Anna Karenina Quotes: Love & Tragedy

Anna Karenina is a classic novel by Leo Tolstoy that tells the story of a tragic love affair between the married Anna and the dashing Count Vronsky.

The novel explores themes such as love, marriage, family, society, morality, and happiness. It is widely regarded as one of the greatest works of literature ever written.

One of the most memorable aspects of Anna Karenina is the richness and depth of its characters, who express their thoughts and feelings in eloquent and poignant words.

The novel is full of memorable quotes that capture the essence of the characters and their situations. Here are some of the best Anna Karenina quotes by Leo Tolstoy:

– “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

This is the famous opening sentence of the novel, which sets the tone for the contrast between the happy and stable marriage of Levin and Kitty, and the unhappy and turbulent affair of Anna and Vronsky.

– “If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content.”

This quote reflects the dissatisfaction and restlessness of Anna, who is unable to find happiness in her marriage with Karenin, or in her relationship with Vronsky. She is constantly tormented by jealousy, guilt, and fear.

– “I think… if it is true that there are as many minds as there are heads, then there are as many kinds of love as there are hearts.”

This quote shows the diversity and complexity of love, as experienced by different characters in the novel. For example, Levin’s love for Kitty is pure and faithful, while Vronsky’s love for Anna is passionate and reckless.

– “He stepped down, trying not to look long at her, as if she were the sun, yet he saw her, like the sun, even without looking.”

This quote describes the first encounter between Anna and Vronsky when he is mesmerized by her beauty and grace. He compares her to the sun, which is both dazzling and dangerous.

– “Respect was invented to cover the empty place where love should be.”

This quote reveals the cold and formal nature of Anna’s marriage with Karenin, who is a respectable and influential politician but lacks warmth and affection.

Anna feels no love for him, and he only respects her as his wife and the mother of his son.

– “Spring is the time of plans and projects.”

This quote reflects the optimism and hope of Levin, who is a landowner and a farmer and loves the countryside and nature.

He is inspired by the arrival of spring, which symbolizes renewal and growth. He makes plans to improve his estate and to propose to Kitty.

– “Is it really possible to tell someone else what one feels?”

This quote expresses the difficulty and frustration of communication, especially when it comes to matters of the heart. Anna feels isolated and misunderstood by everyone around her, and she cannot confide in anyone about her feelings for Vronsky.

– “Rummaging in our souls, we often dig up something that ought to have lain there unnoticed.”

This quote suggests that sometimes it is better to leave some things buried in our subconscious, rather than bringing them to the surface and confronting them.

Anna’s affair with Vronsky awakens her dormant desires and emotions but also unleashes her inner demons and conflicts.

– “I’ve always loved you, and when you love someone, you love the whole person, just as he or she is, and not as you would like them to be.”

This quote is said by Dolly, Kitty’s sister, who is married to Stiva, Anna’s brother. Dolly is a loyal and devoted wife, who forgives Stiva’s infidelity and accepts him as he is, despite his flaws and weaknesses.

She contrasts with Anna, who is unable to accept Vronsky’s imperfections and demands more from him.

– “Be bad, but at least don’t be a liar, a deceiver!”

This quote is said by Anna to Vronsky when she accuses him of lying and cheating on her. She is driven by paranoia and insecurity, and she does not trust him.

She is also aware of her own hypocrisy, as she is a liar and a deceiver herself, having betrayed her husband and son for Vronsky.

These are just some of the many brilliant and insightful quotes from Anna Karenina, a novel that explores the human condition and the consequences of our choices.