Anna begins without personal freedom, burdened by a responsibility to her unsatisfying husband. Her fulfillment comes from her responsibility to her son. When she meets Vronsky when away from her son, she stays true to her responsibilities, but not for long. Vronsky's persistence causes Anna to seek personal freedom outside the confines of her drab marriage The more she indulges in this freedom, the more irresponsible she becomes. Once society notices these irresponsibility she is rejected and Anna loses her one source of prior fulfillment her son. Now, nearly free, Anna finds herself disgraced in Russian society. Her complete lack of responsibility backfires, and hinders her freedom by being shamed in the public eye. She clings more than ever to Vronsky, which pushes him further away. After becoming nearly psychotic, Anna commits suicide. Ultimately, too much freedom trapped Anna.
Levin begins with freedom, as he does not agree or adhere to much of society's expectations and therefore lives in the country. Levin feels a strong responsibility to his work, but feels unsatisfied (much like Anna) he feels a responsibility to find fulfillment which he believes that he can find in a wife. He therefore courts Kitty, but once they are married, Levin finds that he is not as satisfied as he had expected. Something is still missing. Levin remains responsible to his wife and work, for him, freedom "clicked" one day with the realization of faith. Staying responsible, freedom found Levin with patience.