How does Pierre become Count Bezukhov in War and Peace?

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Pierre becomes the new Count Bezukhov upon the death of his father, one of the richest men in Russia. The sole heir to his late father's enormous estate, Pierre is now a fantastically wealthy man as well as a socially prominent individual. The world is now very much Pierre's oyster....

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Pierre becomes the new Count Bezukhov upon the death of his father, one of the richest men in Russia. The sole heir to his late father's enormous estate, Pierre is now a fantastically wealthy man as well as a socially prominent individual. The world is now very much Pierre's oyster. Young, rich, and eligible, he is in an envious position.

This is quite a turn up for the books, as Pierre was previously just one of many of the old Count Bezukhov's many illegitimate children. Up until the death of his father he'd led the lifestyle of a dissolute young rake, regularly getting up to all kinds of mischief, much of it revolving around the excessive intake of alcohol.

In theory, then, Pierre's inheritance should set him on the straight and narrow and give him a sense of purpose and direction in life. In practice, however, that doesn't happen; at least, not straight away. The naive Pierre is immediately snagged by a shameless gold-digger, the beautiful, but devious, Princess Hélène. Trapped in a loveless marriage, it's clear that the trappings of wealth and position have not done much for Pierre; if anything, they've made his situation worse, isolating him even further from society.

Nevertheless, Pierre does eventually find love with Natasha Rostova. But there's still an awful lot of emotional turmoil for him to experience before he reaches this happy stage.

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