The Seagull

by

Anton Chekhov

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A famous writer and Arkadina’s lover. Trigorin, like Dorn, Sorin, and Treplyov, has been interpreted as a shade of Chekhov himself. Trigorin’s famed monologue in Act Two about the misery of living a writing life has been said to reflect many of Chekhov’s own anxieties and insecurities about his obsessive, perfectionist nature. Trigorin is cool, detached, and quietly preoccupied with his own ego and success. He hates the impulse to cannibalize the events of his own life for use in his fiction—but can’t resist doing so time and time again, even when it hurts those closest to him. Trigorin claims to despise the fame his writing has brought him and to hate the attention—both positive and negative—he receives from his critics, and yet he is unable to stop feeding the machine of his fame by producing stories as rapidly as he can. Trigorin is numb to other people’s suffering, unable to see those around him as anything other than characters in the story of his own life. He seems to be attached to Arkadina solely because of her fame and the way she shamelessly flatters Trigorin in order to get the emotional response she wants from him. When he begins to fall in love with Nina Zarechnaya, he tries to find a way to have his cake and eat it, too, by summoning Nina to Moscow while still seeing Arkadina. It’s eventually revealed that Trigorin shunned Nina after she bore him a child that died in infancy, and returned to Arkadina. Trigorin, upon seeing the gull Treplyov has shot and laid at Nina’s feet in Act Two, comments upon the brilliance of his own idea for a short story about a man who “destroys” a country girl out of lack of anything better to do with his time—in a case of life imitating art, Trigorin does that very thing to Nina, leaving her disowned from her family and penniless in Moscow, saddled with unattainable dreams of reaching her former lover’s level of fame and adoration.

Boris Alekseevich Trigorin Quotes in The Seagull

The The Seagull quotes below are all either spoken by Boris Alekseevich Trigorin or refer to Boris Alekseevich Trigorin. 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:
Art vs. Fame Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the W. W. Norton & Company edition of The Seagull published in 2010.
Act 1 Quotes

TREPLYOV: Are you excited?

NINA: Yes, very. Your Mama doesn’t count. I’m not afraid of her, but then there’s Trigorin… Acting with him in the audience frights and embarrasses me… A famous writer… Is he young?

TREPLYOV: Yes.

NINA: His stories are so wonderful!

TREPLYOV: (coldly) I wouldn’t know, I haven’t read them.

NINA: It isn’t easy to act in your play. There are no living characters in it.

Page Number: 82
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 2 Quotes

NINA: I thought that famous people were proud, inaccessible, that they despised the public and their own fame, their celebrity was a kind of revenge for blue blood and wealth being considered more respectable… But here they are crying, fishing, playing cards, laughing, and losing their tempers like anybody else…

Page Number: 109
Explanation and Analysis:

TRIGORIN: I know no peace, and I feel that I’m devouring my own life, that to give away honey to somebody out there in space I’m robbing my finest flowers of their pollen, tearing up all these flowers and trampling on their roots.

Page Number: 113
Explanation and Analysis:

NINA: For the joy of being a writer or an actress, I would put up with my family disowning me, poverty, disappointment; I would live in a garret and eat nothing but black bread, suffer dissatisfaction with myself and realize my own imperfection, but in return I would insist on fame… real, resounding fame…

Page Number: 116
Explanation and Analysis:

TRIGORIN: Just jotting down a note… A subject came to mind… (Putting away the notebook.) Subject for a short story: on the shores of a lake a young girl grows up, just like you; loves the lake, like a gull, is happy and free, like a gull. But by chance a man comes along, sees her, and, having nothing better to do, destroys her, just like this gull here.

Related Symbols: The Gull
Page Number: 110
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 3 Quotes

ARKADINA: That’s jealousy. People with no talent but plenty of pretentions have nothing better to do than criticize really talented people. It’s a comfort to them, I’m sure!

TREPLYOV: (Sarcastically.) Really talented people! (Angrily.) I’m more talented than the lot of you put together, if it comes to that! (Tears the bandage off his head.) You dreary hacks hog the front-row seats in the arts and assume that the only legitimate and genuine things are what you do yourselves, so you suppress and stile the rest! […]

ARKADINA: Mr. Avant-garde!

[…]

TREPLYOV: You skinflint!

ARKADINA: You scarecrow! (TREPLYOV sits down and weeps quietly.) You nobody!

Page Number: 128
Explanation and Analysis:

ARKADINA: You want to do something reckless, but I won’t have it, I won’t let you… (Laughs.) You’re mine… You’re mine… […] You’re all mine. You’re so talented, clever, our greatest living writer, you’re Russia’s only hope… You’ve got so much sincerity, clarity, originality, wholesome humor... With a single stroke you can pinpoint the most vital feature in a person or a landscape, your characters are so alive. Oh, no one can read you without going into ecstasy! […] Am I lying? […] Do I look like a liar? There, you see, I’m the only one who knows how to appreciate you; I’m the only one who tells you the truth, my darling, marvelous man…

Related Characters: Irina Nikolaevna Arkadina (speaker), Boris Alekseevich Trigorin
Page Number: 132
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 4 Quotes

SHAMRAEV: (To Trigorin.) Hey, Boris Alekseevich, that thing of yours is still here.

TRIGORIN: What thing?

SHAMRAEV: A while back Konstantin Gavrilovich shot a gull, and you asked me to have it stuffed.

TRIGORIN: Don’t remember. (Thinking about it.) Don’t remember!

Related Symbols: The Gull
Page Number: 153-154
Explanation and Analysis:

NINA: You can’t imagine what that’s like, when you realize your acting is terrible. I’m a gull. No, that’s wrong… Remember when you shot down a gull? By chance a man comes along, sees, and with nothing better to do destroys… Subject for a short story. That’s wrong… (Rubs her forehead.) What was I saying?... I was talking about the stage. I’m not like that now… Now I’m a real actress… […] Now I know, understand, Kostya, that in our work—it doesn’t matter whether we act or we write—the main thing isn’t fame, glamour, the things I dreamed about, it’s knowing how to endure.

Related Symbols: The Gull
Page Number: 159-160
Explanation and Analysis:
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Boris Alekseevich Trigorin Character Timeline in The Seagull

The timeline below shows where the character Boris Alekseevich Trigorin appears in The Seagull. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
Art vs. Fame Theme Icon
Unrequited Love Theme Icon
Ego and the Self Theme Icon
...to put on the play for fear that her own lover, the famous writer Boris Trigorin, might “take a shine” to Nina Zarechnaya. Arkadina doesn’t want to see success on the... (full context)
Art vs. Fame Theme Icon
Ego and the Self Theme Icon
Mediocrity and Lost Potential Theme Icon
Sorin interjects to ask Treplyov what he knows about Arkadina’s beau, the novelist Trigorin. Treplyov describes the man as “clever enough” and taciturn—in his late thirties, he is younger... (full context)
Art vs. Fame Theme Icon
Unrequited Love Theme Icon
Ego and the Self Theme Icon
...if she’s excited to perform—she says she’s nervous to act in front of the famous Trigorin, whose “wonderful” stories she loves. Treplyov dismissively says he’s never read any of Trigorin’s work.... (full context)
Art vs. Fame Theme Icon
Ego and the Self Theme Icon
Arkadina, Sorin, Trigorin, Shamraev, Medevenko, and Masha all arrive at the lake for the performance. Shamraev and Arkadina... (full context)
Art vs. Fame Theme Icon
Unrequited Love Theme Icon
Ego and the Self Theme Icon
Mediocrity and Lost Potential Theme Icon
Trigorin speaks up to defend Treplyov, stating that “everyone writes the way […] he can.” As... (full context)
Art vs. Fame Theme Icon
Unrequited Love Theme Icon
Ego and the Self Theme Icon
Mediocrity and Lost Potential Theme Icon
...though acting is her “fondest dream,” it won’t ever come true. Arkadina introduces Nina to Trigorin—Nina shyly tells him that she’s read all of his work, and then asks whether he... (full context)
Act 2
Unrequited Love Theme Icon
Ego and the Self Theme Icon
Mediocrity and Lost Potential Theme Icon
...against “loving them” and “flattering” them. Arkadina stops reading, and insists that her situation with Trigorin is different from what the passage describes—she was “head over heels” in love with him... (full context)
Ego and the Self Theme Icon
...house. Arkadina vows to never set foot on her brother’s estate again and heads up, too—Trigorin, coming up from the lake, follows her across the lawn. (full context)
Art vs. Fame Theme Icon
Unrequited Love Theme Icon
Ego and the Self Theme Icon
Mediocrity and Lost Potential Theme Icon
...is distressed over the idea that she sees him as “a mediocrity.” As Treplyov sees Trigorin approaching with a notebook in hand, he tells Nina that he knows she thinks Trigorin... (full context)
Art vs. Fame Theme Icon
Unrequited Love Theme Icon
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Mediocrity and Lost Potential Theme Icon
Trigorin approaches, absentmindedly making notes in his notebook as he mutters aloud to himself—it becomes clear... (full context)
Art vs. Fame Theme Icon
Ego and the Self Theme Icon
Mediocrity and Lost Potential Theme Icon
Trigorin says that no matter how much praise he receives, it’s never enough—but Nina can’t stop... (full context)
Art vs. Fame Theme Icon
Ego and the Self Theme Icon
Mediocrity and Lost Potential Theme Icon
Nina asks if the moments in which Trigorin experiences inspiration—or even the moments in which he’s just writing—are happy ones. Trigorin admits that... (full context)
Art vs. Fame Theme Icon
Nina tells Trigorin that he’s working himself too hard—and that even if he’s disappointed in himself, there are... (full context)
Unrequited Love Theme Icon
Ego and the Self Theme Icon
Mediocrity and Lost Potential Theme Icon
Arkadina’s voice rings out across the lawn, calling Trigorin in. Trigorin says he wishes he could stay in the country a little while longer.... (full context)
Art vs. Fame Theme Icon
Unrequited Love Theme Icon
Arkadina calls for Trigorin again—but shouts out to him that they’re going to stay after all. Trigorin heads into... (full context)
Act 3
Unrequited Love Theme Icon
Ego and the Self Theme Icon
Mediocrity and Lost Potential Theme Icon
...walls: the summer is coming to an end and his guests are preparing to depart. Trigorin eats lunch while a very drunk Masha stands nearby and talks to him. She tells... (full context)
Art vs. Fame Theme Icon
Unrequited Love Theme Icon
Ego and the Self Theme Icon
Mediocrity and Lost Potential Theme Icon
Masha replies that Treplyov is surely jealous of Trigorin—a predicament she can understand. She tells Trigorin that she’s marrying Medvedenko because she feels sorry... (full context)
Art vs. Fame Theme Icon
Unrequited Love Theme Icon
Ego and the Self Theme Icon
Nina asks Trigorin if he thinks she’ll become an actress or not—he replies that no one can “give... (full context)
Art vs. Fame Theme Icon
Unrequited Love Theme Icon
Ego and the Self Theme Icon
Mediocrity and Lost Potential Theme Icon
...soon after her son “took a shot at himself”—but knows that the sooner she gets Trigorin away from Treplyov, the less jealous her son will feel. Sorin suggests that “vanity” and... (full context)
Art vs. Fame Theme Icon
Unrequited Love Theme Icon
...he says, no one else anymore, and wishes his mother would stop messing about with Trigorin. Arkadina says she knows she can’t expect Treplyov to like Trigorin—but asks him to “respect... (full context)
Art vs. Fame Theme Icon
Unrequited Love Theme Icon
Ego and the Self Theme Icon
Mediocrity and Lost Potential Theme Icon
Treplyov begs Arkadina to see how Trigorin has destroyed their own relationship—whilst “cultivating” Nina and basking in her admiration. Arkadina asks Treplyov... (full context)
Unrequited Love Theme Icon
Ego and the Self Theme Icon
Mediocrity and Lost Potential Theme Icon
...drive to write, his beloved Nina, and indeed his “hope.” Arkadina reassures Treplyov that once Trigorin leaves, Nina will love Treplyov once again. Trigorin approaches the dining room and Treplyov hurries... (full context)
Art vs. Fame Theme Icon
Unrequited Love Theme Icon
Ego and the Self Theme Icon
Trigorin enters the room holding the book whose title Nina inscribed into the medallion—he reads aloud... (full context)
Art vs. Fame Theme Icon
Unrequited Love Theme Icon
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Mediocrity and Lost Potential Theme Icon
Arkadina, now hysterical, laments her “old and ugly” face and kneels at Trigorin’s feet, begging him to see that he is “the last chapter in [her] life story.”... (full context)
Art vs. Fame Theme Icon
Ego and the Self Theme Icon
...that he is going to walk to the station so he can see Arkadina and Trigorin off. As Arkadina passes out tips to the cook, the housemaid, and Yakov, she asks... (full context)
Art vs. Fame Theme Icon
Unrequited Love Theme Icon
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A few moments later, Trigorin re-enters, claiming he’s forgotten his walking stick. As he crosses through the dining room, he... (full context)
Act 4
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Mediocrity and Lost Potential Theme Icon
...where Arkadina has gone, and Dorn answers that she’s gone to the station to meet Trigorin. Sorin says that for Arkadina to come back to the estate, he must be “seriously... (full context)
Art vs. Fame Theme Icon
Unrequited Love Theme Icon
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...life.” Treplyov reluctantly explains that after she ran away from home and went off with Trigorin, she bore him a child—but the baby died, and Trigorin fell out of love with... (full context)
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Ego and the Self Theme Icon
Arkadina, Trigorin, and Shamraev all enter the drawing room, laughing and talking. Shamraev compliments Arkadina on her... (full context)
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...the bad weather. He heads out, insisting he’s leaving for real this time. Arkadina asks Trigorin to come over and play the lotto. Treplyov looks through the magazine Trigorin has brought—both... (full context)
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Treplyov comes back into the room and goes to his desk. Shamraev tells Trigorin that a “thing” of his is still at the house. Trigorin asks what “thing” he... (full context)
Art vs. Fame Theme Icon
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...to herself as a “gull,” then an actress. She begins speaking about her affair with Trigorin, though she doesn’t mention him by name. She confesses that he “laugh[ed] at [her] dreams,”... (full context)
Art vs. Fame Theme Icon
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...“a great actress.” She is unable, though, to walk out the door—she keeps wondering about Trigorin, and whether he came here with Arkadina. She becomes lost in reminiscences of Trigorin, and... (full context)
Unrequited Love Theme Icon
Ego and the Self Theme Icon
...goes over to a cupboard and pulls out the stuffed gull. He shows it to Trigorin, asking if Trigorin remembers asking him to stuff it—Trigorin stares at the gull, but still... (full context)
Art vs. Fame Theme Icon
Unrequited Love Theme Icon
Ego and the Self Theme Icon
Mediocrity and Lost Potential Theme Icon
...kid. Arkadina, relieved, sits down again. Dorn comes back into the room and picks up Trigorin’s magazine. He pulls Trigorin aside, saying that he wants to ask him about an article... (full context)