Essay about Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Essay about Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

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“Sometimes [one should be] terrified of [the] heart; of its constant hunger for whatever it is it wants (Edgar Allen Poe). Endeavors of the heart may be the most dangerous of all, resulting in dismay. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy follows the lives of several families who live in 18th century Russia, each coming from different social groups and classes. The story begins with Anna’s brother Stiva Oblonsky, who is caught having an affair. As a result of this discovery, Anna must leave her family in St. Petersburg, and go to Moscow in attempt to mend her brother’s broken marriage. While in Moscow Anna meets Count Vronsky, an eligible young bachelor that Anna’s sister in- law Kitty is taken with. Unable to supress her love, Anna has an affair with Vronsky. Furthermore, a love triangle develops adding Levin, a childhood friend of Kitty into the toxic combination rendering him hopelessly in love with Kitty. Although all the characters commit wrongful acts, only a few are penalized and the judgement they receive from society is unjust. In the novel Anna Karenina, the presence of love and lust serves as a catalyst for chaos within the backdrop of a misogynistic society, with discrimination baring the way for the characters progression in social status.
As a result of the protagonist’s overbearing personality, the characters allow the urge for love to destroy them. In relation to Vronsky and Anna’s relationship every move they make is intensified, thus, causing a distance between the two. When the relationship becomes more intimate Vronsky is angry with Anna’s “fits of jealousy, which of late had been more and more frequent with her [and they] horrified him and however much he tried to disguise the fact, made him feel cold to her” (Tolstoy,...


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... and despair of many. Firstly, the characters strong and unswaying personalities make it difficult for them to fully indulge themselves in society leaving them ostracized. Also, the views of 18th century Russia allows for discrimination to occur for those who obtain unorthodox views. Lastly, all the pressures from society cause conflicts between characters which make it difficult for them to focus on their social standings. The misogyny within high society Russia casts strains on love, resulting in dismay and heartache, which is felt by all the characters. If society is unable to work past discrimination the world will undeniably be stagnant in terms of advancements in equal rights.



Works Cited

Tolstoy, Leo. “Anna Karenina". Toronto: Random House, Inc., 1994. Print.
Poe, Edgar Allan. "Edgar Allan Poe." Famous Quotes at BrainyQuote. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Sept. 2013.

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