“If a man (or woman, my insert) hasn’t discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
“Love is everything it’s cracked up to be…. It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for.” – Erica Jong.
So thought Anna Karenina and she lived it!
Just saw the movie which I found a bit convoluted but creatively done. Bravo to Tolstoy, again… He understood relationships in all their varied tapestries and his struggle with political systems is well presented. Heaven help the person who is not confronted with ambivalence throughout life… let alone exploring new ideas.
At any rate Tolstoy understands women in a unique way and had the fabulous talent to write about it in his novel.
There are several relationships shown in the film. There is the brother of Anna, Stiva who has an affair and Anna helps his wife Dolly forgive him and go on with the marriage. Stiva says he loves his wife. A love not uncommon with many couples, especially those that were, or are not capable of an intense passionate relationship.
Then there is Levin’s brother, a poor man, who found love with a woman from another culture and is not married to her. In his illness and subsequent death she is caringly there, truly deeply connected to him.
The third pair is Levin who believes in working the land and finding happiness in nature and his true love, Kitty.
He has loved her and wanted to be with her from the start but she is infatuated with Vronsky who rejects her. As a result she has to move on and in time falls for Levin whom she later marries. A sweet romance.
But the primary pair or trio is Anna, her husband Karenin, and Vronsky who becomes her lover.
You probably know the story. Husband is a bit older, successful and wealthy, and takes care of her and their son. She leads a social and vacuous life, devoid of passion.
She meets Vronsky, young, dashing and capable of love joined with passion and they ignite.
“Desire is half of life, indifference is half of death.” – Kahlil Gibran.
They have that thing all poets, song writers, and people who have experienced real love know about; true ecstasy!
Nothing, and I mean nothing, ever comes close or holds a candle to those feelings.
I can remember my own parents, (who started out with true love I was told), as they grew older, when I said I thought they should have divorced long ago my father responded, “We are devoted to one another.” I thought, “Kill me now!”
Which is one of the reasons I do what I do, and also write this blog.
The really scary part is that almost all of us repeat the emotional quality of our parents’ marriage, in a first marriage or others if we have not changed or gained insight; no matter what. That’s what we know and think is correct and feels right. And scarier still is the hope to not repeat it and choosing someone very different only to learn that this is alien and often even worse!
So, back to Anna. She has Vronsky’s baby, a girl, and then they have their difficulties with her believing he is unfaithful to her.
Tolstoy really gets women and their emotional needs, when in the beginning of her love affair she asks him, (when in bed), if he loves her. He says he does and displays it. That is followed by what any woman worth her salt would say, “How much?” It’s perfect. Women must be adored and the sole keeper of his heart from his birth on to be the kind of lover Anna is. Take my word, the best of us become idiots when in that situation!
In the end she sees no way out and you know what she does… throws herself in front of a train.
So, would you die for love? Maybe not physically, but every lover knows what death FEELS like when there is the fear or true loss of that kind of love.
“You call it madness, but I call it love” – Don Byas