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Hi, David,

First, thank you for a thoughtful and thought provoking reply.

I’m with you in thinking that forgiveness is a process of letting go, like the example of Norman’s opinion.

I don’t so much abide with the belief that forgiveness implies debt or creates conditions of superiority. An external source can provide the catalyst for forgiveness, or rage or any emotional response. But, I see forgiveness as a wholly intrinsic process which frees the soul from suffering.

All sorts of wild conditions are flying at these characters from all directions; the craziest kinds of external conditions are presented to them.

Through these conditions and his characters, Tolstoy is testing various responses, measuring them, formulating his own equation for happiness. With Princess Marya, he touches on an indispensable element, forgiveness. Mixed in with Marya are other elements (I see shame, guilt, self grasping) which may need to be present in order for her finer quality, forgiveness, to manifest.