Sunday, January 20, 2013

Anna Karenina: Part IV, Chapter 22

Human misery - Paul Gauguin

In Part IV, Chapter 22 of Anna Karenina, we find Aleksey Aleksandrovich Karenin pondering the complications of divorce. After his wife Anna's confession of adultery, he forgave her completely. Now however, she wants to be free -- 
To consent to divorce, to give her her freedom, meant in his thoughts to take  from himself the last tie that bound him to life -- the children whom he loved; and to take from her the last prop that supported her on the path of virtue and cast her down to her ruin. If she were divorced, he knew she would join her life to Vronsky's, and their tie would be an illegitimate and criminal one, since a wife, by the interpretation of ecclesiastical law, could not marry while her husband was living.
This passage refers to Matthew 5:31-32, which is part of the "Sermon on the Mount".

Matthew 5:31-32

King James Version
31 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:
32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

 (Bible Gateway)

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