Sample Analysis of a Book on Chekhov
In majority of Chekhov’s stories, death is a common feature and theme. This is because in most cases, the protagonists in the stories end up suffering tragic deaths. However, in some of his short stories, Chekhov does not depict physical death, but rather emotional and social death (Clark 158). His aim is to recognize that man can sometimes give in to greater forces which are beyond their will leading to social, emotional or psychological deaths. In the short story titled The Lady with the Dog, Chekhov might have not talked about physical death but there is evidence of social and emotional deaths during the 19th century. The readers can anticipate spouse murder, separations and divorce in the plot of the story. In the short story, the protagonists are more likely to suffer murder, separation and divorce which was a common occurrence in the 19th century and this is analyzed below.
Chekhov was not straight forward to discuss some of the marital issues that affected most spouses in the 19th century. However, the ways in which the protagonist in the story Dmitri Gurov leads his life clearly shows that he like other men are undergoing major marital challenges that might lead to spouse murder, separation or divorce. According to the story, Dmitri did not love his wife and considered her “a lower race (Clark 58).” The wife might have been intelligent and shrewish but Dmitri still disliked her. This is a clear sign of danger ahead and the readers can anticipate separation or divorce in the near future between these two couples.
Another issue that would result in divorce or separation is the fact that Dmitri loved elderly women whom he had extra marital affairs with in the clubs. At the same time, his love for Anna could not be hidden because he was crazy about her. Since Chekhov mentioned that the wife was an intelligent woman, it is easy for her to identify and recognize that the husband was not being faithful to her regardless of the hatred he had towards her. During the 19th century, most men did not have any form of respect towards their wife and this has been depicted perfectly by the author through the character Dmitri (Parts 148). However, the society expected the men to be responsible enough to take care of their wife that is contrary to what Dmitri was doing because on most occasions he was either on a road trip or in a club sleeping with other women. This was a strong guarantee for the society to grant them a divorce or separation.
In regards to spouse murder, this can be evaluated in various ways in the short story. First, by going out of marriage and sleeping with other women, Dmitri had already emotionally murdered the wife. At the same time, his hatred towards her can be analyzed as emotional death especially the fact that he did not love her. The fact that Dmitri did not have any feelings for the wife can be predicted that he was emotionally dead towards her. However, the subject of spouse murder is more of a flash forward motif for the readers. There is strong tension developing between Anna and Dmitri. Both of them love each other and make excuses to see each other in Moscow. Anna’s husband does not believe the idea that she is going to see a doctor all the time which means that she already created suspicion in him (Chekhov and Wilks 223). In the end of the story, the two lovers come to a resolution which can be predicted as spouse murder. Dmitri could have killed ended up killing Anna’s husband for them to live together and love each other more. Spouse murder was common during the 19th century and this always happened at the end of the story or play.
In the short story titled The Lady with the Dog, the protagonists are more likely to suffer murder, separation and divorce which was a common occurrence in the 19th century. Dmitri and Ann are more likely to experience separation, divorce or murder in their marriage because of the love they have for each other.
Chekhov, Anton and Wilks, Ronald. The Lady with the Little Dog and Other Stories, 1896–1904. Penguin Books, 2002.
Clark, Billy. Before and After Chekhov: Inference, Interpretation and Evaluation. Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.
Parts, Lyudmila. The Chekhovian Intertext: Dialogue with a Classic. Ohio State University Press, 2008.