In 1873, Tolstoy began to write a new novel – “Anna
Karenina.” The novel “Anna Karenina” was written in the 70s
(1873-1877). Begin to get up questions that already brought him into the
50-60s: questions about the meaning and purpose of life, about the destinies of
the nobility and the people, about the relationship between town and country,
about life and death, about love and happiness, about family and marriage, and
etc. The formulation and solution of these questions constitute the ideological
content of the novel “Anna Karenina.”
The novel unfolds on a broad and complex social background.
Before us are the most diverse layers of Russian society of the 1970s: the
titled aristocracy (princely and county surnames of the Shcherbatsky, Oblonsky,
Vronsky, Serpukhov, Tver, etc.), and the higher bureaucracy of the nobility
(Karenin, Stremov), and the intelligentsia (doctor, lawyer, artist Mikhailov,
nihilist Kritsky, etc.), and the capitalists (Bulgarinov, Malthus, Ryabinin),
and peasants and servants.
The author focuses on noble society. How is it portrayed in
Tolstoy is a great realist. Showing the life of his class,
he sees his shortcomings, approaches him critically, and sometimes even
satirically. The critical stream in the novel is conditioned, undoubtedly, by
the idea of the idea of the subject: the opposition of a morally healthy local
patriarchal environment to an empty and depraved secular society.
The central image of the novel is Anna Karenina, a
representative of the high society of the 70s, the wife of a major St.
Petersburg dignitary. Tolstoy
draws his heroine as a charming, charming woman. But Anna singles out a number
of high society women not so much her appearance, but the complexity and
uniqueness of her mental image.
It is not surprising that in
her heart she had to awaken to the dissatisfaction with the empty secular life.
In addition, she was indifferent to her husband, a man of dry and rational.
The meeting with Vronsky
seemed to awaken Anna. Having sacrificed for Vronsky husband, son, a brilliant
social position, Anna and Vronsky demanded this. That’s why, seeing Vronsky’s
gradual cooling, she naturally comes to the idea of death. “I want love,
but it is not,” Anna thinks. “So it’s over.” The same idea that
everything is over for her, Anna expresses in other words: “Why not put
out the candle when there is nothing more to look at?” And Anna rushes
under the train.
Anna Karenina is a wonderful
image of a whole, immediate woman, a living feeling. But the tragedy of her
position and destiny would be incorrectly explained only by the spontaneity of
her nature. He lies deeper – in the conditions of that social environment that
condemned the woman to public contempt and loneliness.
Alexei Vronsky is the second
of the main characters in the novel. It is one of the most brilliant
representatives of Russia’s high society circles of its time. “Terribly
rich, handsome, big connections, an aide-de-camp, and at the same time a very
nice, kind fellow. But more than just a good fellow … he is educated, and
very smart “- so describes Vronsky Steve Oblonsky. Count Vronsky leads a
way of life typical of a young, wealthy aristocrat. He serves in one of the
Guards regiments, spends forty-five thousand rubles a year, is very fond of his
comrades, and in everything shares the views and habits of his aristocratic
Falling in love with Anna,
Vronsky understood how badly he had lived before, understood that he must
change the usual way of his life. By sacrificing ambition and freedom, he
retires, parting with the usual secular environment and begins to look for new
forms of life. Moral restructuring Vronsky, however, did not lead him to the
exit, which would give him complete peace of mind and satisfaction. Shocked by
Anna’s suicide and internally devastated, he himself begins to seek death and
leaves as a volunteer for the war in Serbia.
Thus, the conflict with the
social environment in which Vronsky was indirectly implicated, linking his fate
with Anna, and he led to a life catastrophe.
In the novel “Anna
Karenina” Tolstoy acts not only as a great artist, but also as a moral
philosopher and social reformer. He puts in the novel a number of questions
that concerned him in an era when in Russia “everything turned
around” and just began to fit. Among these questions, two particularly
attracted the attention of Tolstoy: the question of the position of women in
the family and society and the question of the role of the noble class in the
country and its prospects.
Tolstoy treats the image of
Anna Karenina in terms of posing the “family problem”.
Tolstoy condemns Anna not
because she, with all the boldness of a strong and direct person, challenged a
hypocritical secular society, but because she dared to destroy her family for
the sake of her personal feelings.
Tolstoy calls on the nobility
to abandon the immoral, empty and unhealthy urban life threatening with ruin
and degeneracy, and turn to its basic, primordial cause – the organization of
agriculture on terms that reconcile the interests of the peasant and landlord.
The novel is written by the
hand of a brilliant master. The depth of the psychological depiction of the
images, the subtlety and originality of portrait painting, the striking skill
of the landscape, the charm of the artistic simplicity of the language, realism
in depicting everyday life – all this makes the novel one of the greatest
artistic works of Russian literature.