The Lady with the Little Dog Study Guide

The Lady with the Little Dog Study Guide

Original title:
Дама с собачкой

One of the short stories by Anton Chekhov, “The Lady with the Little Dog” is considered one of the most famous and most brilliant. Like the majority of Chekhov’s works, this one tells us the story about relationships between the people, shortly but very precisely showing us the typical personalities and situations from the new angle. The plot of it seems trivial: the adultery of the two married people who are spending time in the resort and are very tired of their average life. But still, the situation that was described countless times is now described by Chekhov. The author draws our attention to the smallest details and to the slightest shifts of mood, the thoughts and desires of character. Even if our moral values resist, we still, involuntarily, relate to the feelings and struggles of two average people who are just like us.

The story doesn’t follow traditional pace with the climax and resolution. Like in our real life, where miracles happen only rarely, there is no easy solution for both lovers, whose affair, started just as a way to spend their time with joy, grows into a real, passionate love that can’t be forgotten or put aside live like nothing has happened. They are tormented themselves and torment their spouses, who clearly see that something is wrong - but the story ends with no clear solution. Actually, the story just doesn’t end, the heroes have a long way to go before the final decision can be made.

This short story is both very realistic and very heartbreaking. The traditions of Chekhov’s time made the life of such star-crossed lovers much more complicated than it is in the modern days, but their feelings, their all-consuming love and passion, their shame and fear to be discovered, the guilt they feel before their spouses stay the same even in modern times. There is also no aesop in this story: the author doesn’t show either approval or disapproval. Sudden love is just the thing that happens, equally beautiful and devastating. It’s up to people to build their own attitude to it and discover a way to deal with it and live further.

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