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MonkeyNotes-War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
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Notes

In this part of the novel too, a few of the major characters pass through a phase of disillusionment. In the beginning of the part, Pierre leaves for Petersburg after being disillusioned with his marriage and life. In a disturbed state of mind, he meets a stranger who casts his spell on him. He unburdens his heart to this man and decides to join the fold of Free Masons to get peace of mind. Thus, he gets initiated into the fold. Pierre believes that he is getting out of darkness to enter the path of light. Thus, with confidence he visits his estate to undertake reforms on it. In the process, he shocks the conservative officers and threatens their identity. They undertake a few steps like building hospitals and schools to reform the estate but fail to uplift the plight of the peasants. Pierre is unable to see through their deceit and congratulates himself on his success. Pierre is under a cloud of delusion.


Prince Andrei is another character who is disillusioned with his past. He had neglected his wife and ignored his responsibilities as a good husband by going to the battlefield and fighting for his country. He had believed that participating in the war and showing his prowess on the field was a great honor. However, after the battle of Austerlitz and meeting with Napoleon, he becomes aware of the futility of war and the insignificance of man. He returns home disillusioned. To add to his misery, he sees his wife dying and giving birth to their child. Her dead face haunts him and makes him feel guilty. All the sacrifices he had made on the battlefield could not compensate for loss of an innocent life. He decides against going back to the battlefield.

Rostov is one more in the list of disillusioned characters. A Patriotic soldier, he had desired to fight for his country and make his emperor proud. Thus, when he is honored at Olmutz, he feels proud. He also gets inspired by the fervent words of the Tsar to attack the enemy. Thus, he puts up a valiant fight in the battlefield and does his best as the Returning officer of the Pavlograd regiment. However, after Denisov is punished for fighting for the rights of his regiment, Nikolai feels disturbed. He is sure that the generous Tsar would be considerate towards Denisov and hence, takes the letter of apology of Denisov to the emperor. Again, Nikolai is in for disappointment. The Tsar has no time to attend to the matter and dismisses the case as futile. However, he is eager to honor a few French soldiers, who have done nothing but cause harm to the Russian troops because he has to fulfill a formality as part of the truce with the French. Nikolai is revolted by the hypocrisy of the leaders and the political games they play. In pursuing diplomacy, they ignore the sentiments and needs of the soldiers who fight for them. Nikolai is completely disillusioned by the political system that has nothing to offer to the suffering soldier like Denisov.

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