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

Ivan’s Behavior in the Face of Death

Alexis, I was not sure exactly what you were trying to communicate regarding Ivan’s behavior when he realizes he is dying. But here is my judgement on him and his decision making towards death:

Ivan is undoubtedly a coward. From the very beginning of his life, he has mimicked and repeated the behaviors of other people as a means to better himself, “…he was attracted… to persons of good standing in the world, assimilated their manners and views on life… he had committed actions which had struck him beforehand as great vileness… But later on, perceiving that such actions were committed also by men of good position… he was able… to forget about them completely” (pg.87). This alone shows how little he really valued his natural personality and mannerisms. He was constructed falsely, the foundations for his personality were as fake as his marriage and life. Thus, when faced with death, he was left with nothing to shield himself with but what he truly was, a fraud and a coward. Ivan states, “Anything better than death!” (pg.117). He is so scared of what will happen to him, that he would rather continue on living horribly, than just accept death and be at rest.

– Christina


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