Anna Karenina Part 4, Chapter 3 Summary
by Leo Tolstoy

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Part 4, Chapter 3 Summary

Vronsky is ashamed to tell Anna Karenina he was late because he overslept, so he tells her he had to make a report about the prince’s departure and is glad the ordeal with the visiting royal is now finished. Anna Karenina picks up her crochet work and studiously avoids looking at Vronsky as she tells him she heard from one of her friends about the evenings of debauchery he spent with the prince. When he protests that he was equally sickened by the activities he was forced to arrange (in part because he was reminded of his former self), Anna Karenina begins a jealous tirade. She tells him that he and all men are disgusting and that she has no way of knowing anything except what he tells her and cannot know whether he is telling her the truth.

When Vronsky pleads his case, asserting that he would lay bare his every thought to her, Anna Karenina is somewhat mollified and says she believes him but she is utterly wretched. Vronsky is horrified by these violent fits of jealousy, which have been happening much more frequently, and they make him feel cold toward her. He has long told himself that her love was his happiness, but he is farther from true happiness with her now than when he first followed her from Moscow. Then, he had been unhappy but felt that happiness was before him; now, he feels as if his happiest days are behind him.

Anna Karenina has changed for the worse in every way, and he feels as if he has picked a faded flower; however, he knows what binds her to him cannot be broken. Anna Karenina again begins talking about the prince’s activities and again works her inevitable way to jealousy, though she claims not to be jealous; only when she is not with him does she begin to imagine things Vronsky might be doing.

Vronsky says he cannot understand how Alexey Alexandrovitch can accept such an insult as they are inflicting upon him. Anna Karenina sneers and claims her husband is well satisfied with their arrangement, even calling her ma chere . He is not a man...

(The entire section is 549 words.)