I’m not sure how to start this essay. I could go with a pithy and potent thematically relevant one-liner that packs a punch. It’s also possible to construct an allusive introductory paragraph: Hamlet, probably. Or, finally, just start by writing a brief synopsis of the chapter and then try to weave its theme throughout the body paragraphs as I go along. They’re all good options. Since I can’t decide which one to employ I’ll just say that this short essay is about indecision in general and Pierre Bezukhov’s indecisiveness in particular.
I mean, really. Just look at the guy. We already know he suffers from a case of chronic irresolution. Today, however, Pierre takes it to a whole new level. He asks himself whether or not he should join the army in defense of the motherland. Not able to reason his way to an answer to this question he instead opts to play a game of patience and if the patience comes out he’ll . . . well, he can’t decide what he’ll do if the patience comes out.
At this moment the eldest princess announcers herself. She informs him in no uncertain terms that he must make a decision immediately about whether or not to leave Moscow. She also tells him that everyone else has already left.
Pierre eventually decides that if the patience comes out it means he’ll join the army. The patience comes out. He decides not to join the army.
Apparently deciding to remain in Moscow, Pierre sets off on his daily errands. At one point in the day he cannot decide where he wants his coachman to take him and this confusion provokes him to change his mind once again: He most certainly should leave Moscow and do so immediately.
Which he does the next day.
Of things to be or not to be indecisive is, probably, a thing not to be. Just look at all the problems it causes Pierre throughout War and Peace. And indecision is at least part of the reason why the moody Prince of Denmark ends up on the poisoned point of Laertes’ blade.
Don’t end up on the poisoned point of Laertes’ blade.
In my adoptive father I observed mildness of temper, and unchangeable resolution in the things he had determined after due deliberation.
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations