Anna Karenina Part 3, Chapter 13 Summary
by Leo Tolstoy

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Part 3, Chapter 13 Summary

Alexey Alexandrovitch is a cold and reasonable man; however, the sight of a woman or a child in tears throws him into a state of nervous agitation. On their way home from the races, his wife told him about her love for Vronsky and immediately dissolved into tears. His rigid expression and reaction reflected his desire to avoid the tears, and he simply let Anna Karenina out of the carriage, telling her he would let her know his decision tomorrow.

Alexey Alexandrovitch’s worst suspicions had been confirmed, and the pang of heartache was tempered by pity for his wife’s tears. After he leaves her, though, he is relieved. It is as if he has long been suffering from a toothache but all at once—admittedly with some severe pain—the poisonous thing has been removed, and he can once again think of something other than the agony. Just that quickly both his wife and son cease to interest him.

Alexey Alexandrovitch easily convinces himself that his wife had always been a “corrupt woman,” though he has nothing particular with which to substantiate that conclusion. Now he is only interested in how to extricate himself most comfortably and with the least impact from Anna Karenina’s shame. Other men have been in this position; now he must make the best of his situation and think about how those men dealt with their circumstances.

One fought a duel, but the thought of exposing himself to such danger reminds him of his youthful tendencies toward cowardice. He knows he would never exercise this option. If he were to kill Vronsky, he would still be trapped with a guilty wife and her child; even more likely is his being senselessly killed or wounded. The entire idea is a cheat, of sorts, for he is confident that his friends would never let such a renowned personage as himself risk his life in a duel.

The next option Alexey Alexandrovitch considers is divorce. Though many of the people in his circle have gotten a divorce, it is not a viable option in achieving his eventual goal. The only way he could win the kind of divorce he...

(The entire section is 556 words.)