Theme Of The Importance Of Life In Leo Tolstoy’s Novel The Death Of Ivan Ilyich

August 22, 2022 by Essay Writer

The Tolstoy’s novella “The Death of Ivan Ilyich,” show us how was the relation between the protagonist ( Ivan ) and the death, friends and family, making us thinking how the life is important and what we need or what is better to do while we have it.

First, we can see how was the relationship between Ivan and his family. His wife, Praskovya Fedorovna, married him because the status and to be part of the the bourgeoisie, an example of it is: “ She knew how much she could get out of the government in consequence of her husband’s death, but she wanted to find out if she could possibly extract something more.”

Ivan’s daughter, Lisa, was not sad or worried when her father was sick, because she was going marry and be a bourgeois with her husband, (‘It’s as if we were to blame! I am sorry for papa, but why should we be tortured?’). But, Vladimir was different of his sister, when Ivan was sick, he went on his daddy room and did some acts of compassion, doing him be a little more happy. With this examples, we can see how Ivan’s family had no compassion with him and how everything is to the society and for status.

Second, we can see the relationship between Ivan and Peter Ivanovich, his friend. Peter was an old friend of Ivan, but it was only for status too. Peter always was interesting on Ivan’s job to his brother-in-law, for example in this part of the book: ‘Now I must apply for my brother-in-law’s transfer from Kaluga,’ thought Peter Ivanovich. ‘My wife will be very glad, and then she won’t be able to say that I never do anything for her relations.’. When Ivan died, Peter went to his house, and said the new notice for his wife and did everything normally, he was not sad with his friend, and we can see it on this excerpt: “Having told his wife at dinnertime of Ivan Ilyich’s death, and of his conjecture that it might be possible to get her brother transferred to their circuit, Peter Ivanovich sacrificed his usual nap, put on his evening clothes and drove to Ivan Ilyich’s house.”

When he was at Ivan’s funeral, he was so sad, but it was only to show to society that he really was disappointed at the death of his friend, but that was not true, ‘Peter Ivanovich continued to make the sign of the cross slightly tilting his head in an intermediate direction between the coffin, the reader, and the icons on the table in a corner of the room. Then, when it seemed to him that this movement of his arm to cross was too slow, he stopped and began to stare to the corpse.” Peter was not a true friend, he was not with Ivan while he was in pain, was not sad or afraid with his situation and did everything to have his job, to give it for his brother-in-law and to his wife stay happy with her husband.

Third, Ivan had an artificial life, he was hypocrisy, wealthy and think only on status. But no one was like him, for example Gerasim, a good man. Gerasim was honesty, empathy, doesn’t exploit others, and he always helped Ivan in everything, like when he was sick: “But Ivan Ilyich felt his presence such a comfort that he did not want to let him go.”, it is an example of how Gerasim was a true friend to Ivan. Gerasim was the only one who said the true for Ivan, while everybody was lying about his die, Gerasim said he was dying, the true, and then, Ivan saw who was his friend and his family: “expression on his face, Ivan Ilyich submits to it all I have used to submit to the speeches of the lawyers, though I knew very well that they were all lying and why they were lying.”

When Ivan Ilyich saw he was near to the death, he saw who was his true friend, the only one who had compassion, who was careful and who was not lying for him (“The last time he had called on Ivan Ilyich, Peter Ivanovich had seen Gerasim in the study. Ivan Ilyich had been particularly fond of him and he was performing the duty of a sick nurse”). That’s why Ivan had confidence in Gerasim, because all time when he needed, he was there with him, something very good for Ivan, because he can see before he die, who was not lying for him.

In conclusion, Ivan only saw the true love and compassion when he was not with his family and friends, staying only with a worker, Gerasim, the only one who was with him when he was sick and in pain, doing Ivan thinks about all his life, full of lies, false ways of life and false friends, his life was only for status and money, forgetting the love on the marriage, for example. He could feel guilty, and wanted to change it, but there were no way, and that’s why we need make everything thinking in ourself, and not in the others (the society), and have a happy life, because when we die, the money doesn’t go with us, for example, but we can leave the proud of having many things with family and friends, what really make us happy on life.


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