Character Transformation of Dmitri in The Lady With The Dog
A vacation is the perfect escape from a harsh or dull reality. Anton Chekhov authored the story “The Lady With the Dog”, which introduces two characters who could really use a perfect getaway. Dmitri Gurov is the leading man in “The Lady With The Dog.” He’s a banker and married with three kids. He’s married to whom his wife refers herself as intelligent and intellectual. Dmitri secretly has a different opinion, and in fact that opinion is he thinks she’s unintelligent and inelegant. As time goes by, Life isn’t what it used to be for Dmitri. He’s unhappy in his marriage and quite frankly, he’s bored. He knows he isn’t getting any younger and is closer to his forties then he is his twenties… so now he needs some entertainment in his life. Dmitri decides to go on a vacation for a party of one. While vacationing in Yalta, he notices a young woman with her Pomeranian dog and was intrigued by her. The young woman goes by the name of Anna Sergeyevna. She is also married and has come to Yalta for a vacation as well. Dmitri’s mindset on women started to change once he came across Anna. Familiar to affairs, Dmitri engaged in a romantic affair with Anna. His feelings started to change and for the first time, he never felt this way about someone. Unexpected situations can lead to unpredictable outcomes. In the short story, “The Lady with the Dog,” Anton Chekhov uses irony to emphasize his theme of love and discusses Dmitri oppressed views on women and his transition into falling in love with a woman.
Dmitri felt that his living situations weren’t the best. He started to feel an unattractive connection to his wife. He married young and was still a student and now he looks at her as if she slower than others. For a husband to feel his wife is unintelligent is odd and sad. Dmitri started to have numerous affairs behind her back and still felt empty. It was ironic of him to sleep with all of these women, but he spoke so low of them. In “The Lady With the Dog” the narrator says, “and, probably on that account, almost always spoke ill of women, and when they were talked about in his presence, used to call them ‘the lower race.’ ”(252). Dmitri speaks so ill of women yet has numerous affairs with them. His views on women are they are beneath him and he treats them with no value. To him, they’re just something he uses for the moment. His mentality was that his hookups were emotionless. His hookups would be simple and easy. Are women really as ill as he says them to be? Definitely not. In a man’s world, his persona caused him to be standoffish and unfriendly. His affairs were his outlet to feeling free. He wasn’t himself at home and didn’t want to be there. Women helped him in the long run.
For someone to call women “the lower race” sure loves his women. Dmitri used his affairs as his getaway from home. In the story the narrator states, “ and yet he could not get on for two days together without the ‘lower race’.”(252) This man wouldn’t be able to survive two days without the “lower race.” Interacting with women was something that was natural for Dmitri. He knew how to compose his demeanor and still get the job done. In “The Lady With the Dog,” the narrator states, “but when he was in the company of women, he felt free.”(252). He felt as if he was in his element and a little piece of his twenties came over him. Life to him during his affairs felt amusing and fun from the boring reality.
Life in Dmitri’s reality grew boringly day by day. In a society full of men, Dmitri’s ego caused him to feel superior to woman. In Dermot McMus’s article The Sitting Bee, McMus says, “So unhappy is he with his life he is able (while being unfaithful) to control the women or at least control the image he would like the women to see.”(McMus). With Dmitri being able to catch women’s attention with no problem caused him to be self-centered. Dmitri only cared for what he was getting in the end and how he was getting it. The control he felt he had over women caused him to be rude and insenstitve. Women for him was his getaway and he enjoyed every minute. For him to enjoy his getaways, he had to be in control. To him, his demeanoner had to be perfect and as long as he was satifsed, things had to go his way. Dmitri thought he was in control of the women around him till he changed his scenery.
Dmitri came across Anna Sergeyevna in Yalta. Her pure energy and the way she carried herself drew Dmitri’s attention. He saw that she had been alone and with her dog the past days in Yalta and wanted to form an acquittance relationship. The two spoke and got to know each other but he learned that she was married. She had married young as well and needed a get away from her reality. At first, Dmitri thought Anna would be like the rest of his previous affairs, but his feelings changed and started to grow strong. The narrator says, “ he told Anna she was beautiful, how fascinating she was… he was impatiently affectionate, he would not step away from her.” (256). He started to feel something different for Anna than he did his old affairs. Dmitri was never the one to express his emotions to one another or compliment women. He was starting to fall in love with her and wanted to change his negative ways. The views he has on his wife and women changed once he came across Anna. Dmitri’s feelings started to change and his outlook on the world started to change as well. The way he looks at Anna, he is filled with love and a positive aura. Being filled with Positive vibes and a new outlook on the world, Dmitri started to have a new view on life. In the Lady with The Dog Dmitri states, “In reality everything is beautiful in this world when one reflects…”(256). Falling in love with Anna, her presence has made him become a new man. He feels at peace and life isn’t boring to him anymore. He starts to appreciate the world for what it is and sees that there is a positive outlook on things. Love was something Dmitri was lacking in giving to other and receiving for himself. Before coming to Yalta, Dmitri didn’t appreciate women for what they were and what they had to offer. He didn’t care on getting to know them or how they were feeling. Women to him before didn’t have an impact on him but now that he’s in Love, he cares.
Love was a beautiful theme found in this story. Love changed the point of view of a human being from hateful to caring. In the beginning of the short story, Dmitri’s way was selfish and inconsiderate. Dmitri would cheat on his wife, not care of her feelings, cheat on her some more and still spoke disgusting on women. Now that Anna has entered his life he wouldn’t dare do those things. She makes him feel good and human again, and this relationship changed him for the better. His effortless hookups never failed to cross his mind but with Anna, he couldn’t shake his feelings off. Love changed his ways and he started to do things he hadn’t before. Dmitri cherishes his queen and uplifts her spirits by making her feel good as well. His views on women now is he wouldn’t speak ill of them or tear them down. Previously in his hometown he would refer to women as “ the lower race” and now he doesn’t look nor treat Anna as the “lower race.” But vacationing in Yalta, his love for Anna progressed his happiness. Chekhov states, “The happiness he associates with their time in Yalta has colored his perception in Anna, yet it also begins to actually change his perception of himself.” (254). Love is so powerful and has the power to change people for the better and their mindsets. Becoming happy and transitioning into a changed man, love has taken a toll on Dmitri for the high road. Besides the negative emotions, positivity and happiness are starting to show.
Dmitri started to feel emotions of love for the first time as the emotional connection grew stronger. In The Lady with The Dog Chekhov says, ‘she, this little woman, in no way remarkable, lost in a provincial crowd, with a vulgar lornette in her hand, filled his whole life now, was his sorrow and his joy … He thought and dreamed.'(10). In no shape of form would he ever think a woman would have him feeling this way. Her appearance caught his eye, and her being a little woman intrigued his curiosity.
Author Anton Chekhov uses the life changing experience in Yalta as new experience for Dmitri. Before vacationing to Yalta, Dmitri’s level of tolerance for women was different in Moscow. In Moscow, he was participating in quick two second affairs with no effort. Didn’t care to compliment the women nor have meaningful conversations with them. Vacationing in Yalta he came across Anna. While getting to know her, his feelings start to change and his views towards women were different. At first, Dmitri didn’t think Anna would have an effect on him, but when he returned home, she couldn’t get out of his head. In David’s Bahr’s Forbes article, it states, “Dmitri Dmitrich Gurov’s transformation from a man for whom “bitter experience” taught that “every intimacy … grows into a major task” to one who loved Anna Sergeevna “as one ought to—for the first time in his life.”(Bahr). This was something new to him, he’s never felt this way about anyone and has never felt this way in his life. This bitter experience caused his emotions to be serious and his focus on Anna grew strong. None of the other ladies or even his wife could hold his attention.
Dmitri couldn’t shake his feelings for Anna. This new transition of love came into existence when Dmitri returned home. David Bahr’s Forbes article states, “But Anna’s tell-tale memory follows Dmitri back to Moscow. Infatuated, life without her grows intolerable.” Back to his boring reality, Dmitri couldn’t face life like he used to. Life without Anna wasn’t the same and so was his happiness. He realizes he is falling in love with Anna and don’t want to be with anyone else. It is though that Dmitri can’t forget her. Gurov isn’t concerned with anything that has to do with himself, only thinking about Anna. Dmitri learned his lesson by realizing his love for Anna. Unexpected situations can lead to unpredictable outcomes. Who knew going on a vacation would start something new for the better. Dmitri Gurov changed into a better man when coming across his new lover Anna. From talking down on women to complimenting them this was new start in the right direction. Leaving his boring reality benefitted his new life style with Anna.
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