Before consciousness slips away he finds himself looking up at the sky above him. We’ve written before about how Tolstoy often pairs a scene of great human tragedy with a pastoral description of nature. Tolstoy’s idea, as I see it anyway, is to highlight nature’s indifference to the human struggle. That’s what going on here. As Prince Andrei dies on the battlefield surrounded by men butchering each other the sky disinterestedly carries on. It’s just as Thomas Ligotti writes of history in his short story “Professor Nobody’s Little Lectures”: “Madness, chaos, bone-deep mayhem, devastation of innumerable souls — while we scream and perish, History licks a finger and turns the page.”
That Infinite Sky
Brian E. Denton
73

Almost matches the Homeric genius of The Iliad, which Tolstoy was inspired by (and which Tolstoy likely read in the original Greek; something we all hope and which some aspire to do)

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