Short Summary of "The Death of Ivan Ilyich" by Leo Tolstoy

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Amanda Kopinski
Philosophy of the Human Person
09-12-2010
Summary of The Death of Ivan Ilyich
The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy begins at the chronological end of Ivan Ilyich’s life. Members of a court proceeding were on break of the Melvinsky proceedings, and Pyotr Ivanovich proclaimed: “Ivan Ilyich is dead” (35). All the men in the courtroom at the time were supposedly “close acquaintances” of Ivan, but none remarked at the sadness of his death, but rather the chance of promotion all of the men would chance now that Ivan’s spot was opened. Ivanovich, however, was Ivan’s “closest acquaintance,” as Ivan did not actually have real friends although he was well liked amongst his colleagues. Ivanovich goes to Ilyich’s house, and Ivan’s wife, Praskovya, takes him up to the room where the casket containing the corpse lay. Ivanovich remarks that “his face had acquired an expression of greater beauty…It’s expression implied that what needed to be done had been done and done properly” (39-41). Praskovya and Ivanich then discuss the suffering that Ilyich went through on his deathbed and Ivanich mentions how sad death really is.

Ivan Ilyich’s life was described as “most simple and commonplace—and most horrifying” (49). He lived an average life with an average family. He married his first “love” because he thought it was right to do, and attended a job to support his wife and he. His job is within the subject of Law, so his job-field is already knowingly busy. He and his wife lived comfortably until they end up having their first child, and things begin to go from easygoing to complicated. His wife becomes easily agitated, and Ilyich realizes he is no longer on a smooth road, and their relationship would require work. Over time, Ilyich begins to spend more time working than with his family at home, and when he is at his home, he decides to invite company to distract him from family affairs. Ilyich also ends up losing his job due to financial stresses, but gets...
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