Tolstoy's Fear of Death in 'The Death of Ivan Illyich' Analytical Essay by scribbler

Tolstoy's Fear of Death in 'The Death of Ivan Illyich'
An analysis of "The Death of Ivan Illyich", based on Temira Pachmuss' article, "The Theme of Love and Death in Tolstoy's 'The Death of Ivan Illyich'".
# 152520 | 823 words | 1 source | MLA | 2013 | US
Published on Mar 06, 2013 in Literature (Russian)

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The paper looks at the commentary of Temira Pachmuss on Tolstoy's "The Death of Ivan Illyich" where he examines Tolstoy's attitude concerning death and dying through the life and death of Ivan. The paper discusses Tolstoy's great fear of death and explains that he uses Ivan as an example of what could possible happen in a worst case scenario, as the dying man realizes everything in his life has been nothing but a lie. The paper also highlights how through Ivan, Tolstoy encourages mankind to live a life of truth, which includes loving his neighbor,.

From the Paper:

"Pachmuss asserts that Tolstoy's fascination with the riddle of life and death originated with his fears of death ore than any intellectual inkling he might have experienced. Contemplating suicide, he wondered if there was anything meaningful enough to overcome death. He believed there was nothing worse than death and wrote that once "you realize that with it everything comes to an end, then there is nothing worse than life either" (Tolstoy qtd. in Pachmuss). This fear emerges in "The Death of Ivan Illyich" because Ivan lives a very empty and false life and does not realize the weight of what this means until the end. The isolation Tolstoy felt in his life is discovered in the first paragraphs of the story when those who knew him discuss any and everything but Ivan in a thoughtful, reflective manner. Ivan's loneliness and isolation "horrified Tolstoy as much as the thought of death itself" (Pachmuss 77) writes Pachmuss. This is Tolstoy's warning to readers: isolation "influences man's relationship with nature, which includes not only his life but his death" (Pachmuss). Ivan escaped life only to find himself lost in isolation. He was absorbed in self, Pachmuss writes, and this feeling "intensified the feeling of solitude he experienced at the approach of death" (Pachmuss). The feeling of being completely alone was the only thing capable of snapping Ivan out of his deluded life."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Pachmuss, Temira. "The Theme of Love and Death in Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Illyich." JSTOR Resource Database. June 10, 2010.

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Tolstoy's Fear of Death in 'The Death of Ivan Illyich' (2013, March 06) Retrieved December 07, 2019, from

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"Tolstoy's Fear of Death in 'The Death of Ivan Illyich'" 06 March 2013. Web. 07 December. 2019. <>