Study Guide

The Lady with the Dog Fate and Free Will

By Anton Chekhov

Fate and Free Will

In "The Lady with the Dog," two lovers – both married to other people – lament their predicament and what they consider a shared ill-fate. But should fate be blamed for these unfortunate circumstances? How much personal responsibility lies with the two lovers to begin with? Chekhov's tale deals realistically, not romantically, with the consequences and difficulty of such a "fate."

Questions About Fate and Free Will

  1. How much can the environment of Yalta be blamed for the affair between Anna and Gurov?
  2. When she leaves Yalta, Anna declares that it's the finger of fate, that they ought not to have met at all. Where is she getting these ideas about what ought to have been, or what should be in the future?
  3. Are Anna and Gurov victims of circumstance, or responsible for creating their own circumstances?

Chew on This

Fate is used as a scapegoat by the characters in "Lady with the Dog" in order to avoid accepting personal responsibility.