Prince Andrew, the character in perpetual evolution, claims that he has " experienced that feeling of love which is the very essence of the soul and does not require an object". Also, another quote that drew my attention is: " When loving with human love one may pass from love to hatred, but divine love cannot change. No, neither death nor anything else can destroy it. It is the very essence of the soul."(p.817). What is this love that one experiences only at the closeness of death? What does Prince Andrew know that us, as part of the ignorant humanity do not know? Did Tolstoy actually know how this kind of love feels or is this just a philosophical idea he just wanted to bring into the attention of his readers?
What is love in Tolstoy's view? Is it innocent as Natasha is when she falls in love with Andrew? Is it the fruit of a comparison with bad past experiences and a desire of renewal and of a new life as it is for Pierre and Andrew? Is it selfish love as it is in Helene's case? Is it caring and worrying about your family, as it is in the Rostov family? And if we admit that love is each of the above and more, does this combination of the types of love presented in War and Peace result in the divine love Prince Andrew experiences?
What is Tolstoy telling us about love?