Dolly is in the middle of packing, but she is so upset and anxious that she can’t make up her mind which action she wants to take. She knows that she should punish Oblonsky, yet she still loves him and feels that it would be impossible to leave him.
Dolly’s internal struggle is reflected in her external indecision. She cannot decide what course of action is best in these circumstances.
Oblonsky comes in and tries to 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 her. She screams at him to leave. He does so, and Dolly tries to distract herself by organizing things for the children.
Even though Oblonsky knows rationally that he should feel guilty, his body betrays him, as he still feels energetic. Oblonsky recognizes that his actions could tear his family apart, but his lively spirit overrides his guilt.