War and Peace

War and Peace

by

Leo Tolstoy

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Hélène Kuragin Bezukhov Character Analysis

Princess Hélène is Prince Vassily’s famously beautiful daughter. Unseemly rumors swirl around her, as she’s said to have many sexual affairs, even with her brother, Anatole. Though Pierre finds her vacuous and morally repugnant, he’s manipulated by Prince Vassily into marrying her in the winter of 1805. There are ongoing rumors of Hélènes affairs; Pierre duels with Dolokhov over one such rumor, and he and Hélène separate for a few years. By 1809, Hélène heads a pro-French social circle in Petersburg, and officials and other aristocrats vie for her approval, though she is really quite shallow. She and Pierre reconcile around this time. However, in 1812, she converts to Catholicism and asks Pierre for a divorce so she can marry somebody else. Shortly after the battle of Borodino, she does suddenly, either from heart trouble or, it’s rumored, suicide.

Hélène Kuragin Bezukhov Quotes in War and Peace

The War and Peace quotes below are all either spoken by Hélène Kuragin Bezukhov or refer to Hélène Kuragin Bezukhov. 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 1, Part 3: Chapters 1–5 Quotes

“All this had to be so and could not be otherwise,” thought Pierre, “therefore there’s no point in asking whether it’s good or bad. It’s good because it’s definite, and there’s no more of the old tormenting doubt.” […]

“Something special is said on these occasions,” he thought, but he simply could not remember precisely what was said on these occasions. […]

“It’s too late now, it’s all over; and anyway I love her,” thought Pierre.

Je vous aime!” he said, having remembered what needed to be said on these occasions; but the words sounded so meager that he felt ashamed of himself.

A month and a half later he was married and settled down, as they say, the happy possessor of a beautiful wife and millions of roubles, in the big, newly done-over house of the counts Bezukhov in Petersburg.

Related Characters: Pierre Bezukhov (speaker), Hélène Kuragin Bezukhov
Page Number: 214
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire War and Peace LitChart as a printable PDF.
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Hélène Kuragin Bezukhov Character Timeline in War and Peace

The timeline below shows where the character Hélène Kuragin Bezukhov appears in War and Peace. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Volume 1, Part 1: Chapters 1–4
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...d’Enghien. Anna Pavlovna summons the other guests to hear the Viscount’s perspective. The beautiful Princess Hélène, Prince Vassily’s daughter, draws everyone’s admiration as she sits before the Viscount. Princess Bolkonsky and... (full context)
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...family in the country while he serves. Pierre talks with Bolkonsky, and they admire Princess Hélène as she and her father Prince Vassily excuse themselves to leave. Before he goes, Prince... (full context)
Volume 1, Part 3: Chapters 1–5
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...consciously thinking about it, Vassily does whatever’s necessary to ensure that Pierre marries his daughter Hélène. This will allow him to borrow a needed forty thousand from Pierre later. (full context)
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...he spends most of his time with Prince Vassily, the Prince’s wife, the Prince’s daughter Hélène, and Anna Pavlovna Scherer, who—like everyone else—now seems to find him “charmant” instead of tactless... (full context)
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...the wealthy prince’s daughter Marya. But he’s concerned that Pierre, who still hasn’t proposed to Hélène, is wasting valuable time. Pierre, for his part, is convinced that marriage to Hélène would... (full context)
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On Hélène’s name-day, a small group of friends and relatives—all of them expecting an imminent marriage proposal—gather... (full context)
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At last Prince Vassily, frustrated, walks right up to Pierre and Hélène and congratulates them on their engagement, calling his wife to do the same. When they’re... (full context)
Volume 2, Part 1: Chapters 1–6
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...since he has a letter from Boris. In pitying tones, she gossips about the countess Hélène’s rumored affair with Dolokhov, whom Pierre had invited to his Petersburg estate. (full context)
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...at the banquet unnerves him. After the campaign, Dolokhov came to live with Pierre and Hélène, borrowed money from Pierre, and often praised Pierre’s wife’s beauty. Now Pierre watches Dolokhov talking... (full context)
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...Pierre’s second, and Rostov agrees to be Dolokhov’s. Pierre goes home, feeling devastatingly certain that Hélène cheated on him. (full context)
...expression. He tries to understand how this happened. He realizes it’s his fault for marrying Hélène in the first place—he’d always felt, ever since the night of their engagement, that it... (full context)
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Pierre alternates between blaming Hélène for her depravity and blaming himself for lying and saying he loved her. He knows... (full context)
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However, first thing the next morning, Hélène herself confronts Pierre, looking elegant and wrathful. She tells Pierre that he did this because... (full context)
Volume 2, Part 2: Chapters 5–9
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...life he’s about to begin. Just then Prince Vassily comes in and tells Pierre that Hélène is completely innocent. He blames Pierre for his newly awkward position in society and wants... (full context)
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...happened to his marriage; everyone says he takes after his father, subject to rages. When Hélène returns to Petersburg, she assumes the role of a suffering martyr among her society friends.... (full context)
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...a new war with Napoleon begins. Around this time, Anna Pavlovna throws a soirée with Hélène, Mortemart, Prince Ippolit, some diplomats, and others not yet well-known. One of these is Boris... (full context)
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...invited to Anna Pavlovna’s, he believes he’s moving up in the world. After the party, Hélène Bezukhov frequently invites Boris to her house. (full context)
Volume 2, Part 3: Chapters 7–10
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A few days later, Pierre reunites with his wife Hélène. He decides to forgive her for virtue’s sake, though he tells her that he has... (full context)
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Hélène is part of a Petersburg social circle which supports the Napoleonic alliance. Present at the... (full context)
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Pierre serves Hélène’s interests well. Because he’s eccentric and spiritually occupied, he’s genuinely indifferent to what happens in... (full context)
Volume 2, Part 3: Chapters 11–17
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...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 Otradnoe... (full context)
Volume 2, Part 3: Chapters 18–22
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...morning Colonel Berg visits Pierre and invites him to a soirée he’s throwing with Vera; Hélène had turned him down. When Pierre arrives at the party, he finds Berg explaining to... (full context)
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Countess Bezukhov is having a party that night. Pierre wanders through the party with a sad, distracted... (full context)
Volume 2, Part 5: Chapters 1–4
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...he now finds it pointless. He starts drinking and partying with bachelors again, and when Hélène reprimands him, he moves to Moscow in order to avoid these vices. (full context)
Volume 2, Part 5: Chapters 5–10
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...as a minister to some Persian prince, and Moscow’s ladies are now obsessed with him. Countess Bezukhov sits down in the next box, and Natasha admires her beauty. Then the overture ends,... (full context)
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...bright, warm, heady atmosphere. When Anatole Kuragin comes in late and speaks to his sister Hélène while looking at Natasha, she notices how handsome he is. (full context)
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...that Countess Bezukhov asks to be introduced to her. Even though she can tell that Hélène is flattering her, she does it with such a natural air. She invites Natasha to... (full context)
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During the next intermission, Anatole enters Hélène’s box. Hélène introduces him to Natasha. Natasha is struck by his simple good nature, which... (full context)
Volume 2, Part 5: Chapters 11–13
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...a soirée that night. Natasha feels special with such an important lady praising her. Before Hélène leaves, she tells Natasha that her brother Anatole is quite in love with her and... (full context)
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...room and squeezes her hands painfully, and she can find nothing to say. Just before Hélène returns to the room, he presses his lips to Natasha’s. That night, she’s unable to... (full context)
Volume 2, Part 5: Chapters 18–22
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...she waves them all away. Then Pierre goes in search of Anatole. Finding him in Hélène’s drawing room, he furiously pulls Anatole into his study and threatens him with a paperweight... (full context)
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...pleasure—other people’s lives are at stake. It’s one thing to toy with a woman like Hélène, but to deceive a girl like Natasha is entirely different. Anatole trembles and demands that... (full context)
Volume 3, Part 1: Chapters 1–7
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...ball at Count Bennigsen’s country estate, including boat rides and fireworks. Emperor Alexander dances with Countess Bezukhov as Napoleon’s army crosses into Russia. Boris Drubetskoy, now rich, is also there. (full context)
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While dancing with Hélène, Boris watches Emperor Alexander closely. He notices that Balashov, an adjutant general, receives some obviously... (full context)
Volume 3, Part 2: Chapters 6–12
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...European sovereigns indulge him in order to cause anxiety in the court circle. In contrast, Hélène’s salon admires Napoleon and hopes for peace with France. In Anna Pavlovna’s circle, members refrain... (full context)
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...mediating figure between the two circles, alternating between his friend Anna Pavlovna’s and his daughter Hélène’s salons. As a result, sometimes he gets confused and says things in one circle that... (full context)
Volume 3, Part 3: Chapters 5–9
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Meanwhile, in Petersburg, Hélène is in a tough albeit familiar position—juggling two different lovers, a foreign prince and a... (full context)
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Hélène knows that the case of her marriage can be dealt with more easily in the... (full context)
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One of the few people to argue against the legality of Hélène’s remarriage is her mother, Princess Kuragin. The princess consults with a Russian priest and brings... (full context)
Volume 3, Part 3: Chapters 10–14
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At home that evening, Pierre reads Hélène’s letter, but he cannot make sense of it and collapses into bed. The next morning,... (full context)
Volume 4, Part 1: Chapters 1–3
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Today the big news in Petersburg is Countess Hélène Bezukhov’s illness—angina. For several days now, she hasn’t attended any social gatherings, and rumor has... (full context)
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...no update, everyone grows anxious, and Vassily no longer boasts. On top of this uncertainty, Hélène Bezukhov dies. Though angina is the official cause, people speculate that, when Pierre failed to... (full context)
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...the French. Now Kutuzov is regarded as a traitor. Even Prince Vassily, grieving his daughter Hélène, now says that nothing else could have been expected from a blind old man like... (full context)
Volume 4, Part 2: Chapters 8–14
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...politics or the war, much less killing Napoleon. He doesn’t worry about his marriage to Hélène, either. (full context)
Volume 4, Part 4: Chapters 12–14
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...a month after his wounding at Borodino. On the same day, Denisov told him of Hélène’s death. At the time, none of this sunk in. (full context)
Volume 4, Part 4: Chapters 15–20
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...others seem to know more about his adventures than he does. He also talks about Hélène’s death and his sorrow about her lonely end, despite the fact that they weren’t “exemplary... (full context)