'The Kreutzer Sonata' is the self-lacerating confession of a man consumed by sexual jealousy and eaten up by shame and eventually driven to murder his wife. The story caused a sensation when it first appeared and Tolstoy's wife was appalled that he had drawn on their own experiences together to create a scathing indictment of marriage. 'The Devil', centring on a young man torn between his passion for a peasant girl and his respectable life with his loving wife, also illustrates the impossibility of pure love. 'The Forged Coupon' shows how an act of corruption can spiral out of control, and 'After the Ball' examines the abuse of power. Written during a time of spiritual crisis in Tolstoy's life, these late stories reflect a world of moral uncertainties.