Social Inequality In Eugene Onegin

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The novel Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin is set within the Russian high society of the early 19th century. In this society contains various conventions, including attending the extravagant balls that one is invited to, the expectation of marriage, and the ability to duel others to protect one’s honour. Eugene Onegin chooses not to conform to many of these societal expectations, a choice that is detrimental to his social image. Despite this, he is concerned about maintaining his masculinity, which drives him to follow a limited set of norms. Eugene Onegin’s rejection of social standards of Russian high society is rooted in how many social activities were done to be up to date with the latest trends as opposed to their intrinsic entertainment value. Throughout the first chapter, Pushkin gives insight into the routine social life that members of the high society must keep, through following the day in a life of Onegin. When Pushkin describes how “the chime and watch alert them” (I.17) to attend the new ballet in town, there is a feeling of obligation in that Onegin must attend this ballet in order to be with the trend. This is further emphasized by the fact that he does not attend the ballet for its entire duration, and that he explicitly expresses his boredom by saying, “‘It’s time for something new … I’ve suffered ballets long enough, / But now Didelot is boring stuff’” (I.21). It is evident that Onegin is not at the ballet to be entertained, but rather because he is

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