Lopakhin has come to remind Ranevskaya and Gayev that their estate, including the cherry orchard, is due to go to auction in August to pay off the family's debts.
He proposes to save the estate by allowing part of it to be developed into summer cottages; however, this would require the destruction of their famous cherry orchard, which is nationally known for its size.
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Trofimov stares after the departing Anya and mutters "My sunshine, my spring" in adoration.
Act II takes place outdoors in mid-summer on the family estate, near the cherry orchard.
The play concerns an aristocratic Russian landowner who returns to her family estate (which includes a large and well-known cherry orchard) just before it is auctioned to pay the mortgage.
Unresponsive to offers to save the estate, she allows its sale to the son of a former serf; the family leaves to the sound of the cherry orchard being cut down.
It dramatises the socio-economic forces in Russia at the turn of the 20th century, including the rise of the middle class after the abolition of serfdom in the mid-19th century and the decline of the power of the aristocracy.
The act opens with Yepikhodov and Yasha trying for the affection of Dunyasha, by singing and playing guitar, while Charlotta soliloquizes about her life as she cleans a rifle.
In Act I it was revealed that Yepikhodov proposed to Dunyasha around Easter; however, she has since become infatuated with the more "cultured" Yasha.
Since its first production, directors have contended with its dual nature.
It is often identified as one of the three or four outstanding plays by Chekhov, along with The Seagull, Three Sisters, and Uncle Vanya.