Study Guide

The Lady with the Dog Reputation

By Anton Chekhov


"The Lady with the Dog" reminds us that the threat of scandal always looms. For two adulterous lovers, reputation is forever at risk, as are their marriages and lifestyles. The story also focuses on the idea of social status and class. For one very class-conscious protagonist, only the truest of love can cross class-defined social barriers.

Questions About Reputation

  1. After Gurov begins the affair with Anna, we get this passage: "Gurov thought how in reality everything is beautiful in this world when one reflects: everything except what we think or do ourselves when we forget our human dignity and the higher aims of our existence." Is he feeling guilty here? What does Chekhov mean by "human dignity and the higher aims of our existence?" What would it mean to "forget" them? Has Gurov?
  2. How does Gurov view Anna, socially? (As below him? On his level?) How does this affect the way he feels about her? Does it ever pose a barrier to their love?
  3. Consider the passage in which we are first told of Gurov's wife. Whose perspective are we getting here? In terms of social status, how is she portrayed?

Chew on This

"The Lady with the Dog" argues that personal and public lives cannot be reconciled.