Vronsky, the dashing cavalry officer lover of Anna, is one of the main protagonists of “Anna Karenina.” Most readers of the book, however baffled they might be by Anna’s choices and behavior, feel great deal of sympathy for her. This is not the case for Vronsky. In part because Tolstoy makes him an instrument of Anna’s destruction but in part because Tolstoy just makes him unsympathetic in general. Take the case of Vronsky Rules:
VRONSKY’S life was particularly happy in that he had a code of principles, which defined with unfailing certitude what he ought and what he ought not to do. This code of principles covered only a very small circle of contingencies, but then the principles were never doubtful, and Vronsky, as he never went outside that circle, had never had a moment’s hesitation about doing what he ought to do. These principles laid down as invariable rules: that one must pay a cardsharper, but need not pay a tailor; that one must never tell a lie to a man, but one may to a woman; that one must never cheat any one, but one may a husband; that one must never pardon an insult, but one may give one and so on.
There was nothing strange about these rules, except that Vronsky made them explicit. But implicitly, many men of Vronsky’s social standing, lived by them. But others did not. Perhaps this could be one of the dividing lines among Tolstoy’s protagonists . Thus, Stiva, Anna’s brother, wouldn’t have any problems with the rules but Levin would. Anatol Kuragin, from “War and Peace” wouldn’t but Andrei Bolkonsky definitely would.