Anna Karenina Questions and Answers
by Leo Tolstoy

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Why did Anna commit suicide ? What the reason behind her suicide ? Did she deserve that ?

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Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy, is first a tragedy , by which is meant “a story about a fall from a high place” In this case the “high place” is the status of Anna and her husband, Karenin, an impending fall caused by her affair with a Count Vronsky, a bachelor (foreshadowed by her brother’s affairs). If the affair is made known, the Karenina family will lose a great deal of their social standing, and with it, economic consequenses). Vronsky and Anna go to Italy together to continue...

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bellaanehe | Student

Tolstoy's Anna Karenina highlights many of Tolstoy's religious and ideological beliefs through the Anna's suicide. A high society, city woman focusing on self- pleasure and indulgence, Anna's suicide beautifully portrays Tolstoy’s disapproval of living life solely to have pleasure and how doing so disjoints one from the world. Anna’s life of passion and love for Vronsky culminates for her where “everything [of her] is in him alone,” (7:XXX:732). As Anna and Vronsky “irresistibly move in different directions,” (7:XXX:763) Anna’s soul and self is severed; all pleasure in her life is lost and she, or what is left of her, can no longer live. She is isolated from her son, her family, and her society, to where those around her “acknowledge her as a ruined woman” (5:XXXIII:543). Her passionate affair leads to an inevitable fragmentation of her self due to pleasure being a bases for life without substantiation. Her unfounded and purposeless life leads to her severance from society and the universe, causing her to commit suicide. As Anna runs to the midpoint of the train she thinks how she will “be rid of everybody and of myself” (7:XXXI:768) and jumps between the train cars, splitting her body to match her severed soul. Anna commits suicide because her pursuit of self-indulgence and pleasure leave her completely isolated and severed from society, family, and purpose.

Whether Anna 'deserved' her fate brings up the complexities of Anna's status as women in Russia's high society during the 19th century. Her suicide can be viewed as both a condemnation or as a means of escape and thus, changes the meaning of it being deserved or not. In Tolstoy's "Letter on Suicide" Tolstoy writes 1) how people commit suicide because people find life unpleasant and 2) People misunderstand their purpose in life as the pursuit of pleasure. Anna Karenina's self-indulging pursuit of pleasure goes in direct conflict with Tolstoy's personal ideology of a moral life and could provide context for her suicide to be interpreted as a cautionary tale against a self-indulging and immoral life.

thewanderlust878 | Student

I believe that Anna committed suicide because she could not handle the stress and other aspects that went along with her high society placement. She also was starting to be looked down upon because of her relations with Vronsky and the child they had together. Her husband also forgave her for a time, but then didnt, but then again, so she was very confused. I do not believe she deserved to die, but considering the time period she felt that it was better to die than be humiliated for the rest of her life.