Anna Karenina Questions and Answers
by Leo Tolstoy

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What happened to Vronsky after Anna's death in Anna Karenina?

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Count Vronsky, the love interest of the tragic main character Anna, in the novel Anna Karenina enters a stage of deep grief and mourning after her suicide. It is hard to ascertain whether his grief is caused by the guilt he feels knowing that he was the cause of her misfortunes, or whether he is actually mourning his great love, lost.

However, it is evident that her death creates a series of events in Vronsky's life that are a consequence of his deep sadness. First, his pain renders him almost unable to be proactive. He is almost paralyzed with grief, and is clearly trying to understand the situation.

Second, he turns his daughter to the custody of Karenin, Anna's estranged husband. He basically sees that his life belongs in the Army, where his heart and career have always been.  In giving his daughter to Karenin, he is also returning to him (in their own peculiar way) the dignity that Vronsky took away from the man when he courted, impregnated, and eloped with his wife.

Finally, we see that Vronsky returns to the battlefield where it is understood that he will eventually die. It is a way for him to return to his origins the way that Anna returned to that one moment when she saw a man die in the railroad tracks: The two events which shaped the lives of both Anna and Vronsky repeat themselves and decide the fate of their deaths.

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costa86 | Student

In Anna Karenina, Tolstoy provides the reader with many examples of duality. When Count Vronsky and Anna Karenina first meet, both are imbued with a sense of boldness, excitement and passion. As the novel progresses, Anna becomes disillusioned in her affair with Vronsky, leading to depression, hallucinations and her eventual suicide. After her death, Vronsky sinks into a depression mirroring Anna's own. He willingly surrenders his only child, a daughter, to Karenin, Anna's estranged husband. Earlier in the novel, Anna leaves her own son in order to pursue her affair with Vronsky. Both characters must sacrifice something or someone they love in order to pursue their illicit love of one another. By giving up his only daughter and sole remaining tie to Anna, Vronsky parallels Anna's own journey.

Vronsky eventually decides to return to the battlefield where death is imminent. Tolstoy's two tragic lovers ultimately pay a heavy price for their actions: neither is able to find freedom other than in death.

Based on the constrictions of 19th-century Russian society, this may be the only place Vronsky and Anna feel they can atone for their guilt and bring finality to their tragic affair. By deciding their own fates, Tolstoy brings Vronsky and Anna full circle: each character's early boldness in love mirrors their tragic boldness in choosing their own demise.

thewanderlust878 | Student

Immediately following Anna's death, Vronsky falls into a state of deep grief, regret, remorse, and depression, all rolled into one. It can be inferred that Vronsky partially blames himself for what happens to Anna, which is where the remorse and regret come in. He also ends up giving his daughter to Karenin, where he and Anna's son take care of her. Vronsky knows that he cannot provide young Anna with the best care possible, and having her around reminds him too much of his lover Anna.