Anton Chekhov’s, The Lady with the Pet Dog, is a short story about an adulterous man, Dmitry Gurov, who falls in love with a miserable married woman, Anna Sergeyevna. The two find each other in their times of loneliness and quickly become involved in an affair. They soon have to say goodbye when Anna must return home to her sick husband. At first in the story Gurov refers to women as “the inferior race,” yet he confesses that he feels more comfortable with them than he does with men, but as the story progresses you see Dmitry’s opinion change.
In The Lady with the Pet Dog, you see how love affects a person deeply and has the power, not only to change their views on the world, but overcome their fears. In the story the protagonist, Dmitry Gurov, is a native of Moscow who has come to a resort in Yalta to get away from his life back home. It is obvious he is dissatisfied with his life as he describes it as boring and unhappy with his wife, who he illustrates as “a tall, erect woman with dark eyebrows, stately and dignified and, as she said of herself, intellectual. (506) He also considers her of limited intelligence, narrow-minded, dowdy and admits to being afraid of her and does not enjoy being at home. Anna Sergeyevna is also vacationing alone in Yalta, only with her dog; she expects that her husband will be joining her soon at the resort but he becomes ill and is unable to come. When Dmitry first sees Anna she is walking her white Pomeranian along the boardwalk. Soon after first seeing Anna he finds a way to talk to her; by playing with her pet dog at a restaurant which they are both dining at.
Within a week of meeting the two quickly go from being acquaintances to lovers, which shows the reader just how bored Dmitry and Anna both really are with their married lives back home. In the story, Chekhov portrays Anna as a depressed and unhappy woman who does not love her husband at all. She describes her husband as a flunkey and Anna knows little about him: she is not even sure of which organization he works for. Anna views Dmitry as “kind, exceptional, high-minded” but Dmitry confesses to himself that he has seems to have deceived her without realizing it.
Anna finds passion in the arms of a complete stranger rather quickly because she sees in him what she does not see in her husband. Dmitry first describes Anna as beautiful with lovely gray eyes yet pathetic, timid, naive, and he grows bored of her rather fast. A short time into their affair, Anna receives a letter from her husband saying that he has eye-trouble and begs his wife to return back home. She leaves Yalta hastily and Dmitry and Anna say goodbye to one another, for what they think will be the last time they see each other.
In the story, Dmitry refers to woman as “the inferior race” but at the same time says that he is more comfortable with them than he is with men. He also admits that he is unable to live without them. Chekhov makes it clear that Dmitry’s character views women as objects, takes them for granted, and has little respect for them. It is clear in the story that Anna, not only thinks the world of Dmitry, but she is also falling in love with him, while Dmitry sees her as a member of the inferior race and just another one of his many mistresses.
Throughout his affair with Anna, Dmitry recognizes his mistakes and the consequences of his actions, but fails to realize he has fallen in love with Anna, until after she has left to go back home to her sick husband. At home in Moscow, Dmitry cannot stop thinking of Anna and even dreams of her from time to time. At first he thinks of Anna only ever so often, but soon Dmitry begins to think of his memories with her every day. When he shut his eyes he saw her before him as though she were there in the flesh, and she seemed to him lovelier, younger, tenderer than she had been, and he imagined himself a finder man than he had been in Yalta. Of evenings she peered out at him from the bookcase, from the fireplace, from the corner – he heard her breathing, the caressing rustle of her clothes. In the street he followed the women with his eyes, looking for someone who resembled her. (511) Chekhov makes it quite obvious that Dmitry has fallen in love with Anna and you could even say that he has become a little obsessed with the thought of her. Dmitry soon leaves his wife, telling her he is on a business trip, to go and try to find Anna in her hometown. When Anna first sees Dmitry she is surprised, stunned, and worried that people may see her talking to him but they quickly profess their love for each other. She tells Dmitry he must leave, as someone will see them but she promises to come visit him in Moscow.
In the beginning to Dmitry and Anna their illicit affair had little emotional depth and the two had no idea that they will fall in love. Dmitry undergoes a drastic amount of change in just the few months he has known Anna for. Dmitry never thought he could love a woman yet he falls deeply for Anna within such a short amount of time without even realizing it. Although the two seem trapped in their marriages, together they have their secret life of happiness. Dmitry’s transformation from jaded sly womanizer to caring lover is caused by his new found love for Anna.
His love for Anna revokes his generalizations of woman, thus transforming Dmitry into the honest man Anna always thought he was. Although they both feel somewhat guilty for the affair, they manage to get over the shame and continue seeing each other. Dmitry overcomes his fears of finding true love and he manages to discover his morality and no longer having his generalizations of women. Anna overcomes her fear of anyone, especially her husband, finding out about her affair. Eventually Anna manages to deal with the world around her and not be ashamed of her love.
Both characters are forced to re-examine their views of the world because of the situation they are in. In the beginning of the story, neither Anna nor Dmitry could imagine that they would come to Yalta and fall in love but in the end they finally find happiness with one another. The end of the story reveals that it is only the beginning for Anna and Dmitry as they overcome society together as they move on to a new day with each other, where they will not have to hide their love.