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The Death of Ivan Ilyich

The life of Ivan was the most ordinary and most simple and hence the most terrible. Just like anybody else known to him, Ivan devoted his entire life in mounting the social ladder. Ivan married to a woman whom he frequently claimed to be so demanding. Through the influence Ivan received from a friend, he worked his way up to a court magistrate. However, Ivan gave too much focus on his job as his marriage life became less endurable.

Ivan Ilyich Death Process

One day while Ivan was hanging curtains in his new house, he awkwardly fell and hurt his side. At first, Ivan did not mind much about it but eventually, he started to suffer from internal pain. Ivan behavior towards his family grew more irritable as his discomfort persisted. Finally, his wife encouraged him to seek medical attention. However, the doctor could not establish the root of his illness. As time went on, Ivan’s condition continued to worsen. Opposed to his diagnosis, Ivan made every attempt to restore his irritating condition until the pain gets so intense that he was forced to quit his job and spend the rest of his life in bed. Here, Ivan is brought close to his death, and cognizes that though he is aware of it, he did not really want to die.

During the painful and lasting death process, Ivan alleged that he lived rightly and thus he did not deserve such suffering. Pain could have been reasonable if his life was miserable. Since he believed had lived good life, he viewed pain and death as senseless and arbitrary. Ivan found comfort from Gerasim, his peasant boy servant whom he believed he did not fear death and the only person who showed him compassion apart from his son. In fear of death, Ivan began to doubt whether in reality his life was good.

Spiritual Awakening

In his last days of life, Ivan came to understand the difference between artificial life, just like his own and the authentic life, like the life of Gerasim, and what made people to be afraid of death. A true life involves sympathy and compassion whilst artificial life involves personal interest. This understanding opened his eyes and realized that he had lived a miserable live. He began to feel sorry for his wife and daughter. He felt that his death will free their lives. By doing so, his fear for death ceased and eventually, Ivan passed on.


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