Freed by compassion, Karenin forgives Anna and Vronsky, and opens his heart back up to his son. Most surprising of all, he comes to love baby Anna. Strengthened by love and forgiveness, Karenin decides to preserve his marriage and save everyone. He throws Vronsky out of his house, saying, "You may trample me in the mud, make me the laughing-stock of society, I will not abandon [Anna], I will never say a word of reproach to you. My duty is clearly ordained for me: I must be with her and I will be." (p. 414)
Impossible to Live as Three
As Anna's health improves, Karenin can feel her hatred for him grow. Soon Karenin feels powerless and like everything is against him. He can feel pressure from his wife, Stiva, Princess Betsy and "the crude force which guided his life"—social expectation— forcing him to divorce her against his better judgment. (p. 425) Karenin would rather allow Vronsky and Anna's relations to continue than deprive himself of the children he loves and ruin Anna in the eyes of the Church.
Staying in a loveless marriage is not an option for Anna. She abandons her son Seryozha—the one thing that kept her tied to Karenin—and takes little Anna to Italy with Vronsky. Will Karenin's newfound peace allow him to forgive Anna this time or will he revert to his cold-hearted ways and turn their son against her? This could be the moment the old man's heart breaks.
Kitty comes into her own