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Course Hero, "War and Peace Study Guide," September 29, 2016, accessed September 21, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/War-and-Peace/.

War and Peace | Discussion Questions 51 - 51

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In War and Peace, what does the comet of 1812 symbolize for Pierre?

The comet of 1812, beginning in 1811, was visible on Earth for approximately 20 days. During the time of the novel, some believed the comet was a dark omen of Napoleon's invasion of Russia and the war of 1812 and possibly the end of the world. It was even referred to by some as "Napoleon's Comet." However Pierre observes the comet after he realizes that he loves Natasha: "If I were not I ... I would ... ask for your hand and your love." For Pierre the comet on the horizon mirrors his own transformed bright outlook on life. While he has previously been preoccupied with human folly and meaninglessness, Pierre's love for Natasha supplants his philosophical questions. Rather than remain mired in a world plagued by doubt, Pierre's love for Natasha transports him to a spiritual realm of love and beauty. He says that dishonesty and hypocrisy cannot matter anymore because Natasha has smiled at him. The effect is that his previously warring soul feels peace.

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