Life in The Death of Ivan Ilyich Â Â Â Â In Leo Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilyich, the story begins with the death of the title character, Ivan Ilyich Golovin.Â Ivan's closest friends discover his death in the obituary column in chapter one, but it is not until chapter two that we encounter our hero.Â Despite this opening, while Ilyich is physically alive during most of the story's action he only becomes spiritually alive a few moments before his death. Â The life of Ivan Ilyich, we are told, "had been most simple and most ordinary and therefore most terrible" (Tolstoy, Ch. 2).Â In analyzing this description of Ivan's life, we see that Ivan has always done what is expected of him in the eyes of others (wife, co-workers, employers, etc.).Â While Ivan believes his life has run easily, pleasantly, and decorously like it should, we see that in reality it is an unfulfilled life.Â Ivan's closest associates are more worried about who will be next in line for promotion now that he is gone, and at his funeral they are more concerned over a bridge game than grieving for the loss of a friend, "The more intimate of Ivan Ilyich's acquaintances, his so-called friends, could not help thinking also that they would now have to fulfill the very tiresome demands of propriety by attending the funeral service and paying a visit of condolence to the widow" (Tolstoy Ch. 1). Â Ivan's wife is also self-centered and exhibits great disdain for her husband, who she considers more of a nuisance and hassle than anything else.Â Ivan's last days are spent in terrible physical agony, as he uncontrollably screams and moans in pain.Â When Ivan's friends come to pay their respects to his widow, we see in her comments to them that she never reall... ...y view this as a Christian worldview, one that embraces the afterlife, I see it as a man looking forward to inevitable death because even if it came late he figured out a meaning to life.Â In so doing he may not have had the opportunity to relive his life as no man does, but he found peace and fulfillment in his acceptance of his end.Â Existentialism argues in the concept of the "eternal return" that an individual to be most fulfilled should live a life that, having to repeat it over identically for all eternity, would be a concept that would be embraced.Â If Ivan had the chance to come back he would not enjoy living the same life over, but given another chance to build a new one he would surely construct one that is different. Â WORKSÂ CITED Â Tolstoy, L.Â The Death of Ivan Ilyich.Â Available: http://faculty.stcc.cc.tn.us/bmcclure/links2/ilyich.htm, 1886.
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