The Death of Ivan Ilyich: Leo Tolstoy - Rebirth by Death

Leo Tolstoy was a great humanist. Evolution of human character was a subject
of his close attention. The main personage of the story "The Death of Ivan
Ilyich" is ordinary official who conduct his life according to a strict social
code, never deviating from what was rule d by society, by his pleasure, by
materialistic motives, but never by conscience. His contact with his wife and
children was limited and shallow because he didn\'t find pleasure in this. His
life satisfied him when he was healthy, but when he faced with death his
loneliness overwhelmed him. After the accident which starts his long dying Ivan
Ilyich realized that his life, though he has been successful and has always done
the proper things, is all false. He understood that his life was meaningless.
As his illness progressed, Ivan Ilyich felt increasingly the need to be loved.
Only in front of death he knew what real feeling is. Ivan Ilyich felt real
empathy and pity from peasant Gerasim and son Vasya. His moral misery was worse
than physical. The result of this was that Ivan Ilyich in dying became the
individual that he never was in his typical life. He understood that his notion
about his decent and helpfulness was just illusion. He felt as if he were
being squeezed down into a black hole and there at the bottom was light. This
metaphor serves as image of physical death and spiritual rebirth. His death
gave birth to new consciousness. He suddenly perceived that man\'s essential
life belongs to the spirit and well-being is achieved through loving of people.
He asked forgiveness of his family for his sins and welcomed death... This moral
transformation makes real end of his unreal life. As a moralist Tolstoy would
like to play attention of Russian intelligentsia how badly they live, how they
waste their talents, strengths, and capabilities. He called on moral self-
-improvement.

Category: English