Why is Tolstoy so cynical about love?
Love in War and Peace so far has been an enigma- it is inexplicable, unachievable, or unreciprocated. Is this theme of unrequited love based on his own disillusionment? Tolstoy married his wife for the same reasons that Prince Andrew married Lise, and Pierre married Helene- sexual attraction. Clearly this was never foundation enough for a marriage, and he reinforces this throughout the novel.
However, admittedly, Tolstoy and his wife were very happy while the novel was still being written. Why then is the novel riddled with the theme of love governed by passion that doesn't come to anything? Was it perhaps a foreshadowing of the future of love for him? Towards the end of his life Tolstoy and his wife were very unhappy— Perhaps his writing in War and Peace was an unconscious foreshadowing of this.
All characters seem to be governed by passion and not logic. Pierre and Helene got married spontaneously, in a daze of passion. Natasha’s love for Anatole cost her the person whom she was truly in love with- Prince Andrew. These instances seem to repeatedly reinforce the stereotype of young love and rushed decisions. Perhaps this is why War and Peace has so often been called a novel for the young- it encapsulates adolescent passion like no other.