30 pages 1 hour read

Anton Chekhov

The Lady With The Dog

Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1899

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more.

Character Analysis

Dmitri Gurov

Although Chekhov’s protagonist, Gurov, is a married father of three children, he is also a stereotypical womanizer. His contempt for and avoidance of his wife betrays his own sense of insecurity next to such a tall, strong-willed woman. There is irony in his misogynistic attitude: He treats all women as the “lower race” (569), yet he cannot be content without their company, where he often enjoys “swift” and “fleeting” love affairs (569). The record of Gurov’s past affairs and his general attitude toward women loom large in the foundation of his character.

In his hunt for “easy conquests” (569), Gurov selfishly feigns affection, both avoiding and fearing any emotional investment in his adulterous relationships. Contrary to his habit of emotional detachment, Gurov reaches a point of crisis after his feelings for Anna continue to grow. His love for Anna haunts him, and he comes to see his Moscow family and social life as “grovelling and curtailed, worthless and trivial” (578).

Gurov’s realization of his deep emotional needs (which remain unknown and unmet until he meets Anna) also serves as a turning point when he wholeheartedly invests himself in their shared future. From a serial adulterer and a gentleman rake, Gurov grows into a loyal and sincere husband-like figure for Anna (584).