Anna Karenina: a Different Kind of Love

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Progress is “the development of an individual or society in a direction considered more beneficial than and superior to the previous level (Dictionary.reference.com)”. Anna Karenina, written by Leo Tolstoy, is a book filled with tragedy, love and choices. This novel can be interpreted in several different ways, but the most common interpretation is that Anna’s husband Alexis Karenin represents the old fading traditions in Russia and Count Vronsky, Anna’s lover, represents the progress of Russia; Anna who is torn between choosing her husband and young son and her lover represents Russia itself, faced with the choice between the old traditions and the new “progressive” era. This “progressive” interpretation of Anna Karenina is the best and most accurate understanding of the book because of its meaning, its origination, and the affect it has on the characters.

In Leo Tolstoy’s book Anna Karenina, the theme of “progression” plays a major role throughout the whole of the book. Count Alexis Kirillovich Vronsky, Anna Karenina’s lover, is an officer in the Russian army who is handsome, young, and charming, but morally unstable. When Vronsky first meets Anna he is mesmerized by her beauty and, for him, it is love at first sight; for a while his chief goal in life was to make Anna his own. Vronsky is a significant character throughout the novel because he embodies the modernization and progress of Russia. In contrast, Karenin personifies the old and dying customs of Russia. Because Anna decided to have an affair with Vronsky, she symbolizes Russia struggling while choosing between the old, Karenin, and the new, Vronsky. Because Anna chose Vronsky, at least at first, and forsook Karenin, or the old ways, she fell to ruin. As a result of her choices, Anna went mad with uncertainty; because she committed adultery, she began to doubt Vronsky’s faithfulness to her. Soon, Anna became wholly dependent of Vronsky, so much that he grew tired of her, believing that her new way...
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