Chekhov’s Interpretation Of Love

Chekhov’s Interpretation Of Love In The Lady With The Dog, The Darling, And The Grasshopper

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov’s stories express great emotions.

The theme Chekhov picks for his stories is showing affinity between men and women, their relationships and views towards each other as it is explained in few of his stories, “The Lady with the Pet Dog” (1899), “The Darling” (1898) and “The Grasshopper” (1892).

Chekhov likes to keep his stories ending, always open ended, is inferred in vexation, reminiscence, loneliness and explains one life moment in its totality. Even though the stories are open ended, one can come to a conclusion of the story through the scenes, and that brings frustration in lot of his readers. Chekhov keeps the end open because he wants the reader to make a conclusion based on their understanding and experience.

Love is important to human beings, however, due to certain limitations it fails to excel. People fall in love because of physical attraction, some believe that attraction and lust can grow into something better. Different people have different perspective towards love. For Chekhov, to explain love in his different stories in a very different manner always have given us a deeper understanding about the writer.

In the story; “The Lady with the Pet Dog” Chekhov has used the arrangement of words that portray the complications of overcoming temptation. He portrays passionate love as well as betrayal in the story. The story showed what happens in today’s society in real life as well. The confusing and unexpected forbidden love develops between the two character, Anna and Gurov. The story shows the two main characters that are on their vacation. Gurov is in his mid forties married and has children. He dislikes his wife and feel that she is unintelligent, and is not happy in his married life. He thinks of women as an inferior race. He cheats on his wife often. He feels uncomfortable in the company of men and feels comfortable around women. Anna on the other hand, is married and unhappy in her life as well. Anna, who is with her lap dog roaming around on the streets and her dog caught the sight of Gurov and that in turn brought Anna and him to meet for the first time. Chekhov describes the loneliness in both characters that brought them together. Gurov’s personality is shown very arrogant in the first half of the story. Despite that, women get attracted to him very easily. In the beginning he thinks the same about Anna as well. It is described in the book where they both are in the hotel room. Anna feeling depressed, crying and thinking the love between them as evil act. “There was a water-melon on the table. Gurov cut himself a slice and begin eating it without haste. There followed at least half an hour of silence.” This shows the attitude Gurov had against the women in his life, he really don’t care what they think until he gets what he wants from them.

Chekhov wonderfully explains the character change in Gurov as he realizes his unconditional and compassionate love towards Anna. Anna too was deeply in love with Gurov, they both use to lie to their significant others and somehow manage to meet. Soon they realize the consequences of the relationship. Anna talked to Gurov “We are parting forever – it has to be, for we ought never to meet.” But their undeniable love is portrayed as Gurov went to Anna’s house to see her and she replies: “All this time I have been thinking of nothing but you; I love only by the thought of you.”

Adultery, although horrible as it seems, is in actuality a reality among married couples. Chekhov captures this forbidden love in a positive way, showing the escape these two characters are seeking. Chekhov doesn’t reveal to the readers the spouses feelings, for that would bring a negative drama to the story. This is a love and Chekhov wanted to show his readers that true love is everywhere, even in the most deniable places.

He showed this by allowing them to eventually end up together and leaves them discussing how they will confess their love. “And it seemed as though in a little while the solution would be found, and then a new and splendid life would begin, and it was clear to both of them that they had still a long, long way to go, and the most complicated and difficult part of it was only just beginning.”

Considering Chekhov’s “The Kiss” where he showed us the love at a completely different angle. Ryabovitch, the story’s main character along with other officers are invited by General von Rabbek as a formal tradition. Ryabovitch was showed uncomfortable and awkward in the whole story. Ryabovitch is a shy person and thinks himself as unattractive. Story explains him as “short, stopping…. with spectacles and lynx-like side whiskers.”

Finding himself out of the box for the dance floor, he joins the group of officers going in the billiards room. Soon he felt ignored, gets bored there as well and start making his way out to the dance room. He somehow lost himself in the hallways and end up in the dark room. As he thinks of getting back out there, a young woman came from behind and kiss him on his cheeks. Soon as the women realized that she’s kissed the wrong man – she immediately rush out of that room. Ryabovitch instantly fall in love with the women. Days after the accidental kiss, Ryabovitch “goes on feeling the tingle of the kiss “like peppermint drops” around his mouth, every night he visualizes the girl who kissed him, and retains his joy at fate’s accidental caress”. 

Chekhov showed Ryabovitch paradigm shift in text as, “It’s all very ordinary, and everyone goes through it… that general, for instance, has once been in love, how he is married and has children. Captain Vahter, too is married and beloved, though the nape of his neck is very red and ugly and he has no waist….. Salmanov is coarse and very Tatar, but he has had a love affair that has ended in marriage….. I am the same as everyone else, and I too, shall have the same experience as everyone else, sooner or later…” (Chekhov pg. 85). He suddenly started feeling more confident about himself, and thought of living a normal life just as everyone else.

Chekhov portrayal of imaginary love in the story, proves an immense inner self realization that gives confidence and the power to promise the extraordinary- ordinary. My argument of, love will take you in a different direction is very nicely proved. Different direction here is making Ryabovitch understand his inner values and start loving himself just by the thought of getting loved. Love has the power to make you feel poised, self-assured and self-confident to conquer the rest of the world.

‘The Grasshopper’ is another mind-boggling story by Anton Chekhov. The story is based on post marital affairs by Olga Ivanovna, the female protagonist. Dymov the male protagonist and husband of Olga was a very gentle man and love his wife more than anything else in the world. Being introvert, he couldn’t show his love to Olga and may be this went against him. Olga fell in love with Ryabovsky, the artist. She found all the material happiness in Ryabovsky’s arms and continued cheating on her husband. Nothing lasts forever, Dymov gradually understood it but choose not to confront Olga. Meanwhile Ryabovsky had decided to move on and insulted Olga. She understood her faults and thought to come out from the illusion and return back to her husband. Alas! It was too late; Dymov was at his last stage and fighting against death. Soon he expired. Olga realized her fault but never get a chance to apologize and live the rest of her life with the unbearable guilt.

In the text when Olga is describing Dymov, there’s an innocent love shown between both the characters. ‘Look at him; isn’t it true that there is something in him?’ she said to her friends, with a nod towards her husband, as though she wanted to explain why she was marrying a simple, very ordinary, and in no way remarkable man.” Olga respects her husband, but she loves all materialistic things in life a little more over her husband. Her husband is truly and deeply in love with her and also loyal to Olga. Olga was the one who couldn’t keep the trust and love between them. The message is clear, we never understand them who love us more than anything else and when realization happens they traveled so far away that nothing can be done. This story too took Olga in a better direction because of love, but at a cost of her husband’s death. Moment of realization, and realization of love.