Anton Chekhov’s “The Lady with the Dog” demonstrates the author’s unmatched ability to guide the audience’s sympathies without directly providing an opinion of his characters. With incredible competence, Chekhov manages to paint scenes that while on the surface retain subjective tones, influence the readers’ emotions more effectively than would a direct approach. Above all, Chekhov employs certain literary techniques to convey his intended messages in many passages of the story, including the one that discusses Gurov and Anna’s excursion to the sea during one of the first evenings they spend together. Through the use of personification and imagery, the author contributes greater significance to the conflicting central themes of isolation and love’s capability of trivializing all fears.
In this passage, Chekhov personifies the sea in order to develop the dominant themes in the story. While Gurov and the lady are seated on the bench, “the sea [comes] up to them, speaking of peace, of the eternal sleep lying in wait for [them]”. Reminiscent to Gurov of death, the sea that is given life by this figurative language element prompts him to recall the inevitability of one’s passing and man’s inability to delay death’s arrival, which would mark the beginning of perpetual isolation. Gurov comes to the realization that “the sea [has] roared like this long before there was any Yalta or Oreanda, it [is] roaring now, and it [will] go on roaring, just as indifferently and hollowly, when [they] pass away”. In doing so, he confronts the terror that comes with this recognition of time’s unrelenting passage and its indifference towards the lives it touches with a destroying hand. Accompanied by the lady during this revelation, his fear is gradually converted into acceptance and contentment, as he discovers that it may be “in this continuity, this utter indifference to the life and death of each [person] that lies hidden the pledge of [his] eternal salvation”. While in the...
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