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In this part of Book III, some more characters experience a change of heart. The old Prince Bolkonsky remembers Andrei and misses him. As his health deteriorates and he foresees his death, he distance himself from Madam Bourienne and seeks the company of Tukhon. He expresses a desire to meet Marya and talk to her. Thus, a day before he breathes his last, he calls her to his side and apologizes for his atrocious behavior in the past. The old man rips off the mask of an autocrat and tries to be a loving father in the last few hours of his life.
Princess Marya who had remained loyal to her father and defended him in spite of all odds, gets impatient about him in the last period of his life and unconsciously, waits for his death. However, when her father acknowledges her dedication to him and apologizes for his mistakes, she feels guilty about her dark thoughts. And after his death, she feels miserable and helpless. When Rostov comes to rescue her like a chivalrous knight, she loses her heart to him. The feminine feelings of Marya get aroused for the first time on meeting Nikolai.
Rostov had refused to marry an heiress in the past and decided to settle down with Sonya, is made to reverse his decision after meeting Marya at Bagucharovo. Meeting Princess Marya suddenly and observing her silent anguish move him and compel him to protect her from her enemies. His manly instincts come to the forefront and he vows to help her out of her ordeal. Thus, he succeeds in tackling the sturdy peasants and arranges for Marya’s trip to Moscow. The incident proves to be a turning point in the lives of both Nikolai and Marya and makes them think about their relationship.
Pierre, who had spent his life in the comforts of the drawing room and led a carefree life, now experiences the harsh realities of war. He travels all the way to the battlefield at Borodino to witness live action. Unmindful of the risk involved to his life, he moves freely on the field inspecting the battlefront. He mixes freely with the soldiers and adapts their way of life. He is moved by the enthusiasm of the troops and their fearlessness. However, the killings on the field revolt him and he realizes the futility of war.
Finally, Napoleon experiences defeat and disappointment and orders his soldiers to retreat. The great French Emperor who had become giddy with success, is forced to accept defeat at Borodino. In his overconfidence, he had failed to gauge the patriotic spirit of the enemy troops. He had never expected the Russians to retaliate after two successive defeats. Thus, when the Russian troops overpower his men on the field and drive them away, he is shaken out of his lethargy and forced to accept the situation.