The Seagull

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For works with similar titles, see Sea Gull.
The Seagull  (1896) 
by Anton Chekhov, translated by Marian Fell

The Seagull (Russian: "Чайка" ("Chayka")), written in 1895, is the first of what are generally considered to be Anton Chekhov's four major plays. It centres on the romantic and artistic conflicts between four theatrical characters: the ingenue Nina, the fading leading lady Irina Arkadina, her son the experimental playwright Konstantin Treplyov, and the famous middlebrow story writer Trigorin.

Like the rest of Chekhov's full-length plays, The Seagull relies upon an ensemble cast of diverse, fully developed characters. In opposition to much of the melodramatic theatre of the 19th century, lurid actions (such as Treplyov's suicide attempts) are kept offstage. Characters tend to speak in ways that skirt around issues rather than addressing them directly, a concept known as subtext.

Chekhov reads The Seagull

A Play In Four Acts


  • IRINA ARKADINA, an actress
  • PETER SORIN, her brother
  • NINA ZARIETCHNAYA, a young girl, the daughter of a rich landowner
  • ILIA SHAMRAEFF, the manager of SORIN'S estate
  • PAULINA, his wife
  • MASHA, their daughter
  • BORIS TRIGORIN, an author
  • EUGENE DORN, a doctor
  • SIMON MEDVIEDENKO, a schoolmaster
  • JACOB, a workman
  • A COOK

The scene is laid on SORIN'S estate. Two years elapse between the third and fourth acts.

Copyright.svg PD-icon.svg This work is a translation and has a separate copyright status to the applicable copyright protections of the original content.

This work was published before January 1, 1926, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1926. It may be copyrighted outside the U.S. (see Help:Public domain).