'Vengeance is mine, I will repay' is the opening statement in the novel Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. Although the reader does not know whom "I" refers to in the statement, he can be certain that someone will pay for whatever act has been committed. Thus far in the novel, many motifs have emerged that could lead the speaker to want vengeance. The most important of these is the motif of infidelity.
From the very first page of the novel, the motif of infidelity has been present. Infidelity has caused families to be broken apart and lives to be ruined. It has been the cause of the downfall of many of the characters. Still, this downfall has been caused by their actions and mistakes. The motif of infidelity is predominantly evident in the love affair between Vronsky and Anna. From their very first encounter at the train station, it was clear that this relationship was destined for destruction.
Their relationship takes on a very deceptive and superficial quality. Vronsky knew from the very beginning about Anna's marital status, yet this did not dissuade his attraction to her, or his adulterous relationship with her later on. It is important to note that it is Vronsky's frivolous nature that is responsible for his inability to fully love Anna with the passion that she so desperately needs from him. Vronsky initially believes that he loves Anna, but Tolstoy shows the reader that Vronsky's love for her is not absolute.
His love is not based upon firm emotional commitment, and it is easily questioned and redefined. Eventually, Anna's love becomes burdensome to him because he remains steeped in the pursuit of his own freedom and pleasures, without placing importance on Anna's tormented existence. Vronsky is dishonest with himself. He begins a relationship that he is not ready for. He believes that he can love Anna in "the right way," yet he cannot. Their relationship will be destroyed not by an outside party but by their own hands.
They will have to pay for their betrayal and dishonesty. As one can see, infidelity leads to the break up of marriages, and the destruction of lives. The individuals that partake in this betrayal our responsible for the revenge that society gets on them. They determined their own fates by their actions. They will get punished in the end for the acts of infidelity that they committed.