In The Eyes Of The Beholder

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade April 2001

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Death is Different in the Eye of the Beholder In the Leo Tolstoy's, The Death of Ivan Ilyich, death is portrayed in many different ways by the characters in the novel. Ivan, the one dying, sees death as an adversary to be overcome, and the pain and suffering associated with it to be absolute torture. It drives Ivan to the brink of insanity, torturing those around him as well. On the other hand, the ones around him treat death in a different way than the one who is dying, as they try to find ways to defend against the death, and the torture given by Ivan, or they do not even care beyond personal gain. A dying person is effected in a totally different way than those they come into contact with, no matter who they are, and no matter how those people love them.

Ivan is dying, and once he knows it, his demeanor changes significantly.

He was never a really pleasant person to begin with, but he changes to the point that he is hostile to everyone around him. He really was just a normal person before he got sick, being "neither as cold and punctilious as his elder brother nor as reckless as his younger" (50). He was a normal person, falling right into the norm of the society, having the typical apartment, the typical lifestyle, playing cards and socializing. "But on the whole, Ivan Ilyich's life moved along as he believed life should: easily, pleasantly, and properly" (68). Things were proceeding like this until he contracted his illness and then things completely change. He becomes more and more depressed, and hostile to those around him in his pain, creating a bubble around him that no one wanted to breach.

Ivan is a very social...