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Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Characters

Meet the Cast

Pierre Bezukhov

After inheriting a vast fortune from his father, Pierre spends the novel trying to answer questions about such trivial topics as the meaning of life and how to be a worthwhile human being. He lives...

Natasha Rostov

The beautiful, accomplished youngest daughter of the Rostov family, Natasha begins the novel as a willful and exuberant teenager and ends it as a happily married mother of four.Natasha as the Perfe...

Andrei (Andrew) Bolkonsky

The oldest son of a controlling and sometimes vicious father, Andrei is an intellectual and high-achieving young man who tries to find meaning through glory, family, and romantic love, only to have...

Nikolai (Nicholas) Rostov

The oldest Rostov son, Nikolai is a hardcore patriot. He loves his emperor and embraces his military career without reservations.Nikolai might just be the most surprising character in the whole boo...

Count and Countess Rostov

A loving couple, the Rostovs are the heads of a functional and happy family. Their main problem is Count Rostov's total inability to manage money.You know what we realized when reading War and Peac...

Sonya

A poor relation taken in by the Rostovs, Sonya has a brief romance with Nikolai but then falls into a thankless caretaker role.You know who Sonya reminds us of? Basically every single Dickens heroi...

Marya (Mary) Bolkonsky

Andrei's younger sister, Marya, is terrorized by her father and becomes a deeply religious and self-doubting woman.So how do you solve a problem like Marya? Apparently all it takes is one fairy-ta...

Prince Bolkonsky

An aging politician who is out of favor with the court of Alexander, Prince Bolkonsky is a controlling and abusive father to Andrei and Marya.We've talked a lot about how many of this work's charac...

Liza (Lise) Bolkonsky

Liza is a pretty good example of how there just are no one-note characters in Tolstoy. She starts out as Andrei's gossipy socialite wife, and we at first totally sympathize with how annoying and tr...

Mademoiselle Bourienne

This character might well be the only stock type that Tolstoy puts into the book. There's a whole subgenre of 19th-century novels dealing with the strange situation of women who are part of a prosp...

Helene Kuragin

A beautiful and sexually free woman, Helene becomes Pierre's wife, then cheats on him and falls deeper and deeper into a morally questionable lifestyle.OK, before we go too far down the road of Tol...

Anatole and Ippolit Kuragin

These guys are dynamic duo of the totally perverse Kuragin clan. Just how can a dysfunctional family totally screw up a person? Let's count the ways. First, there's Ippolit, who is basically a low-...

Boris Drubetskoy

A young man from an aristocratic but poor family, Boris is a no-holds-barred striver and social climber whose only motive is getting ahead.Boris might be one the most striking examples in the book...

Anna Mikhailovna Drubetskoy

This lady, Boris's mom, is a good example of a Tolstoy technique that boosts the realism of the novel. She starts out the novel being a way important character – basically the best at playing the...

Julie Karagin

Julie is a pretty minor character, and so it's probably for the best that she isn't much more than a grotesque caricature. Let's see how many things she parodies: Grown women still pretending to be...

Napoleon

Emperor of France and the would-be creator of a European empire, Napoleon is also an actual character in this work. Sure, everything he does is straight out of history, but still. Taking a real guy...

General Kutuzov

Kutuzov is an old general brought out of retirement to be the commander in chief during Napoleon's invasion, and he does a pretty bang-up job with it. While Tolstoy brought Napoleon down a notch in...

General Bagration

Bagration is our counterpoint to Kutuzov. If Kutuzov is general as poet, all feeling feelings and intuiting intuitions, then Bagration is general as accountant, making sure every t is crossed and e...

Dolokhov and Denisov

You know what's interesting about these two guys? If you take them separately, not much. But together they bookend the way the novel shows the army experience. Or, more accurately, the officer expe...

Platon Karataev

A near-angelic peasant imprisoned with Pierre, Platon is endlessly optimistic, kind, and generous. He teaches Pierre a lot about life.All along, we've been harping on how crazily real War and Peace...

Osip (Iosif) Alexeevich Bazdeev

This is the guy who introduces Pierre to Freemasonry and becomes Pierre's mentor. He dies right before the French occupy Moscow, and Pierre then seizes the chance to hide out at Bazdeev's house inc...
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