November 11, 2018
The Lady with the Pet Dog
In Anton Chekhov’s “The Lady with the Pet Dog” Dmitri Gurov is a typical unfaithful
husband who should have ended things with his wife sometime ago. It is ideal to say he is with
his wife because of his daughter but you can’t even give him that: “She read a great deal, used
simplified spelling in her letters, called her husband, not Dmitry, but Dimitry, while he privately
considered her of limited intelligence, narrow minded, dowdy, was afraid of her, and did not like
to be at home” (Chekhov 540). Dmitry is away from home often cheating on his wife, so him
being there for his daughter is out of the picture. Dmitry has little respect for women and simply
hooks up with them for his own pleasure and does not consider what they go through after at all.
Because of Ana, the lady with the pet dog, Dmitry has finally fell in love for the first time with a
much younger lady and it gives him a better view of women, and changes him in a better way,
even though he was still going to cheat on his wife and get involved with a relationship that is
Dmitry has intentions on hooking up with her while they were on vacations without their
spouses and cutting it off after and going back to normal, but Dmitry met his match and fell in
love. Before this Dmitry would belittle every woman in his eyes, to tell himself he can call them
whatever he would like and do anything he wanted with anyone he would choose: “had been
unfaithful to her often and, probably for that reason, almost always spoke ill of women, and
when they were talked of in his presence used to call them ‘the inferior race” (Chekhov 540). He
is somewhat a sexist and feels at first the same way towards Ana until he realizes there is
something a little different with this encounter. He approaches her as if when the time is up, and
they get back into their real lives, he will get over her and forget about the time they had as
usual. To summarize Paul Depompo in the article, “The ‘Other’ Side of Infidelity: The Experience of the ‘Other’ Partner,Anxious Love, and Implications for Practitioners” he expresses how women in relationships that cheat are likely to have actual deep feelings for the “other partner” that she is not dating but men who engage in relationships and cheat think or consider that the person there cheating with as just a close friend (43). This was not the case for Ana and Dmitry, he could not hold back the love he began to have for her, even though she felt the same way about him she knew she had a family to tend to.
Dmitry is so blindly in love for the first time he does not think about his actions and the
harm he can cause for her family by going to see her. Ana obviously loves her family, so she is
willing to sacrifice her little bit of happiness and tell Dmitry that they are no longer going to see
each other: “‘I shall be thinking of you-remembering you,’ she said. ‘God bless you; be happy.
Don’t remember evil against me. We are parting forever-it has to be, for we ought never to have
met. Well, God bless you'” (Chekov 546). By her words and the description of her face, she is
beyond sad to have to part ways, but this shows that she is a little more mature than Dmitry, who
thought he could never love someone he felt beneath him. Dmitry, already used to this kind of
life was doing this because Ana was young, beautiful and fresh meet, as for Ana she was
wondering what other kind of life was out there because she was bored of her other and her
husband. Dmitry knows usually when you are married you do not get attached to someone else,
maybe start to have a little feelings for them but to hard to fall in love in that little amount of
time: “When this occurred, participants either learned about the partner’s marital status, or, if the
participant already knew about the marital status, realized that he/she would not ‘fall in love’ and
become ‘vulnerable’ to their partner” (47). This was a fling that went on a little to far and
feelings became uncontrollable.
Both Ana and Dmitry fell in love, when Dmitry went to find her not knowing if he would
actually run in to her, he eventually did and they discussed how they would continue their
relationship secretly because they felt they were what each other needed: “They forgive each
other what they were ashamed of in their past, they forgave everything in the present, and felt
that this love of theirs had altered them both” (Chekov 553). Everything was gray, to her eyes
and his hair but they were starting to see the world in colors again. To summarize a paragraph in
the article, “Mastering Chekhov: Heifetz’s The Lady with the Dog” by Palmer James, Chekov
puts the lover’s stories into four parts, from the start to the simple affair to falling deeply in love
(253). Ana first hates what she did and feels terrible as Dmitry could careless but love eventually
overcomes both of their opposite sides. Dmitry changes and tries to fight it but loses: “Although
we sense the nascent ethical changes in Gurov in the Oreanda scene, he resorts his cool, distant
pose as the affair ends” (254). Even though he’s old and experienced many affairs, this one was
out of his control and he had changed for the better even though it was an unpleasant situation.
Dmitry grew from the beginning to the end of the story, due to his love for Ana. He has
finally met his match, someone who didn’t have to teach him respect for women but someone
who he automatically wanted to give it to.
Chekhov, Anton. “The Lady with the Pet Dog.” Adaptations: From short Story to Big Screen.
Edited by Stephanie Harrison, Three Rivers Press, 2005, pp. 540-554.
DePompo, Paul, et al. “The “Other” Side of Infidelity: The Experience of the “Other” Partner,
Anxious Love, and Implications for Practitioners.” Journal, vol. 9, no. 1, 2016, pp. 41-57.
Palmer, James. “Mastering Chekhov: Heifetz’s the Lady with the Dog.” Journal, vol. 19, no. 4,