Analyzing the Four Main Female Characters in War and Peace

Analyzing the Four Main Female Figures in War and Peace. Female Characters in Tolstoy's "War and Peace" - Natasha, Maria, Sonia, and Helen

I recently finished reading 'War and Peace' and have already written about it a book review, this is too scary, so I still write about my thoughts on the Four Main Female Characters in Tolstoy's "War and Peace".

In "War and Peace", Leo Tolstoy portrayed a total of 37 female images, whether it is positive or negative, and each of the female images in them embodies Leo Tolstoy's attitude and values. Fully expressed, reflecting the female values in the social background. 

This study starts with the female characters, deeply analyzes the four female characters Natasha, Maria, Sonia, and Helen, and is committed to exploring the values expressed by Leo Tolstoy through the analysis of female characters. 

In the previous article "War and Peace": A Heroic Hymn to Anti-Heroism", I started with several male characters and discussed Tolstoy's view of history. This article is going the other way, starting with several female figures, and talking about Tolstoy's views on women.

It is worth noting that, as a Russian aristocrat in the nineteenth century, Tolstoy’s views on women were limited by the times, and the reason why he became a world-renowned literary giant lies in his ability to express what he does not agree with or criticize. 

The characters are portrayed vividly and excitingly, and even today, more than a hundred years later, they still have immeasurable ideological value and artistic charm.

War and Peace; Female Characters; Concepts

In the long history of the development of human civilization, women, as an indispensable part of human survival, development, and reproduction, have always played a unique role, and they are also a vital part of various literary works. 

"War and Peace" is one of the greatest novels in the history of human art. Leo Tolstoy shows us the true picture of social and historical life. The technique depicts many female characters with plump images and distinctive personalities. 

An in-depth study of the female characters in "War and Peace" can provide an in-depth understanding of the female values ​​​​under the background of that period, which has certain social and literary values.

Natasha the Fairy Flying into the Mortal World

Natasha is a very popular heroine in the history of Russian and even world literature. She has the innocence, liveliness, and enthusiasm of a girl, likes music is smart, and has a kind and brave side. 

It was widely recognized that Audrey Hepburn was chosen to play this character in the 1956 version of the movie. 

Ten years later, the actor Natasha in the Soviet version of the movie was almost selected according to the model of Little Hepburn. 

It can also be seen that in the eyes of the two camps, Natasha should be the image of Little Hepburn's eccentric angel on earth.


However, it is a little one-sided to use elves to summarize this character, just as the 1956 version deleted and revised many plots. 

As the first heroine in the book, Natasha has the most common human traits and a complete female growth process. And the several men in her life also represent different stages of her.

The first love Boris quickly dissipated in the book like a hazy memory, just like her most carefree period. 

After that, she accepted a marriage like Prince Andrei's, and began the process of growing up and taking responsibility, and also made mistakes that many women would make.

The marriage of Natasha and Prince Andrew was doomed from the start to tragedy. Prince Andrew is a compassionate middle-aged man, while Natasha is a lively and sensual girl. 

The relationship between the two is more of a match, without much real understanding and enthusiasm in it. Natasha has great admiration and respect for Prince Andrei, but this marriage is entirely based on morality, and after being almost seduced by Anatoly, she adds endless guilt. 

It was also her courage in the war that allowed her to save Prince Andrei by accident, and to see him for the last time to realize her inner salvation. 

But these have nothing to do with real and passionate love, and the two have never been intimate. And that was true of most marriages at the time.

Prince Andrei's postponement of the marriage made Natasha unable to get the love of the Duke himself at this stage, and she was also bound by the marriage contract and could not pursue love, leaving her with only pure moral shackles. 

This undoubtedly made this elf-like little girl very painful and unbearable. Anatoly saw this opportunity and shot almost successfully. Natasha has long been vivacious and sensual and is also very confident in her own charm. 

So Anatoly was the one who really moved her, even though the dandy was only seducing her. People like Anatoly represent part of Natasha's natural quest. All girls like such a handsome and unrestrained man who doesn't hide his inner desires, like a hybrid of a prince and a beast. 

In this respect, men and women are the same, and morality is not worth mentioning in the face of such a passionate emotional impact. This part of the story reflects the confrontation between Natasha's inner morality and nature. 

In the end, nature once won the victory, and it would be beyond redemption without the help of others. 

It is also this passage that makes Natasha appear the most vivid, and it is considered to be the most authentic and believable stroke in her growth process.

During Napoleon's war against Russia, Natasha, who apologized to Prince Andrei, also grew from a young girl to a strong and loving woman. She was also the ideal woman for Tolstoy and many people. 

In addition, the changes in her relationship with Maria can also be seen in the changes in her growth. Natasha felt Maria was hypocritical at first. 

It was not until the later stage when Prince Andrei was in danger that he and she settled down, and saw and understood each other's brilliance.

In the end, Natasha and Pierre came together and it was a matter of course. Both of them have been baptized in the war and truly matured, and Pierre has always admired and cherished Natasha. 

The episode between Natasha and Anatole is just like the marriage between Pierre and Helen. At that time, Pierre’s help and innocence to her not only moved Natasha but also made the similar situation even more impressive. 

The two understand each other and get closer. Unlike Prince Andrei, Pierre is indeed Natasha's most suitable spiritual and material companion in addition to appearance.

It is worth mentioning that Pierre's love for Natasha has always been the purest spiritual love, which is completely opposite to Helen's pure physical temptation. 

However, Natasha also has some elements of Helen, such as beauty and love to be loved, such as thinking about both Anatoly and Prince Andrei. 

It shows that both the witch and the ideal woman are women, and even the two have more similarities than other women. 

These two roles later provided the inspiration and flesh for Tolstoy to create his most famous heroine.

Natasha's final transformation has always made readers sigh and even deleted this plot repeatedly in the film and television adaptation. But it's not hard to understand. 

Among the people who had feelings for Natasha, Boris threw himself into the secular world without hearing anything, Anatole died in battle, and Prince Andrew died in front of her. 

The lovely Petya is also dead, the mother is mad, and the youth and beauty they represent are gone forever. This is one of the reasons why Natasha devoted herself to her family and gave up her past aura. 

For her emotions, the past was too beautiful and painful to look back on. This was foreshadowed by Pierre's little recognition of her when he saw her. Although after Pierre showed kindness and love, Natasha, once again regained her original naughtiness, after all, she couldn't stop marriage from changing women. 

When the two finally got married, and the youth and passionate love faded away, Natasha completely became a mediocre woman. This is a sign, but it is the common fate of most girls, especially girls of that era. 

In addition to the only happiness he represents, her desire to control Pierre may be because she knows that she has lost her charm, and she is afraid that a girl with the vitality of her former self will attract her husband away.

Judging from Tolstoy's remarks, this was also his requirement for an ideal woman in his speech at that time: tenacity and the responsibilities of family and mother. 

However, Tolstoy's real wife Sophia is also such a virtuous traditional woman. It is said that she is one of the prototypes of Natasha, but his relationship with his wife is very bad. It can be seen that Tolstoy himself could not bear this kind of mediocrity.

Although the last description of Natasha in the novel is unbearable to read, perhaps it was this ending that made Tolstoy write "Anna Karenina" later to break through the limitations of himself and the previous character's creation, With his wonderful pen, he fully celebrates women's struggle against this traditional marriage duty.

Liar Sonia

The character Sonia does not play a lot of roles in the main role, and she is by no means the most praised character by Tolstoy, but she left a deep impression on people because of Tolstoy's delicate brushwork description and tragic ending. 

She can also be regarded as one of the most successful characters in the book, and she has dual values ​​in literature and reality.

Sonia has many characteristics of an ideal woman, especially kindness and devotion. To outsiders, Sonia looked just like the kind of woman Dolokhov, who proposed to her, had described.

I have not yet met the qualities of holiness and fidelity that I seek in women. If I could find such a woman, I would give my life to her.

She is the most dedicated to love among the four women in the whole book, and she is also the most sincere love in the book. 

At first, he resolutely refused Dolokhov's marriage proposal, and then he was steadfast when he separated from Nikolay. 

like she told Natasha

"Since I am in love with your brother, no matter what happens to him or to me, I will always love him all my life."

However, in the end, Nicholas empathized with Maria and married Maria, and Sonia got the least happiness among the four women. I have seen the most upset readers for Sonia. 

From the analysis, apart from the era, material, and Nicholas, this tragedy comes more from the Achilles' heel of Sonia's own personality, which is highlighted in almost all the relevant plots of her characters. 

Sonia's name comes from the goddess of wisdom in ancient Greek mythology. This character also has the tragic characteristics of a typical ancient Greek hero because of his personality.

The best summary of her is "she is like a fruitless flower on strawberries" written at the end of the book.

Sonia is an orphan who depends on others. She lacks material wealth is picked on by others and has low self-esteem. She is smarter and more knowledgeable than Natasha. 

Therefore, she is relatively closed and does not express her emotions easily, because she is too precocious and is not as enthusiastic about the world as Nicholas and Natasha, and does not care so much about many children's past. 

But deep down, Sonia is very eager for her only happiness: love with Nicholas, and she will not be moved by any other man. 

When she can get rid of her current identity and have the opportunity to show herself, she will try her best to dress up more than anyone else to win attention and love. Like that masquerade party. 

It was also this dance that made Nicholas discover her charm and show her further.

Whether playing ring games, rope games, ruble games, or chatting like this, Nikolay never left Sonia's side, and he saw her with completely different and new eyes. It seemed to him that today, thanks to the cork beard, he knew her fully for the first time. Sonia was indeed quite happy, vivacious, and beautiful that evening, in a way Nicholas had never seen her look like.

"Look how pretty she is, and what a fool I am!" thought he, looking into her shining eyes and that happy, complacent smile that made a pair of cheeks under the mustache. wine dimple.

"I'm not afraid of anything," said Sonia. "Can I go at once?" She stood up. Someone told her where the granary was, and that she should stand there and listen carefully, and then handed her a fur coat. She threw the fur coat over her head and glanced at Nicholas.

"What a charming girl!" he thought. "What have I been thinking up until now!"

This also shows that Sonia, who shows her true nature, is the cutest and most attractive in the eyes of Nicholas and even Tolstoy. However, she usually keeps suppressing this side of herself.

Many places in the book describe Sonia's inner inferiority complex and the scheming she uses to protect herself. Her background is like Lin Daiyu, but her personality is more like Xue Baochai. 

Even in the most painful moments, she tried her best to cover up and restrain herself. 

For example, after knowing that Nikolai had feelings for Maria, she tried her best to help Rostov's house pack and pack. It was she who tried her best to maintain her perfect image.

The most vivid portrayal of Sonia's character is divination. When she can't see anything in the mirror, she pretends to see Prince Andrei to hide her anxiety and inferiority complex. Suppress your own nature to show a noble appearance.

Sonia couldn't see anything, she was just about to blink and stand up, when she heard Natasha's voice, saying: "It must be seen!"... She didn't want to deceive Dunyasha, nor did she Not wanting to deceive Natasha, she sat there feeling uncomfortable. She herself did not know how and why she could not help screaming when she covered her eyes.

"See him?" asked Natasha, taking her hand.

"Yes. Wait a minute... I... saw him," said Sonia involuntarily, though she did not know who Natasha was referring to by him, whether he meant Nikolay, or he Refers to Andre.

"But why don't you say that I saw it? You know, everyone else can see it! Who will expose me and say that I saw it, or that I didn't see it?" This idea flashed in Sonia's mind.

"Yes, I saw him," she said.

"What is it like? What is it like? Is he standing or lying down?"

"However, I saw... It was nothing at first, but I suddenly saw him lying down."

"Andrei lying down? Is he sick?" Natasha asked her girlfriend intently with a panicked expression.

"No, on the contrary, on the contrary, a cheerful face, and he turned to me." As she spoke, it seemed to her that she saw what she was talking about.

This paragraph was mentioned again later in the conversation between her and Natasha, and filled with more lies, showing that the woman lacked confidence in her fear of her future destiny.

"Do you remember," said Sonia, with alarmed seriousness, "remember me reading your fortune in the mirror? . . . In Otradnoe, at Christmas time . . . remember what I saw ?…”

"Yes, yes!" said Natasha, with wide-eyed eyes, vaguely recalling that Sonya had said at that time how Prince Andrew had been, that she had seen him lying down.

"Remember?" Sonia went on, "I saw it and told everyone, there was you, there was Dunyasha. I saw him lying on the bed," she said, spitting out each detail. Lifting up a finger and poking it upwards, "and eyes closed, covered with a rose-colored quilt, and folded hands," Sonia said, and as she described the details of what she had just seen, she became more convinced that she had seen these details. She hadn't seen it then, and when she told what she saw, she was talking about what she had imagined; but what she thought was as real as any other recollection, she felt. Not only did she remember what she said at the time, he turned his head to look at her and smiled, that his body was covered with red things, and she firmly believed that she had said and seen him covered with rose-colored things at that time, that is A rosy quilt, and his eyes were closed.

Every time I read this passage, it makes me feel sad for her. God clearly let her see the truth, but she deceived herself and others for her own image. It was this lie that Sonia herself believed that eventually led to her tragedy to a certain extent. 

This paragraph perfectly reflects Sonia's character traits and character flaws. Sonia is regarded by some foreign people as a so-called "Dickensian hero", a man and woman who achieves others through self-sacrifice. 

However, most of the time this type of role is a denial of human nature on the one hand, and on the other hand it is easy to be self-defeating. The tragedy of Sonia in the book comes from this.

In the first half of the story, Sonia protects Natasha and plays a key role in resisting Anatole. It was precisely because Sonia was determined to stop him that he failed. 

In addition to caring for Natasha's family, it also shows that she has a more mature understanding of love than Natasha. Because love is the only happiness in her life, which is very understandable. 

But at the same time, she also feels guilty about her family in her heart, and she has low self-esteem and dares not fight for her love bravely. She constantly tries to sacrifice herself to help others. 

This sacrifice is essentially a kind of comfort for her spirit, making herself appear noble and worthy of Nicholas. But in fact, it obliterated the beauty of her humanity, so that Nicholas could not have the same heart for Maria later. 

Her only outburst came after she found out that Nicholas was in love with Maria and was pressured by the countess.

"Sonia burst into tears and wailed and replied that she could do anything, she was ready for everything, but she didn't agree directly, she couldn't make up her mind, and couldn't do what was asked of her. For She must sacrifice herself for the happiness of the family which had brought her up and educated her. Sacrificing herself for the happiness of others was a common practice for Sonia. She was in such a position in the family that her dignity could only be demonstrated by sacrifice, and she was accustomed to And loved to make sacrifices. But in all her previous acts of self-sacrifice, she is pleased to realize that whenever she sacrifices herself, that act increases her worth in the eyes of herself and others, and makes her more worthy of her Nicholas, who I admired the most in my life; and now, her sacrifice is to give up the reward for her sacrifice and the whole meaning of life. So, for the first time in my life, I feel her sorrow for people and taste the bitterness. People love her favors, but in order to torment her more; she feels jealous of Natasha, she has never tasted a similar bitterness, never has to sacrifice herself but always makes others sacrifice for her, and everyone always likes it At the same time, Sonia felt for the first time that out of her peaceful and pure love for Nicholas suddenly began to grow a passionate emotion, which was higher than principles, morality, and religion; After living in obscurity and learning to conceal the truth, Sonia involuntarily gave vague answers to the countess, avoided talking to her, and decided to wait to meet Nicholas. Holding is not relief, but on the contrary, forever The intention of chaining myself to him."

Although at the critical moment, Sonia resisted Nicholas' true love in her heart, she still did not break through her own limitations. 

After Prince Andrei and Natasha resumed their relationship, she rewrapped herself in the fantasy of self-sacrifice and wrote a parting letter for Nicholas, which finally caused the end of their love. 

Not only is she clever but she is mistaken by cleverness, it also highlights her inner depression and excessive emphasis on self-satisfaction. Love, but also lost the value of self.

In terms of conditions and emotional foundation, apart from being an orphan, Sonia is not inferior to Maria, and her appearance is much more beautiful. 

Material differences are not enough to play a decisive role in Nicholas' mind. However, she did not convey the beauty of her nature to Nicholas. 

Nicholas thinks that Sonia can know everything and makes himself happy, while Maria has too many unknown feelings to make him sad, so he feels that Maria is unique. 

In fact, there is so much pain, entanglement, and sentimentality in Sonia's heart. If she can truly show her charm and feelings like at the masquerade, the ending may be completely different.

However, under her self-hypnosis and sacrifice, she fails to make Nicholas, who is not delicate, fully understand her difficulties and finally gains nothing. 

Sonia's end like this is Toon's tearing up of such "noble" supporting characters who often appear in novels, movies, and TV, and place too much emphasis on self-sacrifice. 

Many people lamented that Toon was so "cruel" to Sonia, instead of letting her lover get married or letting someone like Dolohov come out and give her a happy ending like many writers would do. 

However, this is precisely the greatness of Tolstoy. He did not deliberately protect the character, but he did not interfere with the cruelty of reality so that the character's respectable and sad sides are perfectly presented, and he warns people to pursue bravery and not to go Blind to self-sacrifice. 

The so-called tragedy is to destroy valuable things. Tolstoy later wrote the image of Anna Karenina, which is also a further negation of Sonia's repressed nature in love, self-sacrifice, and anesthesia.

In the end, Nicholas thought that Sonia was mentally poor, and Maria could not restrain her instinctive hatred of her "rival in love". Sonia herself even lost her purpose in life and became a walking dead. 

However, for readers who can see Sonia's sincerity and entanglement, the beauty of this character can be seen at a glance, which makes people feel sad for her, forming a wonderful contrast and irony. 

This fruitless lying flower appears so poignant and unforgettable precisely because it can only wither slowly in silence.

Find my true Virgin Mary

The meaning of Maria's name is very straightforward. She also suffered a lot of blame and responsibility in the process of growing up. Her father's harshness and "imprisonment" led her to devote herself to religious beliefs in order to seek comfort, help, and forgive others. 

She has also always assumed the responsibility of educating her brother and son, making her a woman with an extremely strong heart. 

Therefore, he was able to stand up to help farmers in the war and thus gained Nicholas' admiration and affection.

But Maria has always hoped to have the happiness of a traditional girl in her heart. Facing Anatole's marriage proposal, she fights with heaven and man for a long time, and she refuses categorically when she realizes Anatole's playboy face. But her hopes didn't end there. 

As the story progresses, Maria's girlfriends gradually leave the court and fall into the secular world, almost cutting off contact with her. The pain in her heart also reflects her yearning for an ordinary woman's life. 

This was one of the reasons why she felt dissatisfied with Natasha in the first place, stemming from a kind of jealousy.

"Oh, my God, Count! Sometimes I would marry anyone," said Princess Marya, suddenly and unexpectedly, in a sobbing voice, "Oh, to love someone close and feel... ( She continued in a trembling voice) You can't do anything for him except pain, how it hurts you when you know you can't change the situation. The only way then is to leave him, but I can Where are you going?"

The old Duke's torment Maria was actually unwilling to accept that he was outdated, so he could only vent everything on his closest daughter. Only she will not resist. 

From this point of view, the old Duke is also pitiful and helpless, and the revealing of his paternal love to Maria before his death is also a manifestation of long-term guilt. Before his death, the old Duke finally showed his true feelings to Maria. 

Maria, who had been attacked by him for a long time, had some resentment towards him, which is also human, and she was very painful by this. 

At the same time, the death of the old Duke finally freed Maria from this struggle, allowing her to regain her freedom to pursue her own happiness.

She fell in love with Nicholas, and it was his rescue in times of trouble that moved her heart, and she was moved by his precious qualities. 

It embodies the true nature of my heart and also shows unprecedented beauty.

"When Rostov entered the room, the princess lowered her head for a moment, as if to give time to the visitor to greet her aunt, and then, just as Nikolai turned to her, she raised her head, and with bright eyes met his. Her movements were graceful and dignified, she rose with a joyful smile, offered him her slender, soft hand, and spoke for the first time in a new, feminine chest voice. Come on, Mademoiselle Bourienne, who is also in the drawing room at this moment, looked at Princess Marya in amazement. Although she is a coquettish girl, she could not have done better when she met a person worthy of love.

"Perhaps the mourning suits her features well, and perhaps she has really grown prettier, and I don't see it. And the main thing—her manners are measured and refined!" thought Mademoiselle Bourienne.

If the princess could think over and over at this time, she would be more surprised by the change in herself than Mademoiselle Bourienne. As soon as she saw that kind, loving face, a new life took possession of her and compelled her to speak and act against her will. Her appearance changed suddenly from the moment Rostov entered the drawing room. Like a carved and painted palace lantern suddenly lit up, this complex and exquisite artwork, which was previously rough, dark, and inconspicuous, suddenly shone with brilliance on all sides, showing an unexpectedly astonishing beauty. The face of Princess Marya also changed suddenly. Before this moment, for the first time, the inner purely spiritual work of art by which she lived was revealed. The whole inner workings of her dissatisfaction with herself, her pain, her quest for the good, her obedience, her love, her self-sacrifice--all these were now shining in the bright eyes, in the elegant smile, in every part of the tender countenance. brilliant."

Tolstoy’s intention in this passage is obvious. The most important purpose of describing Maria’s ugly appearance and the previously embodied divinity is to form a contrast here. 

Using her to praise the beauty of human nature can make the ugly appearance shine. It was in stark contrast to Sonia, who tried her best to hide herself with divinity. 

Just like Sonia at the masquerade ball, Maria, who showed her true self here, also moved Nicholas's heart.

When taking care of Prince Andrew, the friendship between Maria and Natasha was established after she showed her true nature and Natasha showed her love for the world. 

Quite a bit of the meaning of "the combination of Dai and hairpin" in Dream of Red Mansions.

At the end of the story, Maria, who married Nicholas, dares to admit to Natasha her hostility towards Sonia before and after marriage, which further enriches the character and completes her growth.

Sonia and Maria are not only in love with Nicholas but also mirror images of each other. Although Maria is not as beautiful and pitiful as Sonia, her character journey is also full of hardships and ups and downs, and the final happiness is hard-won, showing what Sonia lacks most: the courage to show herself. 

Maria not only has the divinity of the Virgin Mary, but after her father's death, she breaks free from the shackles to reflect her true humanity and finally obtains love and happiness. 

What Tolstoy mainly expresses through this character is that the appearance of the true self is better than all material and spiritual makeup.

Helen, Immortal Incarnation of Beauty and Desire

Helen's role is less than that of the first three heroines, and she doesn't have much interaction with Sonia and Maria. But she is very impressive, and her role is also the most common in literary works. 

The name of this character has the same meaning as Maria, which is very simple and easy to understand, and it is synonymous with beauty. However, like Maria, this character is not as simple as it seems.

There are many descriptions of Helen's appearance in the whole article, especially the detailed description of her body, including Natasha's first meeting with Helen, and she can't help savoring her beauty carefully.

A tall and beautiful lady walked into the adjacent box. She wore a big braid, revealing her white and plump shoulders and neck. She wore two strings of large pearls around her neck. The silk dress rustled, and it took her a long time to sit comfortably in the seat.

Natasha could not help looking at her neck, her shoulders, her pearls, and her hair, admiring the beauty of her shoulders and her pearls.

Here, Helen's neck and shoulders are watched through Natasha's perspective, and Helen, who appeared for the first time in the book, also made a special note of her shoulders

The Princess Helen, who was named Helene, stood up with a smile, always showing the smile of a lady that she has always shown since she entered the drawing room. Her white ball gown, patterned with vines and mosses, rustled as she passed among the men who stepped aside to make way, her white shoulders, her shiny hair, and her diamonds sparkling. , she walked straight on, towards Anna Pavlovna, without looking at anyone, but smiling at everyone, as if admiring her figure, her round shoulders, her fashionably dressed, TAN LU's XIONG PU, and the right to the beauty of the back respectfully given to everyone, as if she added luster to the dance party.

The key descriptions of Helen in these paragraphs can not help but remind people of the perfect figure of the statue of Venus. 

What she symbolizes is this kind of beauty and temptation that both men and women are fascinated by.

Unlike Helen in Greek mythology, who is an involuntary beauty, Helen in "War and Peace" is a woman who is full of vitality and firmly grasps her destiny, ignoring all traditional moral norms for her own desires. 

Her superficial conversion to Catholicism is just to remarry and get out of the original predicament. She also knows how to use her beauty to make people surrender to get what she wants. 

In terms of appearance and status in Pierre's heart, Natasha and Helen are a contrast to each other, but in reality, Sonia and Helen are more like a pair of contrasts. 

Sonia spent her entire life sacrificing herself and suppressing her nature, while Helen lived for her own pleasure and love all her life.

Helen's contempt for traditional social morality is reflected everywhere, including her attitude towards religion, which is also used as a tool to reshape her image and get rid of the dilemma of love. 

As she said

"Law, religion... what's the use of it, if it doesn't work!"

When helping the brother to lure Natasha there, it is more directly clarified through Pierre's mouth:

"After all, you will not fail to understand that besides your pleasure there is another's happiness and peace and that you will ruin another's life by wanting to have it."

This role is seen by Pierre and many people as a negative image, but compared with several other ideal women, she is more courageous and bold. Throughout the book, Helen not only despises and plays with traditional morality, pursues the pleasure of nature but also uses all means to control her own destiny. 

Such a character, combined with her age, naturally shows a unique sense of beauty and even arouses some respect. , people can understand why so many people fall at her feet. 

This sentence also shows that Pierre does not really understand her heart. Helen also has her own understanding of love that is different from ordinary people, rather than being truly selfish and vicious. 

Faced with her husband's questioning after the duel between Pierre and Dolokhov, she did not hide it but spoke bluntly:

"Why should you believe that he is my lover? . . . Why? Because I like his company? If you were wiser and more lovable, I should rather be with you."

Helen's death seems a bit sloppy at first, and Tolstoy's handling of it should show that she is capable of mastering the sky but unable to defeat destiny. Speculation from the text seems to imply that her life of debauchery led to pregnancy. 

At that time, Tolstoy believed that wives and mothers were women's bounden duty, so he "executed" Helen who refused to take on the duties of family and wife and mother. Even so, her short life has left a colorful mark in the book, which is unforgettable.

But Tolstoy did not simply demonize her. For example, when wandering between an old nobleman and a foreign prince, she had to choose one to marry and no one wanted to hurt anyone. 

She said this famous saying:

"But I loved him and loved him, and would not hurt either one. I would have given my life for their happiness."

And the Italian doctor who saw her after her death was also exempted from punishment because of her letter. 

From there, it can be seen that the character of Helen is not a wicked woman who is morally corrupt and takes pleasure in hurting others, but a strange woman who ignores traditional moral principles and goes her own way, frantically pursuing sensual pleasure.

Natasha is the ideal woman of Tolstoy and Pierre, and Helen is the enchantress that Pierre hates. But in the end, when Natasha completely eliminated elements similar to Helen, such as sensual pursuits, she naturally became a mediocre woman. 

Like the symbols of beauty and desire represented by Venus/Aphrodite, no matter how many people rationally resent and resist, they have to admit that it is this element that makes women beautiful and vivid and makes women called People are fascinated, and they inject colorful colors into people's lives.

Throughout the story, Helen is also the best one in the upper class. She is not only beautiful but also smart and wealthy. 

Previously, he used Pierre's wealth and incompetence to get involved in the upper class and obtained a lot of secret information as his own weight to further climb up. Tolstoy used this character to show the snobbery and hypocrisy of the world. 

It is precise because the Russian upper class and even the church people value the desire for profit rather than the moral norms they talk about in their bones, which made Helen able to mix like a fish in water. 

In fact, the upper class is very much the same everywhere, and Helen, who violates traditional morality but has made great progress in the upper class, does not only appear in Russian literature. 

This character and her experience do not so much reflect the evil of human nature, as they reflect the truth of human nature and the hypocrisy that breaks through the traditional moral code.

Helen is very similar to Carmen in Bizet's opera. In addition to representing the inescapable nature of men, they also represent a kind of female self-crazy counterattack and a challenge and irony to social norms under the oppression of women by traditional social morality. 

Such characters have also been active in the history of human literature. Because of the conflict between the id and superego, humanity and morality are an eternal topic for human beings. Many plots about Helen in this book can be found in later literature, film, and television. 

For example, the plot of seducing Pierre and having an affair that leads to a duel between the husband and others has been borrowed countless times by later generations. 

For example, in Greta Garbo's silent film "Soul and Flesh", the legendary Hollywood "Queen of Sweden", the heroine Felicitas, who is regarded as "a seductive and depraved body created by the devil", is quite similar to the character of Helen. resemblance.


In the 1956 version of "War and Peace", the image of Helen played by Anita Agbo, who is also Swedish, is also somewhat similar to Garbo's Felicitas.


This kind of duel is staged again and again as an important part of the film "Spirit and Flesh", directly treating such a woman as the incarnation of the demons that men cannot get rid of. 

Indeed, in any era, too many men have imagined such a witch in their hearts, no matter how disgusted they are rational, they are irresistible emotionally. 

And it is precisely the restraint of men on women and self that creates such women and fantasies to a certain extent. 

So many times, some men even understand and appreciate such souls better than women, just as Carmen and Anna Karenina are both written by male writers.

Compared with the four main women in this book, the core of Anna Karenina that Tolstoy shaped after "War and Peace" is the closest to the most negative Helen. 

Because Helen is the one who most strongly resists marriage and the traditional duties and moral restraints it represents for women among four. Garbo also played Anna twice with great success and is still one of the most classic images of Anna Karenina. 

This also proves to some extent that Anna and this kind of character have similarities at the core. Anna is undoubtedly the most famous and attractive female character in Toon's works. 

It can also be seen from her that this kind of woman who seeks freedom and challenges society can burst out with amazing energy and vitality after being endowed with richer experiences and entanglements. unique charm. 

They also have a fresh life that never fades and extinguishes in the history of world literature, and even in the hearts of all people. 

Conclusion: Analyzing the Four Main Female Characters in Tolstoy's "War and Peace"

By repeatedly reading "War and Peace", we can see Russian society in the nineteenth century and understand the turning point of the fate of Bezhukhov, Kuragin, and Rostov. From his perspective, it shows us a thrilling movement in Russia. 

Starting from the image of women, we can see the aesthetics and values ​​advocated by Leo Tolstoy. 

Regardless of age, ethnicity, or religious influence, women who are kind, true, lively, fraternal, have faith, and love the motherland are undoubtedly beautiful, and they all deserve happiness and fulfillment.

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