Essay on The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy

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In life we often think about death and what our life has become. We never suspect that we will become ill and die, and we very rarely agonize over weather our life is what it should be until its too late, as demonstrated in Tolstoy's "The Death of Ivan Ilych." Throughout Tolstoy's life he was religious and enjoyed life, but then as he reached the height of his fame and fourteen he began to question everything he had once believed in. Some people think that "The Death of Ivan Ilych" holds a lot of symbolism between the story and Tolstoy's life. In "The Death of Ivan Ilych" there is a lot of symbolism of life and death as compared to Tolstoy's life.

Ivan Ilych was a man of success. He set out to achieve his goals, and make his money.
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He accepted that death was there but it was OK because in the end there would be no more pain. So then "He drew in a breath, stopped in the midst of a sigh, stretched out, and died." With that he died peacefully and full of joy. His entire struggle with mental suffering took a toll on him and at the same time made his physical pain worse.

Tolstoy was close to the same. As he became more famous and achieved more he began to question his own life and well-being. He wondered what the point of life was and what his purpose in life was; he often thought about suicide. He turned to science but nothing lead him to the answers he needed. Tolstoy didn't like the idea that if we die we realize that we don't have forever and that we should take life more seriously. So many peoples lives were superficial and filled with falsehood. This is why his life seemed to almost mirror "The Death of Ivan Ilych." It is understood by John Donnellly that " [Both] Tolstoy and Ilych (that is the Ilych in the last two hours of his drawn-out dying period) were much to sanguine about the human condition and the prospects for attaining moral integrity in this life." (Twetieth-Century Literary Criticism, 476) Tolstoy's faith in religion became lost. He believed in God but wasn't sure where he would lead him. Ivan Ilych also questioned this when he "wept on account of his helplessness, his terrible loneliness, the cruelty of man, the

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