Count Alexei Kirillovich Vronsky: A wealthy and dashing military officer whose love for Anna prompts her to desert her husband and son. Vronsky is passionate and caring toward Anna but clearly disappointed when their affair forces him to give up his dreams of career advancement. Vronsky, whom Tolstoy originally modeled on the Romantic heroes of an earlier age of literature, has something of the idealistic loner in him. Yet there is a dark spot at the core of his personality, as if Tolstoy refuses to let us get too close to Vronsky’s true nature. Indeed, Tolstoy gives us far less access to Vronsky’s thoughts than to other major characters in the novel. We can never quite forget Vronsky’s early jilting of Kitty Shcherbatskaya, and we wonder whether he feels guilt about nearly ruining her life. Even so, Vronsky is more saintly than demonic at the end of the novel, and his treatment of Anna is impeccable, even if his feelings toward her cool a bit.
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