While Vanya is the protagonist of this play (and a rather ineffectual one, at that), Doctor Astrov plays a major supporting role. Like most of Chekhov’s physicians, Astrov has lost his idealism and much of his capacity for close human relationships. Unlike some of them, though, Astrov has not become narrow-minded, greedy, or pompous. He does his job conscientiously and still retains active curiosity about the world. As far as the emotional life is concerned, he seems to rely on alcohol. Yelena re-awakens in him the desire for intimacy, but this desire is doomed to fail.