English Lamp Posts Top Victorian Blog Award Winner 2011

Brought to you by English Lamp Posts

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Anna's Dream

The Toilet (1860) by John Phillip
She dreamed that both were her husbands at once, that both were lavishing caresses on her. Alexei Alexandrovitch was weeping, kissing her hands, and saying, "How happy we are now!" And Alexei Vronsky was there too, and he too was her husband. And she was marveling that it had once seemed impossible to her, was explaining to them, laughing, that this was ever so much simpler, and that now both of them were happy and contented. But this dream weighed on her like a nightmare, and she awoke from it in terror (Pt. 2, Ch. 11).

Though Anna seems to have completely separated herself from her husband emotionally, she remains attached to him.  A recurring dream presents her as the wife of both Vronsky and Karenin.  The prospect of such an arrangement gladdens Karenin.  The main reason Karenin would like such an arrangement is that he would still be acknowledged by society as her husband.  He would not have a problem with Anna having a lover as long as society does not disapprove and the couple maintains their social standing.  Vronsky would satiate his passionate nature in obtaining the passionate woman he met in Moscow.  Tolstoy mentions that society looks favorably on a single man that carries on an affair with a married woman, so that Vronsky, similarly to Karenin, seeks the approval of society, though in a different fashion.  Interesting enough, both men share the first name Alexei, which signifies not only that they share certain character traits, such as ambition, but also that Anna extracts different needs from both men.  Karenin provides stability within society as well as a son on whom to bestow her maternal talents while Vronsky provides an outlet for her passion.

Nevertheless, Tolstoy, while describing both men as content with such an arrangement, never comments on Anna's satisfaction, except to say that the dream is a nightmare from which she awakens in terror.  Though through such a reality Anna could gratify all her desires and live outside of the judgment of others, she rejects it because her greatest desire is for truth.  She does not want to live falsely and hide her true feelings.  Scorned or not, Anna wants to live in the open and be true to herself.  She, unlike her lovers, places little value on the opinions of others.  She would be ostracized for the truth than accepted for a lie.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts with Thumbnails