| Quote #4
[Dolly:] "No, wait a minute. You must not ruin her. Wait a little; I will tell you about myself. I was married, and my husband deceived me; in anger and jealousy, I would have thrown up everything, I would myself.... But I came to myself again; and who did it? Anna saved me. And here I am living on. The children are growing up, my husband has come back to his family, and feels his fault, is growing purer, better, and I live on.... I have forgiven it, and you ought to forgive!"
While Dolly was able to forgive her cheating husband and move on with her life, Karenin is adamant here that he lacks the capacity to forgive all the wrong that Anna has done to him.
| Quote #5
"You can't forgive me," [Levin] whispered.
Kitty's forgiveness of Levin's past indiscretions only inflames his love for her. Tolstoy paints Kitty as virtuous woman because she has the capacity to forgive. Similarly, when Karenin forgives Anna (see 4.17.39), we the readers and Tolstoy consider him to be a good man.
| Quote #6
[Karenin:] "But I saw her and forgave her. And the happiness of forgiveness has revealed to me my duty. I forgive completely. I would offer the other cheek, I would give my cloak if my coat be taken. I pray to God only not to take from me the bliss of forgiveness!"
Karenin's moment of forgiveness is his highest moment in the novel. Interestingly, forgiving Anna is more important for Karenin than it is for Anna. He feels "bliss" when he finally let's go of his anger at her. Karenin's Christian willingness to forgive (Karenin uses Jesus' instructions to his followers to turn the other cheek in the Gospel of Matthew) is genuine while it lasts. But it doesn't last forever. For more on Karenin's moment of forgiveness, check out Karenin's "Character Analysis" and our discussion on "What's Up with the Epigraph?"