The Significance of Silence

Mood and atmosphere are vital in [Chekhov’s] explorations of emotional dilemma which, at times, border on the abstract. For him, the purpose of art is the depiction of unconditional truth and the pursuit of it; he invariably exposes hypocrisy and deception, most emphatically self-deception. Above all, Chekhov, described by Tolstoy as impressionist, understands compromise, downplays plot and avoids conventional denouement. As a playwright he knew both the risks and the significance of silence on stage, of the pause that articulates truth.

Eileen Battersby

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