Anna Karenina

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Anna Karenina Leeann Ho In Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, the central character, Anna Karenina, is internally conflicted by the differing directions of her obligations and desires. Her chief obligation is to be a dutiful wife and mother to her husband, Alexei Karenin, and her son, Seryozha. Her commitment to this obligation is tested when she meets the young Count Vronsky and falls in love. This turns into an affair that tears Anna’s conscience apart. In the end Anna has to choose between duty and love, and the process that leads up to her choice is especially painful for her.

Despite the fact that Anna commits adultery, her character is pure of heart and sincere. She hated herself for living a life of lies and deceit, and this ultimately led to her decision to abandon her husband and son, who she loved especially. Her heart would not allow her to continue living without feeling. She also hated the fact that although her husband knew about her infidelity, he was only concerned that she keep up an impression of propriety. Her husband on the other hand saw himself as her only hope of salvation. He wanted to steer her back to the road of moral rightness and considered this his duty, and he was a man of duty. Anna herself was very distressed about the moral wrongness of her actions, but she was a woman who followed her heart mostly. She could not live in unhappiness.

Count Vronsky represented to Anna not just love and happiness, but a new life of independence. She was bored of being an obedient housewife, and Vronsky was a man of energy. Choosing to be Vronsky’s companion not only ostracized Anna from her family, but also from society. As a woman of high society and good upbringing, Anna’s whole life was shaped by the society. As soon as her scandal was official publically, she was cast down by her old society friends and acquaintances as a...
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