Since saving her, Nikolai has been in love with Marya, but he now thinks marriage is out of the question because of his poverty. Nikolai comes home on leave with Denisov, only to find that his parents are about to go bankrupt. Bonaparte unsuccessfully tried to expand his dominion intoRussia, only to be turned back in 1812. Helene has an affair with Dolokhov, and when Pierre finds out, he challenges Dolokhov to a duel. War is everywhere in the Aeneid. Nikolai resolves his debts through a combination of hard work and marriage to Princess Marya.
He comes home and is just about to beat up Helene when he gets hold of himself. He is consumed with guilt because he was such a crummy husband to her. Prince Andrei visits Count Rostov and begins to fall in love with Natasha. But when she addresses her husband in the same coquettish manner she uses for casual acquaintances, Prince Andrey turns away with an involuntary grimace. In contrast, Pierre and Natasha have no such baggage.
Tolstoy leads Natasha, his favorite female character, through trials of love, disillusionment, public shame, war deprivations, and, ultimately, maturity. The key themes in the novel are spirituality in the main characters and family happiness as the ultimate reward for spiritual suffering. He is seriously wounded and has a near-death experience, which leads him to realize that ambition is a totally pointless thing. When the guests talk of the assassination of the Duc d'Enghien, Anna Pavlovna's worst fears are realized. He repeatedly emphasizes her lack of sex appeal in comparison with Natasha, even as they are dressing for this party, Sonya reflects sadly on the fact that she will never be as radiant as her younger cousin. Despite some tensions, Nicholas and Mary enjoy a happy family life. A member of a dissolute, upper-class crowd, Pierre Bezukhov is a troublemaker who criticizes governmental policies.
Totally confused and depressed, Pierre joins the Freemasons. He becomes gravely ill but recovers. The two men encounter many wounded soldiers at a site where a Russian detachment has been overwhelmed. Besides denying the greatness and power of Napoleon, Tolstoy carries Pierre and Andrey through experiences that make each conclude the nothingness of personality and the greatness of soul. Andrey, Pierre, and Natasha at the Grand Ball The People's Idea While most readers of War and Peace prefer to follow the dramas in the lives of the Russian aristocrats, Tolstoy argues that the main theme of his novel is 'the people's idea,' meaning the role of the Russian people in the war.
Andrew reflects that the recent victory is not significant compared to the loss of Vienna to the French. Although he is smart, he fails to impress the party guests because he is so absent-minded and awkward. Petya is shot and killed. Despite his bluster, Nikolai fails to do anything substantial to help the family finance and instead devotes his energy to hunting. Just before the guests arrive, the old prince becomes furious at his daughter and tells her they must live apart from now on.
Fifteen-year-old Pyotr Rostov tries to see Tsar Alexander when the latter comes to Moscow. Countess Rostova makes her daughter Vera leave the room, so that she and Anna Mikhaylovna may discuss financial worries. Boris Drubetskoy courts both Marya and her best friend. The French imprison Pierre and force him to watch an execution. She is Anna Mihalovna Drubetskoy, a member of one of the best families in Russia.
We first learn of Pierre, for instance, when Anna Pavlovna greets him with the nod she reserves for her lowest-ranking guests. We can make others happy and attempt to make ourselves happy, we can continue to ask questions about morality rather than acting selfishly, and we can enjoy life, thankful for when it is good. The Rostovs — Financially struggling. When Tolstoy has Pierre observe that life is fraught with dangers that men try to avoid thinking about, like men under fire, he prepares us for his further examinations of actual battle conditions as Napoleon invades Russia and as Pierre himself is drawn into the battle front. Marya inquires after Natasha, badly concealing her ill-will toward her prospective sister-in-law. The male hunters grow competitive and chase a hare, hoping to see who has the fastest dog.
The key themes in War and Peace develop through all the above worlds, creating a complex and multilayered texture. Tolstoy instead urges historians to see events in the context of all the other events that came before. When winter begins, Prince Nikolay Andreitch Bolkonsky and his daughter Marya move to Moscow. Boris Drubetskoy soon chooses to marry Julie Karagin and they announce the betrothal. Nikolai Rostov and Boris are both present when Tsar Alexander meets with Napoleon to sign the peace treaty. He visits Princess Marya and the Rostovs to give them his condolences.
Led by Count Rostov and his wife,. Natasha realizes that the wounded Prince Andrei is with her family and nurses him tenderly. This charm has no effect on Andrey, who turns away in disgust when he arrives and turns eagerly to Pierre. A poor, eccentric uncle of the Rostov children has the winning dog. These frivolous-seeming beginnings lead to warfare that offers the chance for glory, but which Virgil also regularly depicts as brutal and senseless, separating mothers from sons and sons from fathers. Well, just one actually: he wants the inside scoop on a job he wants his son to land.
Natasha is in love with , and Nikolai is in love with his impoverished cousin Sonya. Vasili Kuragin promises a promotion to Boris, the only son of a well-connected but impoverished old acquaintance, Princess Anna Mikhaylovna Drubetskaya. He proposes to Natasha and they marry. In 1812, Napoleon invades Russia, and Tsar Alexander reluctantly declares war. They ride to the party in sleighs and get lost in the forest, a moment which brings them pure joy. Nikolai has thus far manifested a less sophisticated version of the conflict that plagues Andrei and Pierre: he is frightened and disgusted by the ways of society, and so retreats to the order of the military, which he sees as somewhat like a game. Individual freedom is the ultimate force that drives human history.