Leo Tolstoy's The Death Of Ivan Ilyich

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A key message in Leo Tolstoy’s “The Death of Ivan Ilyich” is that death is inevitable. In the words of Gerasim, "'It's God's will. We'll all be there'" (1446); every person will die sooner or later. Ivan’s death provokes this thought in his friends and they are relieved that he is the one that died, rather than them. "Apart from the thoughts the death brought each of them about the moves and possible changes at work that might follow, the actual fact of the death of a close acquaintance evoked, as always, in all who learned of it a complacent feeling that it was 'he who had died, not I'" (1442). Everyone knows that their time is coming, but rather than accepting that death is a part of life, people tend to push the thought of death to the back of their minds. When faced with the death of a friend, coworker, family member, etc. those …show more content…
When Ivan’s so called friends hear the news of his death, they first think of how they will benefit, rather than the fact that Ivan’s illness killed him. "So on hearing of Ivan Ilyich's death the first thought of each of the gentlemen meeting in the room was of the significance the death might have for the transfer or promotion of the members themselves or their friends" (1441). Additionally, the selfishness of humans is portrayed in Praskovya’s actions. She tells Pyotr, "'At the end he never stopped screaming, not for minutes, for hours. For three whole days he screamed without drawing breath. It was unbearable. I can't understand how I bore it; one could hear from three doors away. Oh, what I've been through!'" (1445). Rather than being concerned with the pain Ivan was in, she was concerned with having to listen to his suffering. Additionally, she is more concerned with Ivan’s money than the fact that he is dead, and she even accused him of faking his illness while he was still alive. These examples show the true nature of human