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MonkeyNotes-War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
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Tolstoy expresses his views on war and its repercussions. The sudden turn of events and the unpredictable actions of the leaders puzzle him. Napoleon, who had proved to be an astute General, offers no resistance to the enemy when they attack Tarutino. Instead of provoking his soldiers to attack the enemy, he orders them to escape out of Moscow. The Russians, on the other hand, who had failed to stop the French troops from capturing Moscow and owned defeat, suddenly become violent and attack their enemy through ‘guerilla warfare.’ Tolstoy is thus surprised by the course of history.

Tolstoy also points out how leaders and countries blame each other for flaunting rules but themselves violate all norms to satisfy their ego. When the French entered Moscow and plundered it, they forgot all the rules of ethics, as they had done earlier while violating the peace treaty with Russians. Similarly, the Russians waged ‘guerilla warfare’ on their enemy who was already on the run. According to Tolstoy, all are responsible for the war and are equally to be blamed.

One more point raised by Tolstoy is the futility of war and the loss of innocent lives. As Kutuzov believed, there was no need to chase the French troops when they were already running away. The Russian Commanders in their thirst for revenge and thought of glory, attack a retreating army and waste precious lives. Petya is one such young soldier who loses his life fighting a futile war. Karateyev is another brave officer of the Russian army who loses his life in pitiable circumstances. As Tolstoy rightly says, war is evil and leads to misery.


Petya Rostov is the representative of all young soldiers who are gripped by a foolish patriotism and who risk their life to bring glory to their country. Petya is too eager for action and admires people who are daring. Thus, he admires Dolokhov and Denisov. However, in his enthusiasm he disobeys their orders to reach to the front ranks and becomes a victim of the enemy’s bullets. Petya loses his precious life waging a futile war.

Petya dies but Pierre gets resurrected. Once again, he is saved from the jaws of death. After experiencing severe hardships and threatened by the shadow of death, he is saved from the enemy. He had resigned himself to his situation. However, when his compatriots rescue him, he considers it a precious gift bestowed to him by god and decides to preserve it well.

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