A quote from "The Lady with the Pet Dog" that comes early in the story serves to establish the characterization of Dmitri Dmitritch Gurov. He is a Moscow banker in his late thirties who is unhappy in his marriage. The narrator speaks of Dmitri Dmitritch Gurov's attitude toward his wife and women in general by saying,
He had begun being unfaithful to her long ago—had been unfaithful to her often, and, probably on that account, almost always spoke ill of women, and when they were talked about in his presence, used to call them "the lower race."
Dmitri Dmitritch Gurov is introduced as a callous womanizer with a misogynistic outlook. In the early days of his affair with Anna Sergeyevna, there is little indication that their dalliance will be unlike many others he has had.
Anna Sergeyevna, however, suffers from intense guilt over their affair; she tells him:
"Believe me, believe me, I beseech you . . ." she said. "I love a pure, honest life, and sin is loathsome to me. I don't know what I am doing. Simple people say: 'The Evil One has beguiled me.' And I may say of myself now that the Evil One has beguiled me."
Her words do not move Dmitri Dmitritch Gurov, and he finds her emotionality tiresome.
However, once Dmitri Dmitritch Gurov returns to Moscow after his time in Yalta with Anna Sergeyevna, he finds that he is unable to forget her. What he thought had been a purely sexual affair with a much younger woman has turned into love.
But more than a month passed, real winter had come, and everything was still clear in his memory as though he had parted with Anna Sergeyevna only the day before. And his...
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