“The Lady with a Dog” is a story by Anton Chekhov that features two lovers, Dmitri Dmitrich Gurov and Anna Sergeyevna, both married to different people. The duo met in a hotel in Yalta and started an affair after Gurov craftily wooed Anna. The affair continues for a while and ends when Anna’s husband asks her to return home (Chekhov, 1993). It is on returning home that Gurov realizes his deep affection for Anna. After contemplating, he decides to go to Anna’s hometown to reveal his feelings. Anna is troubled Gurv arrives. She even fears that her reputation will be tainted. Soon, she reveals the truth about her shared feelings and promises to visit him in Moscow. After their parting, Anna begins to make regular visits under force pretense until the two become optimistic about their future together. The story presents a conflict between infatuation, security, loyalty, and the inability to recognize reality and illusion.
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The story of Gurov and Anna is a representation of how individuals struggle with significant choices in their lives. This is seen in the way both characters have made binding commitments to other parties but are still entangled in a web of deceit and a struggle for personal happiness by having an affair. The two justify their secret meetings with false motives to further their relationship. The author fails to attach the controversial issue of adultery and instead leaves room for the readers to explore varied moral possibilities outside the narrative.
The author further highlights the issue of social judgement and its significant ties to reputation. While Gurov and Anna feel an endless desire to be with each other, they are concerned about their reputation and thus keep their engagement a secret. Both characters choose to live double lives for the fear of being judged by society. This is seen in the way Gurov commits to maintain a public and worthless life with his wife while at the same time seeing Anna, in a relationship he finds secret and valuable. Anna also displays a desire to maintain her reputation when Gurov shows up unannounced in her home. Checkov provides insight into the nature of societal expectations where individuals value others views and attitudes towards them.
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Chekhov’s narrative defines the classical theme of love and romance. He uses tension to create an atmosphere of uncertainty by creating characters who are in love while ate same time constrained to similar afflictions. The two lovers feel trapped and disadvantaged by their current situation but decide to find hope in each other. The author provides a dilemma that revolves around sacrifice for one’s happiness and commitment. The aforementioned is common life phenomena that affects many married couples. He also subjects the problem to individual opinion wherein no clear standing is offered on a moral dilemma of love and adultery.
Finally, the author highlights the concept of male chauvinism. Gurov is portrayed as an ordinary man with a decent occupation, a wife and children. He however despises his wife and other women, playing with their emotions as he pleases. This is evident from the way the writer describes his habit of engaging with women until they become attached to him, wherein he ends the relationship. He believes that his wife is unintelligent and is constantly unfaithful. He decides to follow Anna with the same perception of women even when he notices that she is married. Although Chekhov touches on male chauvinism, he is not objective about his position regarding the issue. He creates an atmosphere for readers to explore their imaginations out of the bounds of the narrative.
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The above analysis is focused on the themes presented by the author as well as their significance and prevalence in the current society. During the structuring of the essay, I remained objective of the controversial themes that raise moral questions and also aligns with sociological perspectives. I establish a strong connection between the roles portrayed by each character in expressing their dissatisfaction in marriage. This is evident in the way Gurov and Anna were both married to different people yet felt the need for more. They were not happy with their spouses and felt comforted when together. Given that the author describes scenarios that mimic real-life phenomena, it was curious that he remains neutral throughout the narrative and fails to provide a firm standing on the issues raised in the book. The author therefore maintains a writing style that steers the reader towards reaching individual conclusions outside the boundaries of the narrative.
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