The chief protagonist of the novel, a brilliant Prague surgeon and intellectual. Having divorced early and lost contact with his ex-wife and son, Tomas is a light-hearted womanizer who lives for his work as a ctor. After falling in love with and marrying the emotionally needy Tereza, Tomas finds himself trapped between the womanizing he cannot give up, and his genuine love for his new wife. In a politically charged time, Tomas is an independent thinker and hence objectionable to the Communist government, but personally he would identify himself as apolitical. In many ways, especially sexually, Tomas is "light," a libertine. Tomas belongs to the Czech intellectual class, which was silenced after the Soviet invasion of Prague. An internationally known surgeon, Tomas is stripped of his career because he refuses to renounce an anti-Czech Communist article he wrote. This single article puts him in grave danger, although he is not a committed or active political dissident. Ideally, Tomas would like to avoid political parties and society altogether in favor of being a free agent and independent thinker who acts as he chooses. After losing the privilege of practicing medicine, Tomas becomes first a window washer and then a farmer, descending to the lower rungs of society in search of a peaceful life. As a man, Tomas attempts to practice a philosophy of lightness. He considers sex and love two separate and unrelated entities; he sleeps with many women, and loves one woman (Tereza), and sees no problem with the simultaneous existence of these two ac tivities. Although Tomas is an intellectual and a thinker, he is no romantic idealist like Simon or Franz. His lover Sabina calls him the "complete opposite of kitsch," or the complete opposite of the shiny, perfect ideals of politics and love. Tomas cannot take seriously the laws on which politics and romantic fidelity are based. His pragmatism, experience, and individualism make him unwilling to identify himself as a...
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