The Kreutzer Sonata

by Leo Tolstoy

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Why is harmonious cohabitation challenging for men and women in "The Kreutzer Sonata"?

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While it may be correct that the idea of chastity in marriage is far-fetched, it is true nevertheless that many married couples end up hating each other. Tolstoy says in "The Kreutzer Sonata" that he and his wife were like two convicts held together by a chain and both hating each other because they were chained together and unable to separate because of the chain. In his day it was extremely difficult for people to get divorced. Now it is easy, and about half the marriages in America end in divorce. People get married because they are supposedly in love. But there is something about marriage that poisons love. Maybe Tolstoy was right in thinking that it is too much physical intimacy. There must be some reason for it. John Collier's humorous short story "The Chaser," much discussed in eNotes, gives a funny take on the same problem.

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