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Anna Karenina

Leo Tolstoy

Character Analysis Count Vronsky

Implying Vronsky's attractiveness as well as his rigidity, Stiva characterizes him as "a perfect specimen of Petersburg's gilded youth." Despite having intense interests — horse racing, politics, his regiment — Vronsky's life depends on various self-gratifications. He has no inner core of identity as Levin has, for his career depends on winning favors from the "powerful in this world." Though he resigns his commission out of what appears to be his principles and pride, he does so merely to pursue a substitute gratification — his passion for Anna. Vronsky's lack of self-scrutiny means he lacks primary self-responsibility: Thus he is incapable of responsibility to others. It is his limited depth which sets up his conflict with Anna. Lacking a sense of personal significance, he cannot make his love significant. At the end of the novel, Vronsky, now realizing his guilt at Anna's death, faces a life made tragic by his own limited nature.