One of the most plaguing blessings of humanity is its ability and necessity to understand the nature of the universe. Despite the best efforts of mankind’s brightest over the course of 7,000 years, the answer to the question, “what is the meaning of life?,” continues to remain a mystery. The debate endlessly evolves from era to era without anyone making great strides toward a real answer. Philosophers who have contemplated this question have only shifted perspectives around possible conclusions by making assertions and adhering to them. Leo Tolstoy and Albert Camus view existence from a religious and secular standpoint, respectively, making their ideologies radically different yet comparable on a relative scale. While their perspectives conflict …show more content…
Tolstoy lived in protestant Russia during sociopolitical events that resulted in a consumerist middle class. Much like the earlier philosopher Henry David Thoreau, Tolstoy rejected materialistic desires. Throughout The Death of Ivan Ilyich, he emphasizes that Ivan’s physical possessions mean little to the character as he approaches his ever nearing death. This anti-materialist sentiment evolved from Tolstoy’s radical brand of Christianity. After several months of suffering in Tolstoy’s work, Ivan finally experiences genuine hope and solace after receiving communion; anger follows the short glimmer of happiness when he realizes that everything else that he had lived for means nothing (Tolstoy 214-15). The lack of grief and genuine emotion written into most of the characters in the piece also provides some social commentary from Tolstoy on social formalities versus human compassion. Through the juxtaposition of the servant Gerasim with most of the other characters, Tolstoy writes that actions from one’s heart have value and meaning; the individual dictates his/her own meaning through free will and personal desires, not society. From an overarching perspective, Tolstoy adhered to a Christian derivative of …show more content…
Camus poses a summary of his philosophy in another work of his known as The Myth of Sisyphus. In Greek mythology, Zeus punishes Sisyphus by tasking him with the impossible task of rolling an enchanted boulder up a hill. No matter how close Sisyphus came to succeeding in his goal, the boulder would roll back down the hill. The story serves as a metaphor for the futility of all of humanity’s effort in attempting to understand the incomprehensible. Nonetheless, Camus commends Sisyphus’s endeavor to succeed in the impossible; the search for meaning will not provide answers but is noble and meaningful intrinsically. Camus outlines this argument in The Stranger through the nihilistic anti-hero Meursault. Throughout the novel, Meursault exhibits very little emotion, which only filters into the protagonist’s stream of consciousness when he expresses physical discomfort or social frustration. The detachment from the world around him makes him a case study for one’s personal quest to find his/her own purpose. Camus’s secular approach deviated from contemporary understanding and challenged the existentialist and religious ideologies that preceded
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In “The Death of Ivan Llyich”, the middle-class people tend to have more of a struggle of accepting natural things of life instead of the peasants who expect it to come and are more at ease with the thought of death rather than others. Like Griesheim treats his master Ivan with kindness because the condition he was but the middle-class people like Praskovya Fedorovna Golovina hides her emotions and shows no pity for Ivan. It seems like the Russians in the upper-classes tend to hide their emotions and mask
The Death of Ivan Ilyich: The Lesson Tolstoy’s work of art is an education of a man’s transition to death. It is far from physical or even psychological; it is the mental, emotional, and spiritual battle that plagues Ivan Ilyich's inner being. The bodily deterioration of Ivan Ilyich is categorized by a corresponding increasing pursuit for purpose and meaning. Ivan Ilyich realizes that he did not live a good life and regretted the choices he made. By the time he actually realized his life was not what it should have been, he was unable to change it and make it better.
Sigmund Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis explores the concept of a person’s behavior being controlled by their unconscious and conscious mind. Almost all of the literary works that exist tend to have a conflict that pertains to either the plot or the character. In Leo Tolstoy’s fiction novella “The Death of Ivan Ilyich”, he writes about the life of a fictional character named Ivan Ilyich and his conflicts that he deals with throughout his adulthood. Tolstoy specifically writes this novella in an interesting order by beginning the story after Ivan’s death and then continuing the story before his death. Another significant character in the story is Ivan’s son Vasya.
The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy is a cautionary tale about the titular Ivan Ilyich’s life and death that followed. The story unapologetically depicts Ilyich’s hollow life with commanding diction and portrays a realistic yet hopeful penance that comes at the end of his life. Throughout the story, we are shown Ivan’s actions through his perspective and the people around him and this allows the reader to get a clear sense of his mindset through his life and the ripples his actions create. Ivan isolates himself from his family at the first inconvenience they provide while submerging himself in his work. However, the time spent pleasing his superiors and the Russian elite is time spent in vain as we are shown how false the relationships
Gerasim is a servant, one seen as less or at the bottom of a community, and he is the only one able to give Ivan comforting words and support because he is able to understand pain is a part of life. Ivan Ilyich is bothered on his last days about the way he is isolated and in pain but throughout his life he has isolated himself and not been there to comfort others when they are in pain. Gerasim was the last person Ivan Ilyich ever would have respected or come to for help, but in his last days he is the only person Ivan has supporting him, and he gives Ivan the ability to acknowledge the death he will soon face. As the days to his death Praskovya becomes more and more frustrating to Ivan because he realizes she is doing everything for her own sake. However, I believe Tolstoy portrays her in this light to show how hard it is for someone to think about your feelings when you have shown no regard for theirs for the entirety
Tolstoy shows that the attractions of materialism distract us from living a more purposeful and fulfilling life. Tolstoy begins the second chapter by stating, “Ivan Ilyich’s life had been most simple and most ordinary and therefore most terrible.” (Page 11) This shows that Ivan cares more about what he has in life then what he does with his life. Ivan bought, "damasks, dark wood, plants, rugs, and dull and polished bronzes — all the things people of a certain class have in order to resemble other people of that class.”
The Death of Ivan Ilych" written by Leo Tolstoy recounts the narration of suffering and death of a conformist high level judge who spent his whole life based on the opinions and expectations of his social commanders. This story is one of Leo's remarkable masterpieces, written presently after his religious conversion of the late 1870s. In my opinion, one of the significant phrases which awaken a strong impression for the reader is "Ivan Ilych's life had been most simple and most ordinary and therefore most terrible." This sentence which comes from chapter 2 of the novel demonstrates that ,although simple life is overally recognized as virtue, Ivan's life is simple but in the fallacious way.
Most people like to believe they are leading a life they chose, even if they’re not—but Ivan admits to making decisions based on what those whom he views as successful believe. Ivan held a characteristic “of being drawn to people of high station like a fly toward the light; he adopted their habits and their views on life…” (Tolstoy 40). Tolstoy is literally describing Ivan Ilyich as someone who took on the habits and views of others—absorbing them as his own—never once suggesting that in building his life he thought of himself, things that might make him happy. Then again, this same idea is suggested (the idea of Ivan being “other people,”) when he meets his wife.
Tolstoy’s document is also an important passage to read as it clarifies many of the misconceptions and stereotypes that many individuals had about Russia and its history. One major misconception that people have on Russia is that they were and still are a united and strong country. Tolstoy effectively challenges this misconception in his document, as he constantly explains how Russia, particularly in the nineteenth century, was divided, and describes how many individuals felt oppressed and subjugated by Russia’s authorities. In one example, Tolstoy explains how Hadji Murad encountered soldiers that were trying to detain and eventually cause him to die. Tolstoy states, “Hadji Murad touched his horse and rode on at an even pace.
The Value of Life “The death of Ivan Ilych” is a story by Leo Tolstoy that talks about Ivan Ilych’s life, and how he behaved during his life. The story focuses on the value of life because the author tries to explain how life disappears, even regardless how rich or important people are, everybody dies. The author tells how was affected Ivan for his ambition, and how he was punished for not live in a right way. Life has rules and some people do not follow them, and they are castigated in different ways depending on their bad doings.
Throughout his life, Leo Tolstoy was influenced by his relatives and internal struggles as he pursued his literary career. Leo Nikolayevich Tolstoy was born in Russia on September 9th, 1828 on his family’s estate, Yasnaya Polyana (Rosenblum; Brand). When Tolstoy was only two, his mother Marya Nikolayevna Volonsky passed away during the birth of her fifth child (Rosenblum; Radley). Only a few years after his mother’s death Tolstoy’s father Nikolay Ilyinch passed in 1837 (Radley).
Even though Tolstoy denounces war as one of the most brutal example of state violence, before he was converted to the Christian belief, he was become part of the government forces. He participated in any war against other countries for he was a soldier. So, after Tolstoy converted to Christianity, his attraction in immoral things turned into absolute denunciation both of the process of war and of the hypocrisy of the state. 126.96.36.199 Laws and Orders As part of Tolstoy’s denunciation of the state, he criticizes also the laws and order which the government enforced to the people.