Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina

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Princess Darya (Dolly) Alexandrovna Oblonsky Character Analysis

Oblonsky’s wife, Kitty’s sister, and Anna’s sister-in-law, the long-suffering Dolly has perhaps the most realistic version of marriage and motherhood that Tolstoy depicts throughout the novel. Dolly is emotional, but ultimately, she takes a pragmatic approach to life. At the very beginning of the book, she must cope with Oblonsky’s adultery; although she is furious and nearly hysterical, she rallies and pulls herself together for the sake of her children. Dolly is always plagued with money troubles: Oblonsky’s lavish ways stretch their modest means, so she is the one who must figure out how to make ends meet. Dolly is one of the few characters to remain loyal to and sympathetic with Anna throughout. Even though Dolly’s married life is by no means perfect, she makes her choices for the sake of her family, and she ultimately seems to be content with her life.

Princess Darya (Dolly) Alexandrovna Oblonsky Quotes in Anna Karenina

The Anna Karenina quotes below are all either spoken by Princess Darya (Dolly) Alexandrovna Oblonsky or refer to Princess Darya (Dolly) Alexandrovna Oblonsky. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Marriage and Family Life  Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Viking edition of Anna Karenina published in 2000.
Part 6, Chapter 16 Quotes

But even without looking in the mirror she thought it was still not too late. She remembered Sergei Ivanovich, who was especially amiable to her, and Stiva’s friend, the kindly Turovtsyn, who had helped her take care of her children when they had scarlet fever and was in love with her. And there was also one quite young man who, as her husband had told her jokingly, found her the most beautiful of all the sisters. And Darya Alexandrovna pictured the most passionate and impossible love affairs.

Related Characters: Princess Darya (Dolly) Alexandrovna Oblonsky (speaker), Prince Stepan (Stiva) Arkadyevich Oblonsky
Page Number: 608
Explanation and Analysis:

Dolly has made the choices in life that uphold her reputation and her husband’s reputation in society. When Oblonsky cheated on her, she did not leave him. Instead of having an affair or getting a divorce, she chose to save their marriage, remain faithful, and maintain their social status. Even though Dolly has made what society would deem to be the proper choice, she views Anna’s sexual prowess with envy and jealousy. Dolly wonders if she has squandered her youth and her ability to make men fall in love with her. Rather than chastising Anna, Dolly projects herself into Anna’s position.

Though Anna seems to have taken the less moral road, and though Dolly has made the choices that seem more ethically upstanding, Dolly has not found happiness. Dolly romanticizes Anna’s choice of love over societal conventions, and she imagines a glamorous fantasy of herself as a woman to be worshipped and desired by men. The difference between Dolly’s fantasy and Anna’s, however, is that Dolly’s vision of herself as having a wonderfully romantic affair remains squarely in the imagination, whereas Anna turns her love affair into reality. Even though Dolly gets to have all the benefits of her fantasy without any of the drawbacks of dealing with the negative repercussions of real life, she doesn’t get the pleasures of real life, either—while Anna, for her part, turns her fantasy into reality, and experiences all the not-so-romantic consequences.

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Princess Darya (Dolly) Alexandrovna Oblonsky Character Timeline in Anna Karenina

The timeline below shows where the character Princess Darya (Dolly) Alexandrovna Oblonsky appears in Anna Karenina. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 1
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...Stiva Oblonsky has been having an affair with the children’s former governess, and his wife, Dolly, has found out and has announced that she will not live in the same house... (full context)
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Ever since the fight, Dolly has refused to leave her rooms. On the third day after the quarrel, Oblonsky wakes... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 2
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...sleeping with the governess had taken things a bit too far, he is surprised that Dolly should be so shocked. (full context)
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...sister, Anna, is coming to visit, which delights everyone: perhaps Anna will help Oblonsky and Dolly reconcile. The servants know all about the domestic quarrel, and even though they know Oblonsky... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 4
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Dolly is in the middle of packing, but she is so upset and anxious that she... (full context)
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...look penitent and guilty, but he can’t help but radiate health and kindness. Oblonsky asks Dolly to forgive him, but Dolly realizes that he does not love her: he only pities... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 5
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...Oblonsky how the Shcherbatskys––Oblonsky’s in-laws––are doing. Oblonsky knows that Levin is in love with Kitty, Dolly’s younger sister. (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 6
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...and fell in love with the whole family. He began to fall in love with Dolly, the eldest sister, but she married Oblonsky. Then, he began to fall in love with... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 19
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Ever since she found out about Oblonsky’s affair, Dolly has remained alone with her children, isolating herself from society. Nevertheless, she has prepared the... (full context)
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Dolly tells Anna that she never thought that Oblonsky could be unfaithful. The worst part of... (full context)
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Anna convinces Dolly to forgive Oblonsky if Dolly still has love in her heart. Dolly asks Anna if... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 20
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Anna spends the whole day with Dolly and insists that Oblonsky dine at home. There is potential for reconciliation. After dinner, Kitty... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 21
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Dolly and Oblonsky seem to have reconciled. Everyone has tea. Anna goes to her room to... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 28
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The morning after the ball, Anna makes arrangements to leave Moscow for Petersburg. Dolly’s children, who previously adored Anna, have intuitively and inexplicably started to ignore her. Dolly asks... (full context)
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Anna tells Dolly that Kitty is jealous of Anna because of Vronsky’s attentions to Anna at the ball,... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 2
Dolly has recently given birth to a daughter, and another child has fallen ill. Dolly is... (full context)
...might cure Kitty, the Prince blames his wife for trusting Vronsky in the first place. Dolly believes that Kitty is so unhappy because she refused Levin and trusted Vronsky. (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 3
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Kitty’s room is cheerful, pink, and filled with dolls. When Dolly asks about Kitty’s relationship with Vronsky, at first Kitty bitterly cries that she could never... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 6
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...late supper, and Koznyshev gives Levin a letter from Oblonsky, which asks Levin to help Dolly on her country estate. Koznyshev tells Levin that he solved two chess problems that day. (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 7
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Oblonsky is in Petersburg, and Dolly has moved with the children to their country estate for the summer. Although Oblonsky was... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 8
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Dolly decides to take her children to communion to set a good example for them, and... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 9
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Dolly and the children return from the bathing house to find that Levin has arrived. Although... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 10
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Dolly broaches the subject of Kitty, and Levin’s hope begins to re-emerge. Dolly thinks that Kitty’s... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 24
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...and he wants to see her but cannot. He refuses to be Kitty’s second choice. Dolly tries to scheme a meeting between them by asking Levin to bring over a side-saddle,... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 6
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...to investigate the matter himself. On the way, he stops in Moscow, where Oblonsky and Dolly see him in the street. They invite him over for dinner. Karenin is awkward and... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 8
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...is starting divorce proceedings against Anna. Oblonsky insists that Karenin talk the matter over with Dolly, and Karenin finally agrees, also agreeing to come to dinner. They talk about Oblonsky’s superior,... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 11
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...saw her the year before in a carriage; they discuss a society man who helped Dolly when her children had scarlet fever. (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 12
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After dinner, the men’s conversation turns to infidelity, which makes Karenin uncomfortable. He and Dolly have a private discussion, and she begs him to talk to her about Anna. Karenin... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 17
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After the dinner party, Karenin broods over the interaction with Dolly and the conversation about infidelity, in particular one man’s praise of dueling. A valet brings... (full context)
Part 5, Chapter 5
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...they agree that Kitty does not look well, but that Levin does not deserve her. Dolly recalls other beautiful weddings of first innocent love, including her own and Anna’s. (full context)
Part 5, Chapter 16
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At tea, Kitty reads a letter from Dolly. Levin has a letter from Marya, Nikolai’s on-again mistress, saying that Nikolai is very ill.... (full context)
Part 6, Chapter 1
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Dolly and Oblonsky’s country house has fallen apart due to lack of money and attention, Dolly... (full context)
Part 6, Chapter 2
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The women are making jam, and they chat about their marriage proposals. Dolly says that Kitty was lucky that Vronsky met Anna, while this event was unfortunate for... (full context)
Part 6, Chapter 15
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Levin finds Dolly, who is punishing her daughter for some misdemeanor. Dolly says that everyone has noticed that... (full context)
Part 6, Chapter 16
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Dolly goes to see Anna, using Levin’s carriage (Levin insists, as a good host). During the... (full context)
Part 6, Chapter 17
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...direction, four people on horseback appear: Anna, Vronsky, Veslovsky, and Princess Varvara (Anna’s elderly aunt). Dolly is at first slightly taken aback to see Anna, a mature woman, on horseback. Anna... (full context)
Part 6, Chapter 18
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Anna looks at Dolly’s thin face, with dust caught in its wrinkles, and remembers that she herself has become... (full context)
Part 6, Chapter 19
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The maid who comes to help Dolly dress for dinner is more fashionably attired than she is, and Dolly feels ashamed of... (full context)
Part 6, Chapter 20
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Princess Varvara speaks to Dolly in a very patronizing, condescending manner; she happily condones Anna and Vronsky’s relationship. Dolly recognizes... (full context)
Part 6, Chapter 21
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Vronsky asks Dolly to speak with him. He wants to legalize his arrangement with Anna; if they have... (full context)
Part 6, Chapter 22
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They all change for dinner, though Dolly is already wearing her best dress. The dinner is extremely luxurious and formal. Dolly realizes... (full context)
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When the conversation turns to Levin, Dolly defends him. Vronsky has many responsibilities in government, to Anna’s chagrin. Dolly feels uncomfortable during... (full context)
Part 6, Chapter 23
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When Dolly is about to go to bed, Anna comes in to talk about everything she had... (full context)
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Dolly raises the topic of divorce. There is an ellipsis in the text, during which Anna... (full context)
Part 6, Chapter 24
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Dolly continues to insist that divorce is necessary and that they should have a legal bond.... (full context)
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The next morning, Dolly returns to Levin’s estate. During the ride home, her servants agree with her that the... (full context)
Part 6, Chapter 31
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...who has not been elected—are celebratory. The men send celebratory telegrams; Oblonsky sends one to Dolly, whose only thought upon receiving it is to muse ruefully about the telegram’s extravagant cost. (full context)
Part 7, Chapter 2
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...and Kitty says she is not afraid to have her baby. Kitty notes also that Dolly is completely in debt. (full context)
Part 7, Chapter 9
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...on for months; even Princess Varvara, the notorious sponger, has left, finding the situation improper. Dolly is Anna’s only female visitor. To keep herself busy, Anna has been writing a children’s... (full context)
Part 7, Chapter 27
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Anna’s maid reminds Anna that she had wanted to go to Dolly’s, but Anna is still distracted, waiting for Vronsky. The servant returns, holding Anna’s note: he... (full context)
Part 7, Chapter 28
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As Anna travels to Dolly’s house, her rambling musings and thoughts are extremely disconnected and disjointed: the past mingles with... (full context)
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Kitty is also visiting, but Dolly comes out alone to receive Anna. Anna asks to read the letter that Karenin sent... (full context)
Part 8, Chapter 2
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...leaving to visit Levin at Levin’s country place. Oblonsky tells Koznyshev to say hello to Dolly and to tell her that he’s been appointed to the post that he’d wanted; he... (full context)
Part 8, Chapter 7
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...good because of all his help with the Oblonskys’ financial strain: he persuaded the desperate Dolly to sell part of her estate rather than divorce Oblonsky. (full context)
Part 8, Chapter 13
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Levin remembers watching Dolly’s children gleefully roasting raspberries and squirting milk, thus wasting the food, and compares this shortsighted... (full context)
Part 8, Chapter 14
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...snaps at the coachman. When he returns to the house, he sees Koznyshev, Katavasov, and Dolly; Kitty has taken Mitya, the baby, to the forest because of the heat in the... (full context)
Part 8, Chapter 15
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They talk about the Serbian war; Dolly mentions that Vronsky is volunteering for the cause. The old Prince is skeptical of the... (full context)