The Kreutzer Sonata
The Kreutzer Sonata, named after Beethoven's violin sonata no. 9, is a novella written by Leo Tolstoy in 1889. As the anti-hero, Pozdnyshev, relays his life story to the audience on the train, he introduces a conflict between human nature and spirituality, what one is versus what one should strive to be, and challenges the corruptive influences of society. While Pozdnyshev comes to controversial generalizations about women, love, and marriage, the purpose behind his story is to serve as a warning to others and ultimately to protect women from exploitation and to better mankind.
The structure of the novella lends credence to Pozdnyshev's revelations; the first two-thirds of the novel are his reflections on the cause of his state of mind that led to the murder of his wife. His moralizations are both a consequence of the event and serve as preparation to understand the event as he relays it in the last third of the novella. Before describing "the abyss of delusions in which we live concerning women and our relations toward them," Pozdnyshev points out that it is "not because of the 'episode,' as he termed it, which occurred to me in connection therewith, but because ever since it took place, my eyes have been opened, and I see things in quite a different light" (74). Even though during the telling of the murder, he delves back into his jealousy and contradictory points of view, which portray him as irrational and unreliable, he is describing how he thought at the time of the murder. It is after he killed his wife, during the eleven months he awaited trial in prison, that he found clarity and understanding of his state of mind and began his attack of society's functions and the relations between the sexes.
In the first chapter, the passengers on the train converse about women and love before Pozdnyshev inserts himself into the conversation. This interaction shows that there is societal support for some of his ideas and some truth to his...
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