This chapter is again very clever (and quite terrifying) both for what it says and what it does not say. If you were to analyse, to try to turn it into a movie scene, you’d be relying heavily on your actors, because all that’s really happening here is that Anatole joins Natasha and Co in their box and has a few chats about nothing and invites her to a costume ball.
But look what’s going on underneath . . . Natasha knows that no matter how innocent the conversation, she is well and truly cheating on Andrei with this guy. The little argument that she has in her head when she gets home about “I didn’t do anything” vs “Then why do I feel so guilty?” is quite human and quite spot on.
I think it’s a sobering reminder that affairs and cheating can not simply be defined sexually. They’re also defined by what goes on in your mind as well . . . Tolstoy may well have been thinking of the words of Jesus himself, when He said (slightly paraphrased by me), “If you look at another woman lustfully, you’ve committed adultery in your heart.”
The saga continues tomorrow . . .