A classic tale of love and adultery set against the conditions of high society; in where a character shows a profound passion for love, that is in conflict with moral values and responsibilities; is Leo Tolstoy's masterpiece "Anna Karenina". Its theme is the institution of marriage and its relation to society and morality. In the character of Anna, Tolstoy creates a woman who is perhaps most unhappily destined for tragedy. .
Anna is a beautiful, aristocratic young woman whose life is at the peak of Imperial Russian society. Although a wife and a mother, she moves quickly into a tempestuous affair with the handsome Vronsky, an adulterous relationship that begins as a private infatuation but soon scandalizes an entire city. She soon finds out that her passions are uncontrollable, shocking the Russian society where "decency" was the key word . Rejected by the all her acquaintances and considered impure, she loses all contact with her son Seryozha. For Vronsky, she was so important that he even turns down a promotion at his job, so they could stay together. .
The novel describes a detailed picture of the Russian Life in the 1870's. The problems that she goes through give us a good understanding of how women's husbands controlled most aspects of their lives. Anna could not get a divorce and have the right of having custody of her son at the same time. In an almost medieval system, where the repression of any doubtful activity was noticeable, she was considered worthless because she had a love affair. Once married, a wife's duties were to take care of her husband and bear children. It was even written in a code of Law that the "woman must obey her husband, reside with him in love, respect, and unlimited obedience, and offer him every pleasantness and affection". Anna defied the rules.
Their love was so powerful that it comes to dominate their very existences, changing forever their friendships, families and futures.