Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Anton Chekhov's The Seagull. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
The Seagull: Introduction
The Seagull: Plot Summary
The Seagull: Detailed Summary & Analysis
The Seagull: Themes
The Seagull: Quotes
The Seagull: Characters
The Seagull: Symbols
The Seagull: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of Anton Chekhov
Historical Context of The Seagull
Other Books Related to The Seagull
- Full Title: The Seagull
- When Written: 1895
- Where Written: Yalta
- When Published: First performed October 17th, 1896; first published 1897
- Literary Period: Psychological realism
- Genre: Drama
- Setting: A lakeside estate in the Russian countryside
- Climax: After years of pining for Nina Zarechnaya and failing to win her love or achieve success as a writer, Konstantin Treplyov shoots himself in the head offstage in the play’s final moments.
- Antagonist: Boris Trigorin, Irina Arkadina, fame, ego
Extra Credit for The Seagull
The Writing Life. The Seagull contains several monologues about the burden of life as a writer, and shows the famous Boris Trigorin and the obscure Konstantin Treplyov struggling equally with their lives writers in spite of the gulf between their very different careers. Many scholars and critics have regarded these passages as some of Chekhov’s most confessional work—though he’s speaking through characters, his musings on the obsessive and often destructive nature of cannibalizing one’s life in the name of art were called “the only good thing[s] in the play” by Leo Tolstoy himself.
Highly Censored. The Seagull underwent heavy edits during Russia’s pre-revolutionary years, with lines that referenced “materialist views” and overt expressions of sexuality censored and excised from the play. The original version of The Seagull, along with many of Chekhov’s other writings, were kept under lock and key in the Russian archives until after the fall of the Iron Curtain.