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Characters

Meet the Cast

Anna Arkadyevna Karenina

Anna Karenina is one of literature's great heroines. She is a woman who falls in love with a man not her husband, who then must struggle with the ethical and social consequences of living in a rela...

Count Alexis Kirillovich Vronsky

Count Alexis (or Alexei) Vronsky is not a particularly rounded character. We know that he is handsome, charming, and an officer in a regiment of soldiers. But beyond that, his function in Anna Kare...

Constantine Dmitrich Levin

Anna Karenina, like so many other 19th century novels, has two goals: to give readers a gripping story and to show us a few general observations about society through the lens of a small group of c...

Alexis Alexandrovich Karenin

Alexis Karenin, Anna's husband, is a cold fish. He's got wealth and excellent social and professional connections, a wife whom everybody adores, and a high-spirited son. But none of these things se...

Katerina (Kitty) Alexandrovna Shcherbatsky

Kitty Shcherbatsky starts out Anna Karenina looking set to be a high society girls that we see every week in Gossip Girl: she's excited to be attending a ball, and she's head over heels in love. Wh...

Stepan (Stiva) Arkadyevich Oblonsky

Prince Oblonsky, Anna's brother and Dolly's husband, is a great guy to have at a party: he loves a good joke, he makes other people feel good about themselves, and he mingles with the best of them....

Darya (Dolly) Alexandrovna Oblonsky

You know how, when you're playing a video game, there's sometimes a demo section that lets you poke around the game's world and figure out how everything goes before you get on to the levels that r...

Princess Betsy Tverskoy

Princess Betsy Tverskoy is the queen of elite, morally liberal Petersburg society. In her set, marriage is an old-fashioned idea that nobody respects (but that everybody does, for form's sake). In...

Countess Lydia Ivanovna

Countess Lydia is respected in Petersburg society as a pious do-gooder, but she's also a hypocrite. She claims to be a good Christian, but she uses her religion to prove that people who accept God...

Sergei (Seryozha) Karenin

At the beginning of the novel, Anna's son Seryozha is eight years old, and Anna's relationship with him is the most important one in her life. In her "Character Analysis," we discuss Anna's slow mo...

Sergei Ivanovich Koznyshev

Koznyshev is Constantine Levin's half-brother and an enthusiastic intellectual. He spends six years working on a book about the contemporary state of Russia. When nobody reads his book, he immediat...

Nicholas Dmitrievitch Levin

Nicholas is Levin's brother. Levin and Koznyshev sneered at Nicholas when he tried to live a strict religious life (in contradiction to his passionate, lustful nature) and then they avoided him whe...

Miss Agatha Mikhailovna

Levin's former nurse, now housekeeper. Miss Agatha squabbles a great deal with Kitty over the running of Levin's house. Eventually, Miss Agatha comes to love Levin's wife despite their differences,...

Princess Barbara Oblonsky

Anna's aunt who is supported by wealthy relatives. The Princess Barbara Oblonsky joins Anna and Vronsky at their country estate, but then ditches Anna when Anna moves to Moscow.

Golenishchev

Vronsky's old friend, who is fond of launching into long lectures. He hangs out with Anna and Vronsky in Italy, but you kind of get the sense they hang out with him because there's no one else who...

Young Ivan and his wife

These two peasants appear just once, in Part 3, but for Levin, this couple comes to represent everything marriage should be: mutually supportive, loving, and virtuous.

Prince Lvov and Nataly

Kitty's brother-in-law and sister, respectively. Prince Lvov is a diplomat whom Levin respects, not least for the way in which the Prince has raised his children.

Masha

Nicholas's devoted companion, Masha is good at taking care of Levin even when he's drunk and sick. Masha was once a prostitute, but she travels with Nicholas as his wife. Even though Levin relies o...

Mikhailov

Russian artist who paints Anna's portrait. His dedication to his art shows up Vronsky's amateur, dilettante approach. In one scene, Levin becomes quite taken with the portrait done by Mikhailov, an...

Princess Myagky

Princess Myagky is a society woman who speaks her mind, and who also defends Anna.

Ryabinin

Ryabinin is the land merchant who successfully cheats Oblonsky. For Levin, Ryabinin's cheating of Oblonsky represents a problem of the decaying nobility in Russia. As peasants are growing richer, t...

Serpukhovskoy

Serpukhovskoy is a childhood friend of Vronsky's. Even though Serpukhovskoy and Vronsky went through the exact same school and military training, Serpukhovskoy achieves much more professionally tha...

The elder Prince and Princess Shcherbatsky

The elder Prince has much more sense than his wife, and he and his daughter, Kitty, have a close relationship. The Prince is humorous, good-natured, and likes Levin, while the Princess simply doesn...

Madame Stahl

Madame Stahl is a sickly woman that Kitty meets at the German spa. Madame Stahl's deep devotion to religion is eventually revealed to be mostly a farce.

Sviyazhsky

Levin's friend, also a gentleman farmer, who lives in a different district with excellent snipe marshes. Sviyazhsky puzzles Levin because his actions towards his peasants are in complete contradict...

Varenka

Varenka is a minor character in the novel, but she plays an important role. She presents an opportunity for Kitty's character development. Varenka is the adopted daughter of Madame Stahl. But, whil...

Veslovsky

Veslovsky is a player who likes flirting with women. He is stout and good-looking, but seems to be artificial. He hits on Kitty outrageously while he's staying at Levin's country estate. This behav...

Countess Vronsky

Vronsky's mother, Countess Vronsky, is a society woman who was morally loose in her youth. She, like Princess Betsy, is a character who represents society's hypocrisy.When we first meet her, Counte...

Yashvin

Yashvin is Vronsky's best friend, and also a degenerate gambler and drinker. Yashvin also serves in the army alongside Vronsky. He is the one friend of Vronsky's in whom Vronsky confides about his...
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