The Death of Ivan Ilych - Essay Example

Only on StudentShare

Extract of sample
The Death of Ivan Ilych

If your life does not affect the lives of others, then it has very little meaning. The ways in which Ivan Ilych treated people during his lifetime was reciprocated by them in his death. Ivan Ilych was too concerned with duty and pleasure to be interested in anyone else, and the opening scene of the story - the announcement of his death - portrays how others showed the same attitudes toward his death.
The first statement that is uttered in the story is by one of his supposed friends, "Gentlemen, Ivan Ilych has died.' (Tolstoy 363). This spurs a flurry of mental activity among the others in the room, who all knew Ilych. "The first thought of each of the gentlemen in that private room was of the changes and promotions it might occasion among themselves or their acquaintances" (363). A general sense of relief sprang up in each man's mind as they sat around and contemplated the fact that while Ilych was dead, they were still alive (364). Then their relief turned to irritation when they realized that they were close enough to the dead man to have to go and pay their respects to his family. Duty called, and they had to answer.
This insistence on doing the "right thing" mirrors Ilych's own course of action during his lifetime. He was always consumed with doing the right thing. ...
Download paper


Over two thousand years ago, the Greek philosopher Socrates made the statement: "an unexamined life is not worth living." In 1886, a short novel was published by the Russian author Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy that demonstrated the truth of this statement in the fictional life (and death) of Ivan Ilych…
Author : abode

Related Essays

Discuss Rousseau and either Tolstoy or Sartre
The two basic kinds of inequality that Rousseau delineates are, firstly, natural and physical inequalities that are "established by nature" (11) and are not in any way socially constructed and, secondly, moral and political kinds of inequality, or those inequalities that are dependent upon social convention. The first kind of inequality - natural inequalities - are not treated by Rousseau, mainly because their origins do not need to be studied intensively (it is somewhat of a tautology to say that natural inequalities come about due to nature) and secondly because they are inequalities that...
6 pages (1506 words) Essay
The comparison of death in literature
It is described with the same straight face as the author's grandmother used to sport while telling the most fantastic or gruesome of tales, which was an inspiration for Marquez to write the novel.
6 pages (1506 words) Book Report/Review
Death and Destruction in Toni Morrison's Sula
Historically, great literature has concerned itself with nature, death, and love. In Sula, Morrison takes on an apparently simple theme, the friendship of two black girls. One, Nel Wright, follows the pattern of life society has laid out for her, and the other, Sula Peace, tries to create her own pattern, to achieve her own self. In Sula, the patterns of both cultures are distinct, yet share common factors (Deborah E. McDowell, 1988, 80). Sula's destiny is charted by the mythology of Evil and Nature her hometown ascribes to and by the view the Bottom as well as the larger society holds of...
8 pages (2008 words) Essay
The Role of Gerasim in The Death of Ivan Ilych
His work cronies read the obituary in the local newspaper and have two thoughts. The first one, an opening will occur in the department and one of them will be promoted. They begin to fantasize about the higher pay and status of the new position. The second one, they will have to go through the formalities of visiting the family, attending the funeral and subsequent burial. They are not saddened or upset, they think of this as an inconvenience "his so-called friends, could not help thinking also that they would now have to fulfil [sic] the very tiresome demands of propriety by attending the...
3 pages (753 words) Essay
The Cheese and the Worms by Carlo Ginzburg. On Menochios Death.
Menocchio was an extraordinary miller who thrived during the era of Reformation in Italy. He lived in the village of Montereale situated in the rural town of Friuli in Venice. He also regarded himself as holding occupations as a "carpenter, sawyer, mason and other things."1 What made this miller extraordinary were his unique ideas which a typical man, uneducated and of lowly status as he was, does not usually possess. He claimed that he has an "artful mind" that wanted to seek out higher things that he did not know.2 His extraordinary ideas were the fusion of the ideology derived from his...
8 pages (2008 words) Essay
Got a tricky question? Receive an answer from students like you! Try us!