The Death of Ivan Ilych Essay

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Psychological Importance in The Death of Ivan Illych
In The Death of Ivan Ilych Leo Tolstoy conveys the psychological importance of the last, pivotal scene through the use of diction, symbolism, irony. As Ivan Ilych suffers through his last moments on earth, Tolstoy narrates this man's struggle to evolve and to ultimately realize his life was not perfect. Using symbols Tolstoy creates a vivid image pertaining to a topic few people can even start to comprehend- the reexamination of one's life while on the brink of death. In using symbols and irony Tolstoy vividly conveys the manner in which Ilych views death as darkness unto his last moments of life when he finally admits imperfection.
In the first paragraph of the ending chapter,
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Tolstoy also employs irony as he examines the plight of Ivan Ilych. This highlights the differences between Ilych's perception of his own life and reality while also allowing the reader to take part in some of the tearing anguish Ivan feels in having to submit to the wrongdoings in his life. Tolstoy compares Ivan Ilych's struggle to the plight of a man condemned to death as he "struggles in the hands of an executioner" (61). Ivan Ilych does not see death as a natural process, but as a punishment controlled by a merciless executioner, ironically much like the merciless judge he once was. Ivan Ilych's feels that death is an undeserved punishment because he never considered his own mortality. His obsession with social adroitness made mortality feel like a punishment, and his justification of this obsession made it impossible for him to let go of his life. Ivan Ilych believed he had lived his life up to social standards and because of this he would not have to endure the terrible agony of death that is beset among ordinary people. In reality he was blind to his shallow life and the transgressions he made. Tolstoy uses vivid imagery to describe Ivan Ilych's struggle to submit to his life's end. For example, Tolstoy describes Ivan as feeling as though he is struggling to get inside of a hole. The darkness in the hole obstructs Ivan's ability to get in, and he is unable to get past
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