Analysis of Leo Tolstoy and his work, The Death of Ivan Ilyich

Ivan: The Monster Created by Society

  • Ivan is not as good as we like to think…

Pg. 87

“… he gave way to sensuality and to vanity… At school he had committed actions which had struck him beforehand as great vileness, and gave him a feeling of loathing for himself… But later on, perceiving that such actions were committed also by men of good position… he was able… to forget about them completely, and was never mortified by recollections of them.”

  • Looks like our victim enjoyed power as well…

Pg. 89

“… he liked treating such persons affably, almost like comrades; liked to make them feel that he, able to annihilate them, was behaving in this simple, friendly way… Ivan Ilyich felt that everyone… all were in his hands… the consciousness of this power… constituted for him the chief interest and attractiveness of his new position.”

  • He didn’t fall in love with his wife, she was just appropriate for him (pg.90).
  • The marriage started off pleasant but turned ugly when Praskovya got pregnant. Ivan then so kindly used his “official duties” to “protect himself” from her(pg.91).
  • He was a workaholic… the worse his family life got, the more and more he got out of the house (pg.93).

– Christina


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3 thoughts on “Ivan: The Monster Created by Society

  1. Here once again Tolstoy tries to exhibit the horrors of society. He is trying to uncover this veil upon which we always consider people to be kind and good at heart. Tolstoy wants the reader to know that although this guy is dead, it is not sad. He does not want us to feel remorse over a dead person simply because they are dead. I certainly saw Ivan’s “bad” character traits coming…

  2. Haha Nelson of course you knew deep down he was a terrible person, you dislike everyone;P But once again, I must give it to you… Great call. And I am loving the whole, ‘Ivan is dead because Tolstoy does not want us to create emotional involvement in an emotionally uninvolved story’ topic as a research paper. I feel like it just really ties in with everything in the story as a whole.


  3. Haha now don’t steal that idea from me!

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