The Lady with the Pet Dog Character Analysis

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The short story “The Lady with the Pet Dog” by Anton Chekhov depicts the challenging quest for genuine love that individuals embark on. Within this narrative, both Gurov and Anna are trapped in unsatisfying marriages and secretly yearn for greater fulfillment. Additionally, Anna resides in a Russian society where women are expected to be subservient to men and parental influence determines one’s choice of a life partner, leaving no room for divorce. Gurov characterizes Anna as timid, naive, and profoundly passionate; nevertheless, it is ultimately her captivating lack of experience that causes them to deeply fall in love with each other.

Anna is portrayed as a young and innocent woman lacking confidence, respect, and love. She perceives herself as the victim of an ultimate betrayal in matters of the heart. However, like everyone else, Anna yearns for true love. When Gurov and Anna initially confess their feelings for each other, Anna feels ashamed. The intensity of her emotions overwhelms her, causing her to behave like a teenager experiencing their first taste of love. Anna lacks faith in her abilities as a lover and is burdened by jealousy and fear. This surprises Gurov because he has never encountered such inexperience before in a woman. He expected Anna to react differently since he had only known women seeking pleasure rather than intimacy and passion. As Anna becomes more self-aware as a woman, her lack of self-confidence becomes evident when she views herself with disdain and vulgarity. Her expectations of men are influenced by how her husband treats her. While her husband may be honest, he fails to show the respect or adoring devotion that she deserves. Consequently, Anna believes that Gurov, being a typical man, won’t hold enough respect for her to truly love her. After their affair ends, she implies to Gurov that she anticipates him feeling towards her similarly to how her husband does by stating that he no longer respects her.
Anna’s lack of understanding about receiving love from a man stems from the absence of such emotions in her marriage. Throughout her time with Gurov, she frequently appeared deep in thought and constantly sought reassurance from him, longing for him to acknowledge that he neither respected nor loved her. This was a completely new experience for Anna, causing her immense distress at the mere idea of losing the respect of the man she had developed strong feelings for. Anna holds herself responsible for the unhappiness in her life as her marriage was arranged when she was just twenty years old. She admits to Gurov that curiosity plagued her and she yearned for something better. With only her husband as a previous lover, she craved more intimacy and someone who could satisfy the passion within her. Lost amidst a whirlwind of emotions, Anna finds comfort in another man’s affection.

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The woman lacks experience with men and relationships but strongly believes that having an adulterous affair is the ultimate sin. Her aim is to convince Gurov that she is a good woman who can be loved by him. She expresses her desire for honesty and purity, stating her disgust towards sin. Before leaving, she bids farewell to Gurov at the train station and asks him not to think evil of her. All she desires is his love. “The Lady with the Pet Dog” revolves around a young woman’s intense quest for love, overcoming every obstacle in her path.

Anna was married, but she never experienced genuine compassion, devotion, or love. She feels remorseful for her affair and cannot justify her emotions because finding solace in someone else was wrong. Only to Gurov does Anna express her deepest thoughts and feelings without feeling ashamed. She had always sought love and devotion, which she found in Gurov, and wonders why fate did not allow her to be with him forever. Ultimately, all Anna desires is Gurov’s everlasting love.

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