This is the year in which the story takes place, a time of great political upheaval around the world. Czarist Russian forces fired into a defenseless group of demonstrators in St. Petersburg, beginning the Russian Revolution of 1905. In the US, Industrial Workers of the World was founded, creating the first major worker’s union, while Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity was introduced to the world.
For Tevye, traditions from the past maintain a foundation for his family and his community, but there is a conflict that is coming to the surface. Each of his three daughters is choosing to go against the strong cultural and religious beliefs of their parents and of the community. They want to marry those whom they love, rather than those whom Tevye and Golde have chosen for them. The themes of religious piety, economic survival, and the rise of feminism all come into play.