Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina


Leo Tolstoy

Teachers and parents! Our Teacher Edition on Anna Karenina makes teaching easy.

Anna Arkadyevna Karenina

Anna is a beautiful, aristocratic, sharply intelligent, intensely charismatic woman. Nearly everyone––male, female, young, old––is magnetically attracted to her, and at the beginning of the novel, she is the brilliant center of society. However, her… read analysis of Anna Arkadyevna Karenina

Count Alexei Kirillovich Vronsky

Vronsky is a dashing young military officer whom Anna falls in love with. Their passionate affair causes Anna to leave her husband, Karenin; eventually, the affair spirals into despair, and Anna commits suicide due… read analysis of Count Alexei Kirillovich Vronsky

Count Alexei Alexandrovich Karenin

Karenin, Anna’s husband, is a high-ranking, wealthy government official. His primary concern throughout the novel is to uphold his reputation in society: he would rather remain in a loveless marriage that appears fine from… read analysis of Count Alexei Alexandrovich Karenin

Prince Stepan (Stiva) Arkadyevich Oblonsky

Anna’s brother and Dolly’s husband, Stiva Oblonsky, is a well-liked, social, merry aristocrat. Even though he has had an affair at the beginning of the novel, and even though his servants know that they… read analysis of Prince Stepan (Stiva) Arkadyevich Oblonsky

Princess Darya (Dolly) Alexandrovna Oblonsky

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… read analysis of Princess Darya (Dolly) Alexandrovna Oblonsky
Get the entire Anna Karenina LitChart as a printable PDF.
Anna Karenina PDF

Konstantin (Kostya) Dmitrich Levin

Levin, the other main protagonist of the novel (besides Anna), is a landowner who is primarily concerned with farming, agricultural, and rural life. He is socially awkward: he feels much more at home… read analysis of Konstantin (Kostya) Dmitrich Levin

Princess Katerina (Kitty) Alexandrovna Shcherbatsky

Kitty, Dolly’s younger sister, is a sensitive, excitable, somewhat high-strung young girl who begins the novel in love with Vronsky. After he rejects her in favor of the dazzling Anna, she spirals… read analysis of Princess Katerina (Kitty) Alexandrovna Shcherbatsky

Nikolai Dmitrich Levin

Levin’s brother, Nikolai, has fallen prey to gambling and alcohol addictions and is quite sick, ultimately dying a protracted death. Though Nikolai has passionate political and intellectual views, they fade into the background… read analysis of Nikolai Dmitrich Levin

Sergei Ivanovich Koznyshev

Koznyshev, Levin and Nikolai’s half-brother, is an intellectual who immerses himself zealously in all the most current political activities. He follows all the intellectual trends and fads rather than developing his own points of… read analysis of Sergei Ivanovich Koznyshev

Sergei Alexeich (Seryozha) Karenin

Anna deeply loves her son, Seryozha, who is her child with Karenin. Anna does not want to give up custody of Seryozha, which she would have to do if she and Karenin officially… read analysis of Sergei Alexeich (Seryozha) Karenin

Princess Betsy Tverskoy

Princess Betsy is the center of Anna’s brilliant, high-class social circle in Petersburg. She is graceful, liked by all, and canny, as she knows all the intricacies of her complicated network. Betsy’s social circle is… read analysis of Princess Betsy Tverskoy

Countess Lydia Ivanovna

Lydia is a sanctimonious, pious, upright woman; she professes to be extremely religious but only uses Christianity for her own self-serving needs. Lydia preys on Karenin, attaching herself to his side when he is… read analysis of Countess Lydia Ivanovna


Serpukhovskoy and Vronsky grew up with parallel lives in the regiment, but Serpukhovskoy has overtaken Vronsky career-wise: while Vronsky was focusing on his affair with Anna, Serpukhovskoy was moving forward with his ambitions. He… read analysis of Serpukhovskoy


Anna and Vronsky’s daughter, Annie, remains a baby; Tolstoy never shows events from Annie’s perspective. Anna loves her son Seryozha more than her daughter: whereas she feels real passion for her son, Anna does… read analysis of Annie
Minor Characters
Prince Shcherbatsky
Kitty, Dolly, and Natalie’s father, the old Prince, never trusts Vronsky, instead much preferring Levin as a match for Kitty. He sees through the hypocrisies of fashionable society.
Princess Shcherbatsky
Kitty, Dolly, and Natalie’s mother, the old Princess, is eager to please fashionable society. She initially prefers Vronsky to Levin and enjoys the finer aspects of life. Unlike her husband, she is somewhat oblivious to hypocrisy.
Kitty’s friend at the German spa. Varenka is humble, loyal, and good. She and Levin’s brother, Koznyshev, almost get engaged, but the moment passes and the potential relationship fizzles.
Petrov is a painter at the German spa. Varenka has an innocuous friendship with him, but although Kitty naively tries to do the same, she finds that Petrov is falling in love with her, despite her attempts not to flirt.
Vronsky’s friend who becomes involved in the Slavic question and political affairs later in the novel.
Princess Varvara Oblonsky
Anna’s and Oblonsky’s elderly aunt, Princess Varvara, is notorious for living off other people’s largess. She rationalizes Anna and Vronsky’s affair because she wants to keep benefitting from their luxurious lifestyle, but towards the end of the novel, even she abandons Anna.
Vronsky’s roommate and friend in the regiment; a rash, carefree young officer.
Nikolai’s mistress, Marya, is a prostitute, but she cares for Nikolai as though she were his legal spouse.
Agafya Mikhailovna
Agafya was Levin’s childhood nurse, and he is loyal to her. She has stayed with Levin and worked for him throughout his life, and she comes to work for Levin and Kitty when they marry.
Golenishchev is one of Vronsky’s friends; although relations between Golenischev and Vronsky have been somewhat strained in the past, they get along in Italy, especially since Golenischev doesn’t judge Anna and Vronsky’s relationship.
A young society dandy and friend of Oblonsky’s whom Oblonsky brings along when he visits Levin. Veslovsky is an abysmal hunter and he flirts shamelessly with Kitty, yet he is ultimately affable and pleasant.
Madame Stahl
Madame Stahl, a woman at the German spa whom Varenka takes care of, is—unlike Varenka—a hypocrite, professing to be extremely spiritual when in fact she operates in an entirely vain, self-serving fashion.
Levin’s friend, a landowner, whose cruel actions towards his peasants go against his stated enlightened opinions about them.
Prince Lvov
Natalie’s husband and Levin’s brother-in-law. Levin feels comfortable around the affable Prince, who has raised his children well.
Princess Natalya (Natalie) Alexandrovna Lvov
Dolly and Kitty’s sister, Natalie, is a pleasant woman with a happy family life.
A scholar whom Levin visits in Moscow.
Jules Landau
Landau is a French clairvoyant whom Lydia, in her sanctimonious spiritualism, consults for advice. Tolstoy portrays him as a bogus fraud. Lydia uses Landau’s advice to declare that Karenin should not divorce Anna.
Mitya (a diminutive form of the name Dmitri) is Levin and Kitty’s baby. At the end of the novel, Mitya recognizes his parents, showing that they are a solid, happy family unit.
Countess Vronsky
Vronsky’s mother, Countess Vronsky, is another example of a hypocritical society lady.
Vronsky’s excitable horse. When Vronsky isn’t paying enough attention to the steeplechase and grows over-confident, the horse falls and breaks its back and must be killed out of mercy.
Levin’s hunting dog, who can sense Levin’s moods.
Mikhailov is the talented painter in Italy who paints Anna’s portrait. Unlike Vronsky, who dabbles in art but does not display any real passion for it, Mikhailov has true skill, and he captures Anna’s charisma.