“I am a criminal woman, I am a bad woman”

Several scenes have transpired in “Anna Karenina”, involving the conflicted triangle of Anna’s life.  In love, and bearing the child of Vrónsky, she confesses openly to her husband, the nature of her infidelity, and her wish to leave the life with him, despite the fact that it may mean sacrificing her time with her son.

Her husband, Alexei Alexandrovich does not take well to her wishes, and even though all society knows in the back of their minds, what is going on, an open and blatant end to the physical possession of his wife, is more than he can fathom.  She tells him, when they meet again, “I am a criminal woman, I am a bad woman, but I am the same as I said I was then, and I’ve come to tell you that I cannot change anything.”

The question of Alexie’s honor arises, when he responds to her, “I ignore it as long as it is not known to society, as long as my name is not disgraced.”  ‘…that you behave in such a way that neither society nor the servants can possibly accuse you.’ Coldly, he asks her not to see Vrónsky, that she be his wife, without fulfilling certain duties, and that he will not be dining at home that evening.  End of discussion, he walks out of the door.

In the midst of the anguish that Anna is experiencing, what Trotsky would call, having a ‘double soul’, the character of Vrónsky unfolds, gradually, before the eye of the reader. Anna, in love with this man, who is concerned foremost, with his military career, and adeptness at his equestrian sport, is blind to the opportunistic nature of her suitor.  She only sees the loving moments she has shared with him, and he with her, on the surface, but we know that his egoism, in the end, is going to get in the way of the true love that he claims he possesses, for her.  The complicated reality of his predicament, in his role as Anna’s lover, begins to take seed in his mind, and his amorous commitment to her, begins to falter slightly, as he is made aware of her unilateral decision to leave her husband.  Vrónsky wonders, if she deserts her husband; Where else is she to go, but with him?