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Characterization of Helen Kuragina in Leo Tolstoy's novel War and Peace

Princess Helen Kuragina, before her marriage, conquered "the whole of Petersburg", that is, its narrow stratum, which is usually called the higher society. Her full name in the girlhood is Elena Vasilievna Kuragina.

This woman is represented differently to artists and filmmakers of all countries. In the novel "War and Peace" Helen Kuragina - a vivid image. Let's get acquainted with it in more detail.

Family Helen Kuragina

Helen is the daughter of Prince Vasily and the sister of Anatol and Ippolit Kuragins. L. Tolstoy does not show Helen in a family setting. Only by indirect hints can you understand what cold and soulless atmosphere in her reigns. First of all, the tone in the family is set by the intriguing schemer and prince Vasiliy. He just always keeps as close to the people above him as possible and from which you can get something. And always away from those who are lower than he (as, for example, the daughter of his ancient late friend, the impoverished princess Drubetskaya, who applied to him for her son).

The prince's wife is an absolutely empty place, with practically no attention paid to the work. Only at the end it can be understood that a woman she is quite disgusting (envies her own daughter). In the novel, gradually, page by page, chapter by chapter, Helen Kuragina rises to her full height. The image created by L. Tolstoy is far from ideal.

Relations with brothers and Pierre

Her brother Anatole, with all his beauty, is cynical and disgusting in all his manifestations. She and her sister make a decent couple. Their relationship is so ambiguous that the father removes Anatol from his sister, as he fears incest.

Only the face of the meek Hippolytus Kurakin, as in a mirror, reflects the whole essence of this family. Pierre has known Helen since childhood. Their fathers are distant relatives. P. Bezukhov spent a long time abroad and met in the Salon A. P. Scherer a dazzlingly prettiest girl for marriage. She only needs a suitable candidate. And with Pierre, she evokes feelings that he himself is ashamed of. He feels something nasty when he meets Helen. But at the same time, Prince Vasily tries to arrange their meetings as often as possible. This is discussed all over Petersburg. Everyone thinks Pierre is a groom, but he does not take a decisive step.


The task of Prince Vasily is to marry the daughter of a man with a fortune. He finds simple-minded Pierre Bezukhov. From the clutches of this family, set a certain goal, it is impossible to escape. Pierre, himself not understanding how this happens, is engaged to Helen. Pierre, like a lamb on the slaughter, sits next to Helen.

He hears her corset creaking, she smells her perfume, but something prevents him from taking the last step and asking for her hand. Pierre had always thought that she was stupid, and he does not feel love for her, only a passion that he himself does not respect. But Elena Vasilyevna, for all her stupidity, is not at all simple.

When the father comes to the room where completely sulky from the Bezukhov sitting, Kuragin roughly kisses the man, and they all are engaged. Wedding is soon. This is not a satire. Tolstoy shows life as it is. The engagement scene is an excellent description of Helen Kuragina as a cynical creature.

The appearance of Elena Vasilyevna

This young blond girl, beautiful as a marble statue, created by a magnificent sculptor, is perfect from head to toe. There are no flaws in her appearance. And she is getting better every year for the rest of her life. She blossomed early. On the first pages of the novel she appears as a young girl who has already become accustomed to her all-conquering beauty. And further it becomes outwardly more and more perfect. This is the characteristic of Helen Kuragina, captivating beauty.

But what about if you look at a novel, does it look like it? She has black eyes, blond hair, a body of antique beauty that always forms a single whole with her dress. At the first appearance in the cabin of Anna Pavlova Scherer she is dressed in a ball gown with a cipher. The code indicates that she is either a graduate of the Smolny Institute or a maid of honor. At the beginning of the novel, she is about eighteen to twenty-two years old. In another case, no one would call her a young girl. Everyone who saw her admired the beautiful Helen.

Traits of character Helen

Smile does not come off Elena Vasilievna's face. She's just fascinating. But at the same time it is monotonous and has no shades. She smiles to everyone the same way.

Dresses Elena Vasilievna prefers very open. She seeks to demonstrate an ideally beautiful chest, shoulders, back and arms. To her charm was more noticeable, she periodically adjusts ornaments on the chest, then her all-conquering beauty becomes even more noticeable.

And manners? Countess Bezukhova knows how to submit. First, it is elegant. Secondly, always calm and majestic. She does not walk, but floats. And keeps himself in the light tacitly and dignifiedly. She simply has nothing to say, so she responds to all the speeches addressed to her in monosyllables, accompanying the words with a monotonous smile.

This is a characteristic of Helen Kuragina, which L. Tolstoy repeatedly emphasizes. Everything in it gives the impression of a deep mind, which in fact is simply practical, rude and cynical.

The Communion of Countess Bezukhova

At home, she managed to arrange a salon, in which all sought to get. Her close friends are "the whole Petersburg". Secular people, who are known as amiable and clever people, diplomats, Russian and foreign, all are in a hurry to pay their respects to the Countess. If a person is taken to her house, then he automatically receives recognition in all houses of St. Petersburg. Diplomat Bilibin is preparing his best "catchwords" to first express them in the cabin Bezukhova.

If she visits the theater, then her very presence in the box becomes like a performance. The most notable and intelligent men rush to her, and all the others watch this spectacle. Show yourself without any embarrassment and embarrassment for show - the care of Elena Vasilyevna. Modesty is not her element. This is also a characteristic of Helen Kuragina.

Stupidity and emptiness freely, without effort on its part, successfully hide. In society, the reputation of a woman as intelligent and beautiful as her was firmly established. Hypocrisy, like her father, in Elena Vasilyevna's blood. She was able to speak quite naturally what she did not think about, and it's quite simple and easy to flatter.

What is hidden behind aristocratic manners

Helen Kuragina and Pierre Bezukhov after the wedding even more separated from each other. Their marriage is not happy. Pierre looks at the beautiful wife with disgust. His wife, a secular lioness, considers her husband a fool and does not hide this. She does not want to have children. The husband sees the rudeness of her thoughts and the vulgarity of her expressions. Pierre is horrified to realize that she is a depraved woman. She has a lover - Dolokhov. He understands how disgustingly she influenced the pure being - Natasha Rostov. Ellen quite naturally acquaints the brother of Anatole, the famous rake, with the bride of Prince Bolkonsky. Smilfully, calmly and with pleasure they watch the confused girl. Natasha Rostov is unable to withstand double pressure and is preparing to escape with Anatole. She naively succumbed to his beauty and charm of evil.

Only later, when the escape was revealed and time passed, Natasha Rostov (not without the influence of Pierre) is again able to enjoy life and understand to which chasm her beautiful Elena Vasilievna pushed her.

And Helen Kuragina's life goes on as usual. After Pierre left his wife and she pulled out, as she is a mercenary woman, a significant part of the state, Helen became close to a high-ranking nobleman, and later, in Vilna, and with a foreign prince. Returning to St. Petersburg, she makes efforts to keep in touch with both, without insulting any of her lovers.

Plans of Elena Vasilievna Kuragina

She is going to accept Catholicism and divorce Pierre. Then she can and have a significant condition and get married again. Faith as such does not interest her. For her, born in an Orthodox family, there is no difference between Catholicism and any other faith, if she raises her even higher up the social ladder. And she receives documents that allow her to accept Catholicism. This once again emphasizes the complete lack of principle of a secular lady. Only a sudden death from a chest sore stops these immoral and far-reaching intentions.

L. N. Tolstoy outlined the convincing image of Elena Vasilievna. The deceptiveness and cunning of beauty is represented by Helen Kuragina. The image is full of vitality. Tolstoy shows it in its entirety of monstrous cynicism and the powerful animal power that it needs for the victories it has set.

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