Russian literature seems to have a very bleak undertone to it, though I must admit that the only Russian authors that I have read are Dostoyevski and Chekhov, and the only other author that I know of (and do intend to read one day) is Tolstoy. I guess when you are swamped with the plethora of English writers, then writers from other nations really have to stand out to be noticed, but then I suspect that that is also the case in England.
I am not sure if Russian literature developed in the same way that English literature developed, but as I have mentioned previously Russia was pretty much thrust into the modern age where as the countries of central Europe gradually developed, and I suspect that this sudden rush had an effect upon the national consciousness. Russia never experienced a reformation and at the turn of the 20th century was probably the only country in Europe that operated under a feudal system of government. However, ideas had been filtering in for the last hundred years, and revolution was boiling under the surface.
However, the Seagull is not about revolution or the backwardness of Russia, but rather it is a play about unrequited love that is played out among a group of artists who are trying to define themselves through their art. We have a novelist, an actress, and a playwright, and each of them have their own ideas of who they are and their own ideas of how they desire to express themselves. The playwright is an interesting character in that his plays are simply non-traditional and also play out in the existential role. The problem with that is that nobody actually understands what is going on but him, which in a way leaves him feeling that he has failed as an artist.
Then there is the idea about unrequited love. In this play it is not simply one person pursing another but I believe up to four people who are all pursuing each other, and getting nothing in return. Unrequited love is a very painful experience to go through, and I ought to know because I have been through it too many times to count, and it is not simply me pursuing a woman who does not want to return my affections, but being blind to another woman that wants me to show affection to her. I guess the other problem is that I am what is known as a hopeless romantic. I want romance in a world where romance is dead and only the physical matters. Okay, people are still romantic today, but I have in the past got so caught up in a passionate desire for a romantic relationship that I have blinded myself to what is really going on.
Hollywood has a lot to answer for with regards to unrequited love though because, unlike this play, these love triangles all end up working themselves out. Take the Big Bang Theory for instance. For two seasons Leonard is chasing Penny but getting nothing in return, and all of the sudden it works out in the third season (but not for long, though by the sixth season they are back together again). In real life this really does not happen, or at least in my real life this does not happen. Instead, I have ended up moping around my house pining for a woman that I can simply never have, yet as I look back on it now I see how foolish I have been. In fact, a part of my life I almost felt that I was not complete unless I had a woman to pine over, and in fact the pining was more desirable than the relationship itself. In the end though, I have come to feel content with my singleness , but I still don't know how long that will really last (the singleness that is, not the contentment).