The Lady With the Dog

by

Anton Chekhov

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Dmitri Dmitritch Gurov Character Analysis

Dmitri Gurov is the protagonist of The Lady with the Dog. An unhappily married banker on vacation by himself in Yalta when he meets Anna, he decides to start an affair with her more out of boredom than anything else. He is closer to 40 than 20, with two sons and a daughter at home, as well as a history of womanizing. However, Gurov finds Anna to be different from his past affairs, which were simple and pleasurable until they weren’t. He doesn’t quite understand Anna, and seems to think that her opinion of him is mistakenly good, yet connect to some larger, more transcendental love through his relationship with her. Gurov finds himself unable to shake his feelings for Anna after he returns to Moscow, and gradually his entire life seems to be a hypocritical lie without Anna in it. Gurov goes to St. Petersburg to restart the affair, finding himself all the more in love with Anna as they have to be increasingly secretive about their relationship. Gurov grows to see this secret love as far more valuable and true than anything else he’s experienced in his life, and he ends the story trying to find a way to be with Anna permanently. Gurov goes from chasing transitory pleasures that stave off his boredom to pursuing a genuine, tender connection with a woman who both sees him as and inspires him to be better than he is—a task all the more urgent for how comparatively late in life he’s fallen in love for the first time.

Dmitri Dmitritch Gurov Quotes in The Lady With the Dog

The The Lady With the Dog quotes below are all either spoken by Dmitri Dmitritch Gurov or refer to Dmitri Dmitritch Gurov. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Truth in Deception  Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Modern Library edition of The Lady With the Dog published in 2000.
Part I Quotes

Repeated experience, and bitter experience indeed, had long since taught him that every intimacy, which in the beginning lends life such pleasant diversity and presents itself as a nice and light adventure, inevitably, with decent people—especially Muscovites, who are slow starters—grows into a major task, extremely complicated, and the situation finally becomes burdensome. But at every new meeting with an interesting woman, this experience somehow slipped from his memory, and he wanted to live, and everything seemed quite simple and amusing.

Page Number: 3622
Explanation and Analysis:

Afterwards, in his hotel room, he thought about her, that tomorrow she would probably meet him again. It had to be so. Going to bed, he recalled that still quite recently she had been a schoolgirl, had studied just as his daughter was studying now, recalled how much timorousness and angularity there was in her laughter, her conversation with a stranger—it must have been the first time in her life that she was alone in such a situation, when she was followed, looked at, and spoken to with only one secret purpose, which she could not fail to guess. He recalled her slender, weak neck, her beautiful gray eyes.

“There’s something pathetic in her all the same,” he thought and began to fall asleep.

Related Symbols: Gray
Page Number: 363
Explanation and Analysis:

Anna Sergeevna was not a dream, she followed him everywhere like a shadow and watched him. Closing his eyes, he saw her as if alive, and she seemed younger, more beautiful, more tender than she was; and he also seemed better to himself than he had been then, in Yalta.

Page Number: 369
Explanation and Analysis:
Part II Quotes

Then he looked at her intently and suddenly embraced her and kissed her on the lips, and he was showered with the fragrance and moisture of the flowers, and at once looked around timorously—had anyone seen them?

Page Number: 364
Explanation and Analysis:

The leaves of the trees did not stir, cicadas called, and the monotonous, dull noise of the sea, coming from below, spoke of the peace, of the eternal sleep that awaits us. So it had sounded below when neither Yalta nor Oreanda were there, so it sounded now and would go on sounding with the same dull indifference when we are no longer here. And in this constancy, in this utter indifference to the life and death of each of us, there perhaps lies hidden the pledge of our eternal salvation, the unceasing movement of life on earth, of unceasing perfection. Sitting beside the young woman, who looked so beautiful in the dawn, appeased and enchanted by the view of this magical odor—sea, mountains, clouds, the open sky—Gurov reflected that, essentially, if you thought of it, everything was beautiful in this world, everything except for what we ourselves think and do when we forget the higher goals of being and our human dignity.

Page Number: 366-367
Explanation and Analysis:

Gurov listened to the chirring of the grasshoppers and the hum of the telegraph wires with a feeling as if he had just woken up. And he thought that now there was one more affair or adventure in his life, and it, too, was now over, and all that was left was the memory. . . He was touched, saddened, and felt some slight remorse; this young woman whom he was never to see again had not been happy with him; he had been affectionate with her, and sincere, but all the same, in his treatment of her, in his tone and caresses, there had been a slight shade of mockery, the somewhat coarse arrogance of a happy man, who was, moreover, almost twice her age. She had all the while called him kind, extraordinary lofty; obviously, he had appeared to her not as he was in reality and therefore he had involuntarily deceived her . . .

Page Number: 368
Explanation and Analysis:
Part III Quotes

He gradually became immersed in Moscow life, now greedily read three newspapers a day and said that he never read the Moscow newspapers on principle. He was drawn to restaurants, clubs, to dinner parties, celebrations, and felt flattered that he had famous lawyers and actors among his clients, and that at the Doctors' Club he played cards with a professor. He could eat a whole portion of selyanka from the pan…

Related Characters: Dmitri Dmitritch Gurov
Page Number: 369
Explanation and Analysis:

A month would pass and Anna Sergeevna, as it seemed to him, would be covered by mist in his memory and would only appear to him in dreams with a touching smile, as other women did. But more than a month passed, deep winter came, and yet everything was as clear in his memory as if he had parted with Anna Sergeevna only the day before. And the memories burned brighter and brighter.

Page Number: 369

Those words, so very ordinary for some reason suddenly made Gurov indignant, struck him as humiliating, impure. Such savage manners, such faces! These senseless nights, and such uninteresting, unremarkable days! Frenzied card-playing, gluttony, drunkenness, constant talk about the same thing. Useless matters and conversations about the same thing took for their share the best part of one’s time, the best of one’s powers, and what was left in the end was some sort of curtailed, wingless life, some sort of nonsense, and it was impossible to get away or fee, as if you were sitting in a mad- house or a prison camp!

Related Characters: Dmitri Dmitritch Gurov, An Official
Page Number: 370
Explanation and Analysis:

Anna Sergeevna came in. She sat in the third row, and when Gurov looked at her, his heart was wrung, and he realized clearly that there was now no person closer, dearer, or more important for him in the whole world; this small woman, lost in the provincial crowd, not remarkable for anything, with a vulgar lorgnette in her hand, now filled his whole life, was his grief, his joy, the only happiness he now wished for himself; and to the sounds of the bad orchestra, with its trashy local violins, he thought how beautiful she was. He thought and dreamed.

Page Number: 372
Explanation and Analysis:
Part IV Quotes

He had two lives: an apparent one, seen and known by all who needed it, filled with conventional truth and conventional deceit, which perfectly resembled the lives of his acquaintances and friends, and another that went on in secret. And by some strange coincidence, perhaps an accidental one, everything that he found important, interesting, necessary, in which he was sincere and did not deceive himself, which constituted the core of his life, occurred in secret from others, while everything that made up his life, his shell, in which he hid in order to conceal the truth—for instance, his work at the bank, his arguments at the club, his “inferior race,” his attending official celebrations with his wife—all this was in full view.

Page Number: 374
Explanation and Analysis:

And he judged others by himself, did not believe what he saw, and always supposed that every man led his own real and very interesting life under the cover of secrecy, as under the cover of night. Every personal existence was upheld by a secret, and it was perhaps partly for that reason that every cultivated man took such anxious care that his personal secret should be respected.

Page Number: 374
Explanation and Analysis:

His head was beginning to turn gray. And it seemed strange to him that he had aged so much in those last years, had lost so much of his good looks. The shoulders on which his hands lay were warm and trembled. He felt compassion for this life, still so warm and beautiful, but probably already near the point where it would begin to fade and wither, like his own life.

Related Symbols: Gray
Page Number: 375
Explanation and Analysis:

“Why did she love him so?” Women had always taken him to be other than he was, and they had loved in him, not himself, but a man their imagination had created, whom they had greedily sought all their lives; and then, when they had noticed their mistake, they had still loved him. And not one of them had been happy with him. Time passed, he met women, became intimate, parted, but not once did he love; there was anything else, but not love.

And only now, when his head was gray, had he really fallen in love as one ought— for the first time in his life.

Related Symbols: Gray
Page Number: 375
Explanation and Analysis:

He and Anna Sergeevna loved each other like very close, dear people, like husband and wife, like tender friends; it seemed to them that fate itself had destined them for each other, and they could not understand why he had a wife and she a husband; and it was as if they were two birds of passage, a male and a female, who had been caught and forced to live in separate cages. They had forgiven each other the things they were ashamed of in the past, they forgave everything in the present, and they felt that this love of theirs had changed them both.

Page Number: 375
Explanation and Analysis:
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Dmitri Dmitritch Gurov Character Timeline in The Lady With the Dog

The timeline below shows where the character Dmitri Dmitritch Gurov appears in The Lady With the Dog. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part I
Truth in Deception  Theme Icon
Society and Morality  Theme Icon
Time, Mortality, and Purpose Theme Icon
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
After having been on vacation in Yalta for two weeks, Dmitri Gurov spots a new arrival: a young woman who routinely walks through the seaside town with... (full context)
Truth in Deception  Theme Icon
Society and Morality  Theme Icon
Time, Mortality, and Purpose Theme Icon
Gurov reflects on his experience with women. He has a twelve-year-old daughter and two sons with... (full context)
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One evening the lady with the dog sits at the table next to Gurov’s during dinner. Her appearance suggests she is both married and bored, and Gurov quickly becomes... (full context)
Truth in Deception  Theme Icon
Time, Mortality, and Purpose Theme Icon
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
That night, in his hotel room, Gurov fixates on details about Anna such as her youth and beautiful eyes. He notes that... (full context)
Part II
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A week after their initial meeting, Gurov and Anna spend a hot Yalta day together, having ice cream and soft drinks. In... (full context)
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...steamer takes the steamer a long time to come into port, which gives Anna and Gurov even more time together. Once the ship arrives, Anna seems captivated, looking at the passengers... (full context)
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After the crowd disperses, Gurov and Anna remain on the docks for a moment as though they are waiting for... (full context)
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The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
Once they’re back in the room, after consummating their relationship, Gurov is again struck by how different Anna is from other women that he’s been with... (full context)
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Gurov tries to reason with Anna that her anxieties are unfounded. Anna wells up and confesses... (full context)
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Gurov tenderly comforts Anna to assuage her concerns about being perceive as a trite woman, still... (full context)
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Later, Gurov and Anna drive out from Yalta to the scenic suburb of Oreanda. “Not a soul”... (full context)
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Time, Mortality, and Purpose Theme Icon
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
Gurov and Anna sit in silence. Gurov observes the natural surroundings, reflecting on how the sea... (full context)
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A watchman interrupts Gurov’s silent musing, and the two poignantly realize that the moment they’ve both shared has ended.... (full context)
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Gurov and Anna develop a routine of meeting for meals, kissing in gardens, and driving out... (full context)
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Word finally comes that Anna’s husband is sick, forcing Anna to return to St. Petersburg. Gurov takes her to the train station. As the train is boarding, Anna seems to accept... (full context)
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Gurov also comes to feel “as if he had just woken up” and accepts the affair... (full context)
Part III
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Gurov returns to his Moscow routine—going through life with his wife and his daughter, dining out,... (full context)
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Deep winter arrives, and Gurov still can’t shake thoughts of Anna from his mind. He begins romanticizing their time together... (full context)
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Gurov has to settle for talking vaguely of love, but even this raises his wife’s suspicions,... (full context)
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Gurov comes up with a pretext to go to St. Petersburg to try and see Anna.... (full context)
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Gurov goes to the street where Anna lives and stands by an imposing-looking gray fence just... (full context)
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Gurov decides not to approach the house, and instead watches its comings and goings without seeing... (full context)
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The next morning, Gurov spots a poster for the opera “The Geisha” and decides to attend the premiere on... (full context)
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The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
Gurov spots Anna amidst the crowd. Despite the fact that she seems outwardly unremarkable in the... (full context)
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Gurov spots Anna’s husband as well. He is a slightly balding man with side-whiskers who is... (full context)
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During the opera’s intermission, Gurov approaches Anna in her seat. He scares her badly with his reappearance, which in turn... (full context)
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Anna leads Gurov away from the seats into a staircase off of the main auditorium and, in something... (full context)
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Anna asks what he’s doing and Gurov responds by pulling her to him and kissing her, even as a pair of schoolboys... (full context)
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Anna reiterates her love for Gurov and promises to go to Moscow to see him if he leaves the theater, and... (full context)
Part IV
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Society and Morality  Theme Icon
...indeterminate number of months, Anna begins coming to Moscow on a medical pretext to see Gurov. Her husband both does and doesn’t believe the false reason that she gives him but... (full context)
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Gurov develops a pattern of meeting Anna at her hotel after she sends a porter to... (full context)
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On a winter morning, Gurov walks his daughter to school on his way to see Anna. He explains to his... (full context)
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Gurov reflects on the ways in which the affair has changed is outlook on life: he... (full context)
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After dropping his daughter off, Gurov gets to Anna’s hotel room and is hardly in the door before the two embrace... (full context)
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Gurov concludes that his attachment to Anna and her attachment to him are more serious, and... (full context)
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Gurov reflects again on how his love for Anna is different from all the other relationships... (full context)
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Gurov thinks further, to how he and Anna love each other and forgive each other unconditionally.... (full context)
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Gurov finally makes the decision that he wants to embrace the way he is with Anna... (full context)
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The two spend a long time thinking. While no solution comes to them, Gurov concludes that this hardship is only the beginning of the story of his and Anna’s... (full context)