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Anna Karenina


Anna Karenina Summary

Main Plot

  • Introduction: The novel opens with the famous line, "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way," setting the stage for exploring family dynamics and personal fulfillment.
  • Anna's Affair: Anna Karenina, a beautiful and aristocratic married woman, begins a tumultuous affair with Count Alexei Vronsky, leading to societal scorn and personal turmoil.
  • Levin's Quest: Parallel to Anna's story is Konstantin Levin's journey, a landowner searching for meaning in life and love, eventually finding happiness in marriage and family.

Key Characters

  • Anna Karenina: Central character whose affair with Vronsky and subsequent societal ostracization form the crux of the novel.
  • Count Alexei Vronsky: Anna's lover, a wealthy and charismatic officer.
  • Alexei Karenin: Anna's husband, a high-ranking government official, who struggles with his wife's infidelity.
  • Konstantin Levin: Represents Tolstoy's alter ego, seeking happiness through simple life, work, and love.
  • Kitty Shcherbatskaya: Young woman who navigates her own path to love, ultimately marrying Levin.


  • Love and Infidelity: Examines various forms of love and the consequences of infidelity.
  • Search for Meaning: Characters grapple with existential questions and the search for personal fulfillment.
  • Social Critique: Critiques Russian society, particularly its treatment of women and the peasantry.
  • Fate and Free Will: Explores the tension between characters' choices and societal pressures.


  • Anna's Tragic End: Unable to reconcile her love for Vronsky with the societal condemnation, Anna commits suicide.
  • Levin's Fulfillment: In contrast, Levin finds joy in family life, suggesting Tolstoy's belief in the redemptive power of love and the simple life.