Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina


Leo Tolstoy

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Anna Karenina: Part 4, Chapter 5 Summary & Analysis

Karenin goes to a famous Petersburg lawyer. Although the waiting room is full, when Karenin presents his card, the lawyer immediately meets with him, as he recognizes Karenin’s name from public office. The lawyer is triumphantly delighted that Karenin has confessed Anna’s adultery to him. He says that adultery by mutual consent would be the simplest solution, but Karenin refuses. If Karenin wants to prove adultery, says the lawyer, he will need witnesses, not just the love letters Karenin took from Anna. Karenin says he will inform the lawyer soon of his decision, and the lawyer is joyful.
Karenin doesn’t want his own reputation to be besmirched by Anna’s infidelity, so even when the lawyer says that adultery by mutual consent would be the fastest route to a divorce, Karenin still has his pride and refuses to lie for the sake of a smooth transition. The lawyer is transparently filled with schadenfreude about Karenin’s fall from grace: he is delighted to see that an apparently successful state official’s life is so seamy on the inside.
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