“War and Peace” was written in the 60s of the XIX century. The government of Alexander I abolished serfdom, but did not give the peasants land, they rebelled. Russia and the West, the historical destinies of Russia and its people – these were the most topical issues of the time. They constantly worried about Tolstoy. Tolstoy was always against the revolution, but he hoped to organize an ideal social system through education, reforms, and constitutions.
“War and Peace” is one of the most remarkable works of literature. Years of work on the novel – this is the time of the most intense work of the writer. Tolstoy’s creative search was always connected with life. The novel was conceived as a grandiose study of the half-century history of Russia
Presenting events from the human, moral aspect, the writer often penetrated into their true historical essence. Napoleon claimed a great role in history, hoped to create history, subordinating it to his own will. Tolstoy says that he is a despot not only by position, but also by conviction. He debunks his greatness. “There is no greatness where there is no simplicity, goodness and truth,” wrote Tolstoy.
In “War and Peace,” this novel-study, a huge role was assigned to the picture of characters and mores. He recreates the emotional experiences of different people of that time, their spiritual aspirations. The best representatives of the nobility are Pierre Bezukhov and Andrei Bolkonsky. They are both striving for the rational organization of society, both are hungry for the truth. In the end, they reach the appeal to the people, to the consciousness of the need to serve it, to merge
Tolstoy has his own view of history. Philosophical reasoning in his novel – this is his thoughts, his thoughts, his worldview, his concept of life. One of the important problems of “War and Peace” is the correlation of the individual and society, the leader and the masses, the life of private and historical life. Tolstoy denied at least some significant role of the individual in history. He refused to recognize any “idea” as the force guiding the historical development of mankind, as well as the desires or power of individual, even “great” historical figures. He said that everything is decided by the “spirit of the army,” and argued that there are laws governing events. These laws are unknown to people.
One of the philosophical problems of the novel is the question of freedom and necessity. In his own way Tolstoy solves this question in an original way. He says that the freedom of a person, a historical figure, is apparent, a person is free only not to go against the events, not to impose his will on them, but simply to match the history, to change, to grow and thereby influence its course. Deep thought Tolstoy that a man is the less free, the closer he is put to power.
In his philosophical and historical views, Tolstoy was close to Herzen. The novel is called “War and Peace”. The meaning of the title: the world denies war. Peace is work and happiness, war is the disunion of people, destruction, death and grief. The theme of the composition is very difficult, rather it suits graduates of the Institute of Philology or graduate students who are engaged in research in Tolstoy’s work. I did not fully reflect in my work all the philosophical problems of the four-volume novel War and Peace, and this is understandable: you can not fit all Tolstoy’s thoughts on two sheets, he’s also a genius, but I tried to touch upon the main ones.
One could also add to this the solution of Tolstoy’s question about the role of women in society. He was negative about the emancipation of a woman. If Turgenev, Chernyshevsky woman was treated in another aspect, then Tolstoy believes that for women the main thing is a home. Therefore Natasha Rostova is just a mother and wife at the end of the novel. It’s a pity! She was not just a girl, but a gifted person, radiating warmth and light, she sang beautifully. In this position, I can not agree with Tolstoy, because an intelligent woman is not enough to just be a domestic goose, she still wants more. And if Natasha had a rich spiritual world, then where did he go, went to home life? In this Tolstoy is a conservative.
Little did he write about the plight of the serf peasantry, only a few pages for the whole great epic. The scene of the Boguchar riot is the only vivid episode of this plan. I think that Leo Tolstoy reflected this in another novel – The Decembrists, if this plan was implemented.