What are some famous lines or thoughts from Anna Karénina by Leo Tolstoy, and what philosophy do they agree with?

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Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of Tolstoy's philosophies was that he tried (and his characters often try) to live by the Golden Rule.  He said so quite literally in "Confessions" :

What am I? A part of the infinite. It is indeed in these words that the whole problem lies.
... And the cause of everything is that which we call God. To know God and to live is the same thing. God is Life.
.. True religion is that relationship, in accordance with reason and knowledge, which man establishes with the infinite world around him, and which binds his life to that infinity and guides his actions .. and leads to the practical rules of the law: do to others as you would have them do unto you.

There are numerous famous lines in this novel. Perhaps the one cited most frequently is the opening line of the work:

"All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."

Some other quotes include:

"Do this for me: never say such words to me, and let us be good friends.' These were her words, but her eyes said something different."

Here, Anna is reacting to Vronsky's repeated declarations of love. Although she denies him verbally, her body language betrays her true feelings.

And of course, there are these infamous words of Anna's, that she yells at Vronsky after a brutal fight, toward the end of the novel:

"You...you will repent of this!"

The lines are significant because shortly after their argument, Anna flings herself under a train. Vronsky recalls her bitter words in sorrow.

Read the study guide:
Anna Karenina

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