Prince Andrew Bolkónski is a great match for Natasha Rostóva as a marriage between the two would be greatly beneficial for both of them. Natasha being young and naïve could gain a lot from a disciplined and well-read man such as Andrew. Andrew’s intellect sets him apart from the other characters and that combined with his humble personality and great depth in thinking about philosophical matters make him highly intriguing. Tolstoy describes Andrew’s thoughts as ones with “extraordinary clearness and rapidity”. Apart from his mental abilities, his ability to change his outlook on life go hand in hand with Tolstoy’s belief of self-improvement and the importance of its role in human life[i]. After his near death experience, Andrew restructures his priorities, he says his son is the “one thing left” now. The devotion he has for his son is shown in Book Five, Chapter Seven and reveals his capacity to care. Andrew’s love for Natasha is genuine; his love for her reignites passion in him and gives him a “beaming, ecstatic expression of renewed life”[ii].
Unlike Anatole and Boris, Andrew is interested in Natasha for who she is and not for anything callous or calculated. As the novel progresses Andrew changes, in Book Six, Chapter Two members of society see that Andrew has lost “pride and contemptuous irony and acquired the serenity that comes with years”, serenity Natasha could benefit from. Practically speaking, a marriage between Andrew and Natasha would greatly help the Rostóvs, as they will not have to pay dowry. As we have seen in the book and even historically, lack of funds puts girls in vulnerable positions, desperate for the very few matches available. Andrew is a match all of high society agrees is rare and highly sought after, Natasha is considered lucky to have Andrew. Andrew being a thinker and Natasha a feeler[iii], a union between them would create a balance. Natasha’s effects on Andrew are already evidently positive; driving him out of the sorrowful state he was in after his involvement in the war. One thing to remember is Natasha is still young; her permanent personality is yet to be set or revealed by the author. She has potential and her positivity and generally carefree attitude if added with discipline and calamity, things Andrew can provide, can lead her to becoming something greater. One last thing, Natasha is not Lise. Andrew finds Natasha’s “shy grace” admirable. Natasha also can fit in well in the country. Part of the conflict between Lise and the Bolkónskis always surrounded her craving aristocratic circles and finding country life dull.
I had to limit myself! I could defend Andrew for days :-)
[i] Idea first expressed in my third essay.
[ii] Idea first expressed in my third essay.
[iii] Idea and terms (thinker and feeler) first introduced in my third essay.