The Lady with the Pet Dog by Anton Chekhov

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Characters

The characters in Anton Chekhov's 1899 short story are Dmitri Dmitritch Gurov, his wife, his daughter, an official from the doctor's club in Moscow, Anna Sergeyevna Von Diderits, and Anna's husband.

Dmitri Dmitritch Gurov and Anna Sergeyevna Von Diderits are developed characters; the others do little to further the plot. Dmitri Dmitritch Gurov is a Moscow banker in his late thirties who has been a serial philanderer. He is unfaithful to a wife he considers "unintelligent, narrow, [and] inelegant." When he meets Anna Sergeyevna Von Diderits while on holiday in Yalta, he gradually falls in love with her.

Anna Sergeyevna Von Diderits is a young woman from an unnamed city who is married to an older man. She is unhappy in her marriage and considers her husband a "flunkey." She is plagued with shame because of the affair with Dmitri Dmitritch Gurov but also falls in love with him.

Characters

"The Lady with the Pet Dog" by Anton Chekov includes two main characters: Dmitri Gurov and Anna Sergeyevna.

On his vacation in Yalta, Dmitri Dmitritch Gurov, a banker who is dissatisfied and bored with his marriage, meets Anna. He has a history of being a womanizer, and it does not take long for him and Anna to begin an affair. Most of the story is from Gurov’s perspective, allowing the reader to see the transformation of his feelings toward Anna. At first, Gurov refers to Anna as “the lady with the little dog,” because he has lost faith in love and come to view women as inferior, only remaining interested in them for the purpose of sexual fulfillment. Later, Gurov realizes how different his affair with Anna is from the ones he has had before—the love between them is true and transcends what he has known before. The following quote illustrates this transformation:

Repeated experience, and bitter experience indeed, had long since taught him that every intimacy, which in the beginning lends life such pleasant diversity and presents itself as a nice and light adventure, inevitably, with decent people—especially Muscovites, who are slow starters—grows into a major task, extremely complicated, and the situation finally becomes burdensome. But at every new meeting with an interesting woman, this experience somehow slipped from his memory, and he wanted to live, and everything seemed quite simple and amusing.

After leaving Anna and returning home to Moscow, thoughts of her torment him, and Gurov attempts to devise a plan so that they can be together. The following quote reveals how he is unable to forget her:

Anna Sergeyevna was not a dream, she followed him everywhere like a shadow and watched him. Closing his eyes, he saw her as if alive, and she seemed younger, more beautiful, more tender than she was; and he also seemed better to himself than he had been then, in Yalta.

Anna Sergeyevna Von Diderits, “the lady with the little dog,” is in Yalta awaiting the arrival of her husband. She is depicted as a charming woman, presumably in her twenties, who was married at a young age (note the age difference: Gurov has two kids and is suspected to be around forty). She easily falls into her affair with Gurov, thinking it the most exciting thing to happen in years. She is consumed with how Gurov views her, because she is hungry for the true love she has not experienced before. Anna is plagued by worries that her feelings for Gurov are impulses of the devil. Nonetheless, by the end of the story, she is emboldened and travels to Moscow to find Gurov and work things out so that they can be together without the secrecy. The following quote displays how Anna and Gurov’s love was significant for both of them:

He and Anna Sergeyevna loved each other like very close, dear people, like husband and wife, like tender friends; it seemed to them that fate itself had destined them for each other, and they could not understand why he had a wife and she a husband; and it was as if they were two birds of passage, a male and a female, who had been caught and forced to live in...

(The entire section is 1,116 words.)