There are many ironies to be found in Anton Chekhov's "The Lady with the Pet Dog." A lot of them have to do with Dmitry Dmitritch Gurov's changing attitude toward men and women after his affair with Anna Sergeyevna. For instance, at the start of the story, it is explained that Gurov does not respect women. He
almost always spoke ill of women, and when they were talked about in his presence, used to call them "the lower race."
A minor instance of irony here is the fact that despite their perceived inferiority, Gurov feels far more comfortable with women. One would expect that a man like Gurov, who seemingly despises women beyond their role in his frequent affairs, would prefer the company of men. However, later in the story when he returns home and seeks to discuss his affair with a male acquaintance, his view changes. When the man does not acknowledge Gurov's discussion of Anna, he becomes enraged:
These words, so ordinary, for some reason moved Gurov to indignation, and struck him as degrading and unclean. What savage manners, what people! What senseless nights, what uninteresting, uneventful days! The rage for cardplaying, the gluttony, the drunkenness, the continual talk always about the same thing . . . there is no escaping it or getting away from it just as though one were in a madhouse or a prison.
It is ironic, then, that it is a member of "the lower race" who changes Gurov's view of male superiority.
Another example of irony comes from Gurov and Anna's different takes on destiny and chance. When she leaves Gurov to return to her husband, she sees it as "destiny" that she must go back home. The inference here is that Anna believes she deserves to return to her unhappy life, having committed the sin of adultery. Gurov, on the other hand, travels to Anna's home after becoming infatuated with her. Standing outside her house, he decides that it would be best "to trust to chance" if he is going to get her back. The irony is that in making such an effort to travel to her hometown, inquire about where she lives, then find her house, he has not left it to chance at all. If he truly wanted to leave it to chance, he would not have put himself in a position where he is most likely to run into her.
One final example can be found in Gurov's view of his frequent affairs. As a womanizer, he goes from affair to affair, never giving much thought to the women he sleeps with once they part ways. It is ironic, then, that after his dalliance with Anna in Yalta, he becomes angered at the thought of her treating him the same way:
He walked up and down, and loathed the grey fence more and more, and by now he thought irritably that Anna Sergeyevna had forgotten him, and was perhaps already amusing herself with some one else, and that that was very natural in a young woman who had nothing to look at from morning till night but that confounded fence.