Homework Help

What is the conflict of the story "The Lady with a Dog" by Anton Chekhov?

user profile pic

jagdish | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 8, 2007 at 2:58 AM via web

dislike 5 like

What is the conflict of the story "The Lady with a Dog" by Anton Chekhov?

2 Answers | Add Yours

user profile pic

renelane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted November 8, 2007 at 3:31 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 0 like

The conflict of defining what is moral/morality is at the center of the story. Should the lovers stay with their spouses even if they do not love them, and are in love with one another?

The viewpoint seems to be that it would be wrong to live a lie and that they should leave their spouses and be together because they truly love each other.

user profile pic

Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted November 8, 2007 at 10:16 AM (Answer #2)

dislike 0 like

The central conflict is the pull between loyalty and infatuation, security and the unknown, and the failure to truly know if the latter is something real or illusory.   Both the man and woman are trapped in shallow lives, both seek a more satisfying relationship, a spark that makes life worth living.  For example, when the pair are at dinner,

"Then both continued eating in silence, like strangers, but after dinner they walked side by side; and there sprang up between them the light jesting conversation of people who are free and satisfied, to whom it does not matter where they go or what they talk about."

However, despite these positive indications of a chance for more "alive" living, neither one is ready to give up what they know or feel comfortable with in their lives.  The story concludes with a sour grapes sort of line:  ""There's something pathetic about her, anyway," he thought, and fell asleep." 



Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes