War and Peace

War and Peace

by

Leo Tolstoy

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Countess Rostov Character Analysis

Countess Rostov, wife of Count Rostov and mother of Vera, Nikolai, Natasha, and Petya, is painfully aware of her familys tenuous financial and social situation and has a sharp eye for her childrens best interests, especially when it comes to potential spouses. For example, she interferes in Natasha’s courtships and quashes Nikolai’s hopes of marrying his poor cousin Sonya, knowing advantageous marriages are her children’s best hope in life. She is, however, particularly indulgent of Natasha’s outspoken, impulsive teen behavior. She is emotional and sometimes falls ill under stress. When Petya gets killed in the War of 1812, she is maddened by grief and prematurely ages.

Countess Rostov Quotes in War and Peace

The War and Peace quotes below are all either spoken by Countess Rostov or refer to Countess Rostov. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Society and Wealth Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of War and Peace published in 2008.
Volume 4, Part 4: Chapters 1–3 Quotes

The wound in the mother’s soul could not heal. Petya’s death tore away half of her life. A month after the news of Petya’s death, which had found her a fresh and cheerful fifty-year-old woman, she came out of her room an old woman— half-dead and taking no part in life. But the same wound that half killed the countess, this new wound called Natasha to life. […]

[A] wound in the soul, like a physical wound, can be healed only by the force of life pushing up from inside. This was the way Natasha’s wound healed. She thought her life was over. But suddenly her love for her mother showed her that the essence of life— love— was still alive in her. Love awoke, and life awoke.

Page Number: 1080
Explanation and Analysis:
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Countess Rostov Character Timeline in War and Peace

The timeline below shows where the character Countess Rostov appears in War and Peace. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Volume 1, Part 1: Chapters 7–11
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European Culture vs. The Russian Soul Theme Icon
...their name day. Guests have been coming and going all day. Princess Drubetskoy sits with Countess Rostov in the drawing room. Meanwhile, Count Rostov, cheerful and self-satisfied, drifts between the drawing... (full context)
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...the guest Julie Karagin, Sonya storms out of the room, and Nikolai hurries after her. Countess Rostov says that children at this dangerous age cause their parents much anxiety. She is... (full context)
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Back in the drawing room, the women talk. The countess wonders how Anna Mikhailovna got Boris a place in the guards, while Nikolai will be... (full context)
Volume 1, Part 1: Chapters 14–17
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At the Rostovs’, the Countess weeps about her friend Anna Mikhailovna’s plight. Finally she asks the Count for money, and... (full context)
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Later, the Countess sits with her daughters and guests in the drawing room. One guest, Marya Dmitrievna Akhrosimov,... (full context)
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...a bishop. Natasha realizes that Vera had been tormenting Sonya earlier, telling her that the Countess would never consent to the marriage and that Nikolai will marry Julie instead. Natasha comforts... (full context)
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Later, during the dancing, Natasha claims Pierre as her dance partner, and the countess marvels at the poised, grown-up way Natasha chats with the young man. Count Rostov dances... (full context)
Volume 1, Part 3: Chapters 6–9
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When Anna Mikhailovna goes into the countess’s room after dinner, Count Rostov listens at the keyhole, unable to hear much. Finally, Anna... (full context)
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The countess keeps the letter in her exclusive possession from then on, astonished to think that her... (full context)
Volume 2, Part 1: Chapters 1–6
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...kissing him, and all talking at once. Sonya, now turned 16, beams at him. The Countess weeps on Nikolai’s new Hungarian jacket. Denisov comes in unnoticed, until Natasha shrieks and hugs... (full context)
Volume 2, Part 1: Chapters 10–16
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Meanwhile, Natasha runs to the countess and announces that Denisov has proposed to her. The countess can’t think of Natasha as... (full context)
Volume 2, Part 3: Chapters 11–17
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One evening, Natasha bursts into Countess Rostov’s room, interrupting her mother’s bedtime prayers. Unable to scold her daughter—they both treasure these... (full context)
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...and delighted to overhear guests discussing her. Mme Peronsky points out the distinguished guests, including Countess Hélène Bezukhov, various foreign ambassadors, and Andrei Bolkonsky. Natasha remembers him from his visit to... (full context)
Volume 2, Part 3: Chapters 18–22
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...Andrei is surprisingly shy. Sonya won’t leave her friend’s side. Natasha later confides in the Countess that she’d first fallen in love with Andrei at Otradnoe and that their meeting again... (full context)
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Countess Bezukhov is having a party that night. Pierre wanders through the party with a sad,... (full context)
Volume 2, Part 3: Chapters 23–26
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...When she hears Prince Andrei being admitted to the house, she panics. Andrei speaks to Countess Rostov in private, and the Countess warmly consents to the proposal, but she finds him... (full context)
Volume 2, Part 4: Chapters 1–6
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...her engagement and, seeing her unflappable calm, feels skeptical that the marriage will take place. Countess Rostov secretly agrees with Nikolai, believing that there’s nothing legitimately keeping Prince Andrei abroad and... (full context)
Volume 2, Part 4: Chapters 7–13
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...Rostov is aware that he’s financially trapped, yet he lacks the will to disentangle himself. Countess Rostov believes the family’s only hope is for Nikolai to marry a rich bride. She... (full context)
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Countess Rostov encourages Nikolai to visit the Karagins in Moscow. Nikolai balks at the idea of... (full context)
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...tears over Andrei’s absence and the fear that nothing in her life will change. The countess persuades Natasha to sing for them, but as she listens, she feels that there is... (full context)
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...Christmas, Nikolai tells his mother that he loves Sonya and intends to marry her. Though Countess Rostov has been expecting this, she tells Nikolai that she and the Count cannot bless... (full context)
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A few days later, Countess Rostov speaks to Sonya with unexpected cruelty. She accuses Sonya of luring Nikolai and being... (full context)
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...in order so that he can resign from the service and marry Sonya. Meanwhile, the Countess falls ill from the emotional strain. The Count needs to sell his Moscow estate in... (full context)
Volume 3, Part 1: Chapters 16–18
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When the Countess hears that Natasha is ill, she and the rest of the household travel to Moscow,... (full context)
Volume 3, Part 1: Chapters 19–23
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...Blushing, Petya goes up to his father and says he wants to join the military. Countess Rostov is horrified, and the Count says it's nonsense—Petya must go to university instead. Suddenly... (full context)
Volume 3, Part 2: Chapters 15–18
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...struggles. Natasha is better, and the Count wants to return to the country, but the Countess insists on waiting for Petya, who’s joined the Cossacks but is soon to be transferred... (full context)
Volume 3, Part 3: Chapters 10–14
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...stay in Moscow until September 1st. Now that Petya, too, has joined the army, the Countess is constantly fearful. The Count, in an effort to calm his wife’s fears, has Petya... (full context)
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...she feels depressed about Nikolai’s recent letter, in which he spoke of Princess Marya. The Countess is happy about this development, claiming she always predicted that Nikolai would marry Marya Bolkonsky.... (full context)
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...she’d better ask for permission, so she goes inside and, in a rush, asks the Countess—who’s drowsy from a headache—if the wounded can lodge there. Both she and the Count, who’s... (full context)
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When Countess Rostov hears that there are drunken riots in the streets, the family starts packing more... (full context)
Volume 3, Part 3: Chapters 15–17
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...them rides on his carts. Seeing this, more wounded men approach. By the time the Countess wakes up, so many wounded have been granted rides that the Rostovs’ belongings are being... (full context)
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...wounded not be abandoned; it doesn’t matter if their things get left behind. Ashamed, the Countess gives in. Natasha joyfully runs outside and begins giving orders for trunks to be stored... (full context)
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...carriage catches Sonya’s attention, and when she learns who’s inside, she runs to tell the Countess. The Countess weeps when she hears that Andrei is said to be dying. They both... (full context)
Volume 3, Part 3: Chapters 30–32
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The Count and Sonya go outside to look at the blaze; the Countess and Natasha stay inside. The Countess cries over the news, but Natasha doesn’t respond. She’s... (full context)
Volume 4, Part 1: Chapters 4–8
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...marry his cousin. The governor’s wife argues that marrying Sonya is unthinkable—it would kill the Countess, and the Count’s financial affairs are in disorder. This means that Sonya wouldn’t be happy,... (full context)
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...give Nikolai his freedom. She claims that in light of the Rostovs’ financial woes, the Countess’s hostility, and Nikolai’s recent silence, she no longer holds him to his promise. She can’t... (full context)
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Sonya wrote her letter from the Trinity monastery. Lately, Countess Rostov has been more and more determined to marry Nikolai to a rich woman. A... (full context)
Volume 4, Part 1: Chapters 14–16
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...her grief over Andrei weighs her down again. When the carriage stops, Sonya and the Countess hurry to welcome her. The Count looks different from the last time Marya saw him—lost... (full context)
Volume 4, Part 4: Chapters 1–3
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...been a misfortune. Natasha is shocked to see the Count weeping like a child. The Countess is sobbing and beating her head against the wall while Sonya and the maids try... (full context)
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Before Petya’s death, the Countess had been a lively 50-year-old woman, but when she finally emerges from her room, she’s... (full context)
Epilogue, Part 1: Chapters 5–7
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...previous year—the burning of Moscow, Prince Andrei’s death and Natasha’s sorrow, Petya’s death and the Countess’s grief—seemed too much for the Count. Even as he helped prepare for Natasha’s wedding, it... (full context)
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...Pierre don’t realize how bad Nikolai’s situation is. He not only has to support the Countess and Sonya on a small salary, but to do so in such a way that... (full context)
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In 1814, Nikolai and Princess Marya get married, and Countess Rostov and Sonya join the couple at Bald Hills. The marriage allows Nikolai to repay... (full context)
Epilogue, Part 1: Chapters 8–16
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...else, and most people don’t know what to make of the change in her. Only Countess Rostov understands it—she’d always sensed that Natasha would make a devoted wife and mother. Since... (full context)
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...and makes his expenses more predictable. He distributes gifts to Natasha, the children, and the countess. (full context)
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When Pierre and Natasha bring gifts to the Countess, —who’s often moody these days, mainly looking forward to the peace of death—she’s annoyed at... (full context)