What are three ironies that are found in "The Lady with the Pet Dog" by Anton Chekhov?

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.

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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,...

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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.

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If you want to find examples of multiple ironies in this excellent story, you need look no further than the relationship between the two central characters, Gurov and Anna, his mistress. Gurov starts off the story as an idle dilletante who is endowed with the ability to casually seduce women. He sees Anna as just another diversion or dalliance, wanting to have his fun then return to his life back in Moscow. However, little does he know that ironically this relationship will develop into something much more serious, not just a dalliance at all.

Likewise, this relationship will actually be the source of Gurov's transformation. Note how at the start of the story he patronisingly dismisses women as "the lower race." Yet as we can see through his developing love and friendship for Anna that he is transformed and accepts her as an equal.

Lastly, it is ironic that Anna and Gurov only find each other when they are both already married and Gurov himself is aging and not getting any younger. Note what Gurov thinks about his relationship:

He and Anna Sergeyevna loved one another as people who are very close and intimate, as husband and wife, as dear friends love one another. It seemed to them that fate had intended them for one another, and they could not understand why she should have a husband, and he a wife. There were like two migrating birds, the male and the female, who had been caught and put into separate cages.

How ironic that Anna Sergeyevna, who was viewed just as one of many "diversions" for Gurov, should develop into so much more, should be responsible for Gurov's moral transformation and should actually be the "wife" of Gurov that he has been waiting for all his life!

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