Ivan Ilyich’s Life as Most Ordinary and Most Terrible

Ivan Ilyich is the main protagonist in Leo Tolstoy’s novella ‘The Death of Ivan Ilyich’ first published in the year 1886. Through this widely acclaimed literary work, the author has clearly addressed some of the important perspectives of life as well as the inevitability associated with death. The writer takes us through the story of Ivan Ilyich who appears to have enjoyed an exemplary wealthy and high statue life in the society. Ilyich is a well regarded court official who is described by the writer as a noble. Ivan’s life however, is a life which is observed to have been most ordinary as well as most terrible. In an in-depth analysis of this wonderful description regarding the life of Ivan, we are able to see him as someone who is much willing to accomplish all what is expected of him in the eyes of other people. Things seem to be much smooth for Ivan even after he gets married and the same values and behavior of a responsible man would be exemplified upon his family.

As a competent and highly acclaimed magistrate, Ivan is defined as an average and common place individual of all sorts and it is actually through this obligatory nature of him that we get to see his life as being most ordinary in all aspects. Ivan’s life however, takes a different course after his wife Praskovya becomes pregnant and it is owing to this unexpected intervention of nature that Ivan realizes the disruption facing his smooth and decorous lifestyle. As a result of this, Ivan decides to avert his concentration towards his official duties and assignments, completely detaching himself from the obligations of his family. He cannot stop priding himself at work for successfully detaching his personal attributes from his list of events and priorities.

However, when he turns at home he tries to adopt quite a formal concern and attitude toward his wife. This lack of concern and interest about social, emotional, or physical life of either his family or the many people upon which his ruling as a magistrate would be executed is actually one of the things that would make Ivan’s life seem more terrible. With time, Ivan is rapidly promoted in his law job and he is over-ambitious about being awarded the prestigious post of a presiding judge but this is a wish he never achieves. Owing to his selfish desire of a high lifestyle, Ivan accidentally succumbs into a serious injury that completely changes his life. The worsening situation of the sickness makes quarrelsome and irritable to the many people around his ailing world. In this state, Ivan is observed to be constantly pondering his imminent death as he progressively continues to question the rationale behind his plight. One day, while looking upon his past life, Ivan is joyous in the sense that, his suffering is justified and for thus, he senselessness resigns to his death.

It is through these brief observations that we get to see why Ivan’s life is observed to be the most ordinary and the most terrible.


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