December 21, 2011
A Hero of Our Time: Human Complacency with Suffering and Pain
Throughout A Hero of Our Time, Mikhail Lermontov speculates greatly the validity of human friendships. Through his protagonist, Grigory Alexandrovich Pechorin, Lermontov reveals friendship to be a parasitic sort of relationship, one member of the unit of friendship always exploiting the other to some degree. Pechorin himself is the manifestation of this idea throughout the course of the novel, interacting with other people only to achieve his own means and never when it would be unbeneficial to him. Pechorin inflicts emotional trauma of some degree upon all the people he meets; as a result of Pechorin’s presence, suffering is introduced into the lives of those around him. Also, despite Pechorin’s malign intentions & the suffering he brings to those near him, these people about him continue to lionize and honor him, neglecting to sever their ties with him even when the relationship they shared became unhealthy. The most profound example of vampirism in the novel, however, lies within the relationship shared between Pechorin and Bela, a young Circassian princess whom he would kidnap and later abandon. Through the recurring notions of suffering, Lermontov reveals the penchant of the human heart for the infliction and reception of pain, however inadvertent it may be.
As Lermontov reveals through Bela and her submissiveness to her captivity, people silently allow others to inflict pain upon them, offering no true struggle against their oppressors. In the Caucasus, Pechorin crosses paths with Azamat, a young Circassian prince with a particular interest in Karagyoz, the horse of an old acquaintance of Pechorin’s, Kazbich. Pechorin comes to fancy Azamat’s sister, the lovely Bela, whom had danced before him...