Anna Karenina Part 5, Chapter 33 Summary
by Leo Tolstoy

Start Your Free Trial

Download Anna Karenina Study Guide

Subscribe Now

Part 5, Chapter 33 Summary

For the first time, Vronsky feels anger—almost hatred—toward Anna Karenina for willfully refusing to understand her own position. This anger is aggravated by his own inability to tell her what he is thinking: that she will be issuing an open challenge to society which will cut her off from it forever. He wonders how she cannot see this obvious truth for herself. His respect for her has diminished while his appreciation of her beauty has intensified. Vronsky goes down to his room and paces, thinking about everyone in society who will be at the theater tonight; from every point of view, Anna Karenina’s going is “stupid.” In despair, he wonders why she is determined to put him in this position.

He leaves for the opera at half-past eight. The performance is well underway, and Vronsky is treated with deference by the servants at the theater. Tonight he is even less interested than usual in the sights and sounds surrounding him—it is the same ladies accompanied by the same officers listening to the same music. Vronsky has not yet seen Anna Karenina, but he knows where she is by the direction of everyone’s eyes.

Fearing the worst, he begins to look discreetly around for Alexey Alexandrovitch; Vronsky is relieved to see not to see him. As he chats with s few of his military friends, Vronsky sees Anna Karenina and knows immediately that something has caused her to strain with everything in her to maintain the appearance of normalcy. The cause of her distress appears to be emanating from the box next to hers. The Kartsovas are well acquainted with her, but now the wife is putting on her fur and walking out of her box in great agitation while the husband tries desperately to catch Anna Karenina’s gaze so he can bow to her before leaving. She assiduously avoids looking at him, though, and he eventually follows his wife out of their box.

Vronsky does not know exactly what happened, but he is seized with a pang of agonizing anxiety; hoping to...

(The entire section is 532 words.)