The Lady With the Dog


Anton Chekhov

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Themes and Colors
Truth in Deception  Theme Icon
Society and Morality  Theme Icon
Time, Mortality, and Purpose Theme Icon
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Lady With the Dog, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Truth in Deception

Anton Chekhov’s short story “The Lady with the Dog” centers on the passionate affair between Dmitri Gurov and Anna Sergeevna. The two meet while on vacation in the city of Yalta, and what begins as a lovely yet ostensibly fleeting romance turns into a deeply meaningful relationship—one that, because both parties are married, must be maintained in secret. As Gurov in particular navigates his feelings in society beyond Yalta, he comes to feel that…

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Society and Morality

Despite the illicit nature of Gurov and Anna’s affair, Chekhov refuses to pass clear moral judgment on his characters’ actions. Instead, he makes a distinction between the social expectations placed on the lovers—which the story presents as petty and deeply hypocritical—and the actual, positive change that the Gurov and Anna have on each other through the deepening of their allegedly immoral relationship. In doing so, “The Lady with the Dog” suggests the arbitrary nature…

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Time, Mortality, and Purpose

There is little urgency in Gurov and Anna’s lives at the beginning of the story. When he first sees Anna, Gurov has already been on vacation for two weeks “and was used to it,” Chekhov writes, highlighting the character’s idle boredom. Later, while talking with Anna for the first time during dinner, Gurov comments that he is “dragging” through his second week in Yalta, to which Anna responds, “The time passes quickly, and yet…

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The Transformative Power of Love

Both Anna and Gurov interpret their initial affair in Yalta as a bout of madness—Gurov approaches Anna when the thought of a romance with an unknown woman “suddenly [takes] possession of him,” and Anna outright says to Gurov before they sleep together that she “couldn’t control [herself] any longer” and that she is going “about as if in a daze, as if I’m out of my mind.” Each character initially views the affair with a…

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