Death Of Ivan Ilyich's Metamorphosis

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The Death of Gregor Samsa and Ivan Ilyich’s Metamorphosis Leo Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis are two late 19th and early 20th century novels that encapsulate Western Literature. In Tolstoy there was an unmistakable bias toward literature with a social purpose, stimulated by the awakening forces of nationalism, liberalism, and humanism. In Kafka there was a deep questioning of all philosophical and/or religious solutions in a period where there was an increasing sense of crisis and urgency with the start of the Great War and the breakthrough in psychology with Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis. In theme, character and tone, The Death of Ivan Ilyich and The Metamorphosis have common ground, yet the outcome…show more content…
Following a man by the name of Ivan Ilyich, as the title so notes, we see the difficulty with which Ivan is having, dealing with the fact that he is dying. In itself, The Death of Ivan Ilyich is very much a reflection of Tolstoy’s own lifestyle and concerns before and after his own conversion. Just as Ivan Ilych's epiphany reveals to him the true meaningful of life and reassures his fear of dying, so too does Tolstoy’s newfound revelation of the meaning of life lead himself to fulfillment and his acceptance of an eventual death for “Caius is a man, men are mortal, therefore, Caius is mortal”, ergo, not “quite separate from all others” (vi. p.835). Permeated with didactic messages such as the inescapable fate of mortality, the way to live a right life, and the possibility of redemption, which serve as a new background for Tolstoy’s philosophical beliefs, The Death of Ivan Ilyich explores the questions so many avoid for “like the middle-aged narrator of Dante's Divine Comedy, Tolstoy's middle-aged Ivan Ilych finds himself in a dark forest, mired in a worldliness he realizes is false and impelled to seek direction and meaning”

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