Function Order: Si-Te-Fi-Ne
Alexei believes in maintaining his traditional “role” as a husband and ensuring his wife does as well. He did everything expected of him—met and married a woman to give him children, provides for her, and expects her to continue to act as his wife even when she becomes emotionally involved with another man. In the novel and in other adaptations of the story, he agrees to let them see each other, provided she will still sleep with him as usual (per what a wife’s traditional role is), which she finds intolerable. Even though he hates her for a time, he refuses to let her go and divorce her, believing eventually her lover will tire of her, abandon her, and wanting to provide for her if and when that happens—again, because it’s what husbands do. He holds to the establishment, both as a politician and an individual. In his private life, he is traditional and detailed. He is more sensible and grounded than his wife, and has no interest in her fantasies or desire to be involved in the lives of others. Alexei holds grudges for a long time, until something changes his mind. He’s aware of social rules and desires to protect those he loves from them (or cause them to fall beneath them, whichever suits his situation most). He likes to get things done. Alexei will choose a course of action and pursue it. He’s methodical in his job and prefers to follow a rational line of thought. The established methods and religious principles are good enough for him – he sees no reason to challenge them. He is logical to what Anna considers to be a fault – conscious of what his divorce will do for her, he continues to keep her as his wife out of concern that she will be destitute if her lover abandons her. His emotions are usually held in restraint, but when wronged, Alexei becomes personally insulted and angered. He lashes out in anger when he can’t take her defiance anymore, but also believes it is his personal responsibility to look not only after her person, but also her soul. Alexei finds it in himself to forgive her all her sins against him, and her lover as well. It doesn’t take him long to discern what is truly going on around him – he sees quickly that Anna is infatuated with Vronsky and suspects they are lovers. He notices their unspoken exchanges and the shift in tension whenever he enters the room, but he refuses to take their love seriously, instead focusing on his own determination to “protect” her from herself, thus unconsciously thwarting Anna’s need for security in her relationships by preventing their marriage. In the book, he becomes sucked into a religious cult out of his need to find something deeper, which shows his lack of discernment (inferior Ne).
Enneagram: 1w9 sp/so
Karenin is focused on doing the “right” and “dutiful” thing to such an extent that his passionate, emotional wife finds him cold. He always wants to do what is right by her, although he also simmers with a barely-repressed anger at times. At the end of the story, he even agrees to raise her bastard child because it is his “duty.” In so doing, he denies the parentage of the child’s actual father, Vronsky. Though he does not want to forgive her, Karenin does so because it’s the appropriate, moral response to her asking him for forgiveness (a 1 “reaction formation” response, which is to do the opposite of what one feels because it is “right”). He focuses on keeping a balance between his emotions and his physical needs, in working hard but not being emotionally expressive. He cares about being a competent politician and focuses most of his energy there – he cannot understand why his wife would have “other” needs when he provides a stable home environment for her. He hates conflict of any kind and is willing to tolerate their immoral behavior provided it does not shame them in public or draw attention to their marital problems.