Death Of Ivan Ilych By Tolstoy Essay

, Research Paper

Leo Tolstoy, born in Russia in 1828, wrote The Death of Ivan Ilych. The story

was written eight years after Tolstoy?s spiritual conversion and was inspired

by his own brother?s death. The Death of Ivan Ilych has several ironies

expressed in the story. Ilych expressed his denial, anger, depression and

acceptance towards dying very visibly. Ilych expressed denial of his condition

when he laughed about his accident. Ilych was explaining to the upholsterer how

he wanted the drapes to hand and he slipped off the ladder. He hit his side

against the knob of the window frame. He told his wife it was only a bruise.

Since he was fairly athletic, he said he did not get seriously hurt, but if it

had been any other man they might have been killed from the accident. Within a

short time, Ilych?s condition became more intense and it was decided that he

needed a second opinion because he was not getting any better. He thought the

doctor did not know what he was doing, but this was not the case. He needed an

excuse for his failing health. His celebrated doctor diagnosed him basically

with the same symptoms his first doctor had. This did not make Ilych very happy.

Ilych was expressing more and more anger because of hid declining health. While

in his home, Ilych was always blaming Praskovya, his wife for everything. At the

dinner table, he complained about the food not being prepared correctly, he did

not like the way his daughter?s hair was styled, and he even blamed her if

their son put his elbows on the dinner table. His wife suggested getting a

famous specialist to come see him, regardless of the cost. Ilych said no. She

kissed his forehead and said? ?Good-night. Please God you?ll sleep.? As

she kissed him, Ilych hated her so much he wanted to push her away but did not.

On another occasion, Ilych was angry with everyone about everything and was

upset because they did not pity him. He overheard them enjoying themselves and

not including him. He was so angry and began choking with unbearable misery. He

was even angry with himself and thought no man should have to suffer in this

manner. He tried to calm himself and find a way to rationalize the whole

situation. Ilych?s condition caused him to express a great deal of depression.

Deep in his heart he knew he was dying but could not get used to the fact. He

began to sleep less and less and was given Opium and hypodermic shots of

Morphine; the drugs did little to calm him. The special food fixed for him

became tasteless and was sickening. The butler, Geraim?s assistance, would

make Ilych as comfortable as possible. One evening Ilych moved his legs from

Gerasim?s shoulders, turned on his side and felt sorry for himself. He wept

like a child because of his helplessness, loneliness and anger with God. He felt

God had forsaken him. Ilych lost all hope on life and was so depressed he

questioned God as to why was he doing this to him. Ivan finally expressed the

acceptance of his condition. He would no longer lie in bed but instead he would

lie on the sofa all the time. He began to ask himself the same question over and

over, ?what is this? Can this be death?? His conscience, or inner voice said

to him ?yes, it is death.? His wife began to remind him about taking his

medicine. He became upset and told her, ?for Christ?s sake, let me die in

peace!? The doctor came to visit him as scheduled and one day he told the

doctor, ?you know you can do nothing for me, so leave me alone.? Ilych told

him that he could not even ease his pain so let him be. He struggled and

suffered with severe pain for three days and would scream hopelessly. Suddenly

he knew what was happening to him and wanted to release himself from suffering.


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