52 pages 1 hour read

Leo Tolstoy

The Kreutzer Sonata

Fiction | Novella | Adult | Published in 1889

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The Lesson of The Kreutzer SonataChapter Summaries & Analyses

“The Lesson of The Kreutzer Sonata” Summary

Tolstoy explains that he has written this “Lesson of The Kreutzer Sonata” to explain the messages that he attempted to convey through The Kreutzer Sonata. He lists the five main morals that he was trying to communicate and then argues his case in favor of sexual abstinence.

The first point that he makes is that there is a double standard in the behavior permitted to young men and the standards expected of young women. He believes that consequences should be shared equally, not thrust upon the woman alone, and that an ascetic lifestyle of moderation and self-denial combined with physical labor is better for one’s health than excess.

His second contention is that “conjugal infidelity” has become more socially acceptable in recent years. He blames this on “natural instinct” and the excessive value that contemporary society places on love. He considers this immoral and something to be combatted through religion and education.

Thirdly, he believes that having children is no longer considered with the appropriate amount of reverence.

His penultimate point is that children should not be raised as they are now, like animals, with the sole goal of improving their health and using them as a means to procure pleasure for their parents.