Comparing and Contrasting Anna Karenina and Madam Bovary

7118 Words Jan 11th, 2013 29 Pages
Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary are two novels written in two different languages, around the same time period (late 1800s). Though they belong to two separate countries and are separated in history by a margin of about twenty five years, their socio political setting, and situational complexities are quite similar.

‘Madam Bovary’ takes us on a journey through the life of the extremely complex character of Emma Bovary, who has adulterous affairs and lives beyond her means in order to escape the banalities and emptiness of provincial life. Raised in a convent, a lover of sensuality, desirous of an expensive urban lifestyle yet not very smart about money, it is this dichotomy of traits that keeps Emma careening from one radically
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The lives of Kitty- Levin, Darya-Oblonsky are seen as foil relationships to that of Anna and Vronsky. Alternatively it could be said that at least in Darya and Oblonsky's case, it provides the reader with a kind of alternate future for Anna had she made different choices, thereby making the pathos of her condition even more evident. Anna Karenina is the tragedy of a woman torn between desire and duty. It begins with Anna’s arrival in the midst of her brother Oblonsky’s family broken up by infidelity. Ironically, it is during this visit to reunite one family that Anna meets that man who will cause the destruction of her own. Vronsky, a handsome bachelor taken by Anna’s charm, pursues her, and after some initial hesitation, she gives in. Their affair becomes known in the circles that they’re associated with, and Anna’s husband Karenin asks her to refrain from defacing their family name in society. Anna, undaunted, continues to pursue her affair with Vronsky, who is willing to marry her if she leaves her husband. Karenin, desperate to maintain his dignity, refuses to divorce Anna. Although Vronsky eventually takes Anna to Europe where they can be together, they have trouble making friends. They come back to Russia, but she is shunned by her former friends, becoming further isolated and anxious, while Vronsky climbs up the social ladder. Despite Vronsky's reassurances she grows