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Effects of Adultery on the Parties Involved in the Works of Chekhov

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Submitted By JoRed
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Effects of adultery on the parties involved in the works of Chekhov

1. Introduction
“In the latter part of the nineteenth century, a type of novel centered on wifely adultery flourished in Continental Europe”.1 Examples include Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlett Letter”, Leo Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina” and Gustav Flaubert’s “Madame Bovary”, but also short stories by the Russian writer Anton Chekhov. The topic of adultery could be explored in many different ways and where most writers focused on the social problems of infidelity, especially when committed by a woman, Chekhov presented the relationships between the lovers and their families. Furthermore, I feel like the characters always give some kind of justification for being unfaithful, may this be a sensible reason or not. Therefore, for the purpose of this paper, I would like to further explore the “justifications” given by the cheating parties, the way it affects their relationships with their spouses and family, but also the role that society plays in the way that they handle their respective affairs. Furthermore, I will take a look at the way in which the characters deal with the guilt that they have, concerning their spouses and personal consequences. For this reason, I will be examining two short stories by Chekhov, “The Grasshopper”, published in 1892 and “The Lady with the Dog” from 1899, as well as the play “Three Sisters” from 1900. Furthermore, I would like to start with a brief look at the socio-historic context that the texts were written, in particular, what women social status was and how it was affected by adultery and give a short overview of three important novels on adultery.

1

Overton, Bill. Fictions of female adultery. 1684-1890: theories and circumtexts. 1st Ed., New York: Palgrave Macmillan 2002, p. 3. 1

2. Adultery in the 19th century in society and the novel
There is a…...

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