full context)
Social Change Theme Icon
Loss, Grief, and Class Theme Icon
Love and Sentimentality Theme Icon
Ranevsky sunnily states that it’s time for them all to start out on their new journeys.... (full context)
Social Change Theme Icon
Loss, Grief, and Class Theme Icon
Love and Sentimentality Theme Icon
Ranevsky and Gayef embrace one another and sob quietly, lamenting the loss of their youth and... (full context)