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War And Peace Essay

840 words - 4 pages

The Russian epic War and Peace hails as one of the most highly acclaimed novels ever composed. Written by Leo Tolstoy and first published in 1869, the novel presents itself as a panorama of Russian society during the Napoleonic Wars. Throughout the work, Tolstoy illustrates the divide between the reality of war and the naïve and false perceptions of battle perceived by those who know only peace. War and Peace offers a vast depiction of individual struggles against immorality and social conflict. Lack of interest in the common good and the selfish detachment of Russian aristocracy from the toils of reality act as prominent elements in the story. The structure of the novel entails a shifting ...view middle of the document...

The opening scenes of social frivolity and domestic happiness led Tolstoy in the early stages of composition to title his book, “All’s Well That Ends Well.” Once he reached the sections of the novel that deal with the ravages of the Napoleonic Wars, however, he decided to derive more philosophical approach (“War and Peace”). Tolstoy often notes that the majority of the Russian upper class speak French exclusively even though it presents itself as the language of Russia’s enemy, demonstrating their affectation and lack of patriotism. One eventually learns that the more authentic and admirable characters speak Russian and Natasha Rostova, introduced later in the novel, whom Pierre as well as Prince Andrey view as the embodiment naturalness and sincerity, speaks French but with many mistakes. At the soirée, conversation shifts too easily between war and negligible gossip, and Pierre, a newcomer in society, begins to develop a friendship with Prince Andrey through their mutual disdain of the surrounding superficiality. However, in spite of Pierre’s realistic mindset and Prince Andrey’s warning, he feels a deep attraction towards the beautiful but scheming Princess Helene Kuragin. After the death of his estranged father, Pierre inherits a large fortune and innocent of Helene’s true nature, he marries her. As the story progresses, Pierre realizes his error and begins to fully comprehend corrupt the artificiality of society around him.
The novel also expresses the trivial delusions of war in contrast to war’s actuality. Tolstoy demonstrates how members of Russian aristocracy focus on insignificant and egotistical matters, accepting only naïve and preconceived notions of battle...

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