Eugene Onegin Read-Along ~ Chapters 5 & 6

{Summary of previous part + new questions below the cut.}

In chapter 4, Tatyana’s impulsive – and, for the era, improper – love letter was rejected by a polite but upfront Onegin.  While Lensky and Olga are living out the fairytale romance leading up to a wedding, Onegin refuses to take part in fulfilling the neighborhood’s gossip about him and Tatyana.  His attitude towards her, in his own words, is that of a friendly acquaintance, scarcely more than brotherly love.  He warns her to be more careful with her feelings, as other people will not treat her with understanding as he has.  Heartbroken, Tatyana must go on as if nothing happened, while still having to face the opinions of her family and inquisitive neighbors.

Chapters 5 & 6 Questions

– One of my favorite scenes is Tatyana’s dream.  How do you interpret it?  Any ideas as to why it is usually omitted from major adaptations (including Tchaikovsky’s opera and the 1999 film)?

– Chapter 6 finds us in the middle of sudden disputes and high drama.  What might be the characters’ motivations for such extreme actions?  Is it substance, or superficiality?  Is anybody right or wrong – and if so, who?

Ongoing Questions

– Reactions and/or predictions?

– Any quotes or passages that stand out?

8 thoughts on “Eugene Onegin Read-Along ~ Chapters 5 & 6

  1. I'm surprised that the dream sequence is mostly omitted. It has great insight into Tatyana's perception of others and some major foreshadowing. And, as I mentioned in my post, Russians were big on dream interpretation. So I think it would be a big mistake to ignore the scene.

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  2. Surprised to hear the dream sequence is left out, it is a grand literary reference to the work of the esteemed poet Vasily Zhukovsky whom Pushkin so revered, and the heroine of his poem Svetlana, which I have learned about in reading Chapters 5 and 6. She too was worried about a dream of snowy landscapes and bizarre creatures only to be reassured by her beloved who manifests in the dream. Tatayana is modelled in part on Svetlana.Before uncovering this literary reference I did wonder where this was leading, thinking we were heading for more dramatics, well we could say Ch 5 was the lull before the storm! The Ball, the excitement of the festivity and then the shocking behaviour of our hero and the departure of his friend and the consequence. Tragic! Even the Narrator had to lay down his pen and leave off from writing for a while.

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  3. I made it through 5&6, still plugging away.Here is my update post.I haven't seen any adaptations, maybe the dream sequence was left out originally to not give away the upcoming interaction between Lensky and Onegin. I also wonder if Tatyana didn't take a sleeping tonic to have that weird dream, maybe they didn't want to allude to such?

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