Leo Tolstoy's The Death Of Ivan Ilych

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The Death of Ivan Ilych, by Leo Tolstoy, is a famous and well renowned novel depicting the time leading up to and the death of a 19th century Russian man. Ivan Ilych was an ordinary middle-class Russian man, who lived the everyday life of a court official filled with pleasantness and properness. Unfortunately, leading up to his death, and in the last three days of his life, Ivan experienced a tremendous amount of pain, suffering, anxiety, and loneliness. Despite these hardships that Ivan faced and what other characters think, he did, in fact, have a “good death.”

Ivan Ilych died a good death surrounded by his family members, and in his home. But, people have different views and opinions of what exactly constitutes a good death. According to Farlex and Partners’ medical dictionary from 2009, a good death is defined as “the Death in which
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However, the opinions of those characters about Ivan’s death have no affect on whether or not his death is good. Ivan’s children were pessimistic and worried for him with the opinion that he was suffering immensely, as shown through his son’s crying in the first chapter. But, this is insignificant since this behavior is part of the fourth stage of grief, which is depression and is banal among those who lost someone. Additionally, Ivan’s wife, Praskovya Fedorovna, had an ambivalent opinion towards her husband’s suffering. She states, “She began to wish he would die; yet she did not want him to die because then his salary would cease.” (4.2) She doesn’t care very much for her husband and Ivan only married her in the first place because it was a social more and would be proper. Her opinions about Ivan’s death are irrelevant since she only wants him alive for financial reasons - to pay bills and buy things. Furthermore, the opinions of the other characters of the novel have no part of the goodness of Ivan’s
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