About Love by Anton Chekhov: Summary

Anton Chekhov's 'About Love' is narrated from the perspective of Paval Konstantinovich alias Alyohin, the protagonist of the story. It starts with two unmatched love stories of Nikanor and Pelageya and of Alyohin and a Moscow girl. Nikanor is a cook and Pelageya is the servant in Alyohin's house.

Anton P. Chekhov(1860-1904)

According to Alyohin, Pelageya loved Nikanor but Pelageya did not want to marry him instead she was ready to live with him just so. In the contrary Nikanor; the cook was deeply religious and therefore he was ready to live with her if she married him.

In this story we read the dynamics of romantic love almost at Platonic level. It tries to show that ‘love’ as such is not bound by marital relations.

Alyohin was an educated man, but his father had taken a lot of money to teach him. Therefore, he, like a responsible person, decided to stay in his village to pay off all the debt. For that he himself worked on the farmland, though he didn’t enjoy that work. In the mean time, he was elected a judge of the circuit court of Russia. This made him a frequent visitor of the town and in that process, he made a lot of friends. The best among them was Luganovich, the vice president of the same court.

One day Luganovich invited him to dinner and there he met Anna, the wife of Luganovich. At the first sight they got fascinated by each other. After that, whenever Alyohin visited the town he would make that a point to visit Luganoviches. That also provided Anna and Alyohin pass much time and talk in private. They also used to go to the theatre together. They both realized that they loved each other but were not able to express it verbally for some reasons.

Alyohin was very close to Luganovich too. He knew that everybody in the family, including servants had a respectable opinion about him. Besides that he also knew that it would be very difficult for them to start a new life with Anna. He became the prisoner of his own rationality and reason. Therefore, he never expressed his love and let the things happen in the way it happened.

However, the time for separation also came into their life. Luganovich was transferred to a western province. It was decided Anna would be first to leave the place and later another family members would join her. At her departure, Alyohin got a chance to sneak into the compartment just before the train left. At this critical moment they could not resist their feelings and expressed their love. They hugged and kissed each other passionately for the first time and separated for ever.

Literary Spotlight

Biography of Anton Chekhov