In Ivan Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons, love proves to have an all-encompassing influence as it pulls many characters into its grasp. Three characters in particular—Pavel Petrovich Kirsanov, Evgeny Vasilevich Bazarov, and Arkady Nickolaevich Kirsanov—are greatly affected by passion. The effect of love, however, differs greatly from person to person in Pavel’s love for Princess R., Bazarov’s love for Anna, and Arkady’s love for Katya.
Pavel Petrovich, Arkady’s uncle, is an educated, handsome, rather exquisite person: a connoisseur who represents a purely romantic philosophy on life. Well before any of the events that take place in the novel, Pavel is quite the ladies’ man. Although he makes women lose their senses over him, Pavel finally falls passionately in love with Princess R. at a ball, without a single word uttered. Although he very quickly attains the object of his love, he becomes increasingly tortured by a mysterious unattainability in the Princess. Her love for Pavel was described as having an element of melancholy, and she soon grew cold to him. In the wake of his failure and rejection from the one he loved, Pavel becomes desperate for the Princess. Turgenev recounts the story: He was on the rack, and he was jealous; he gave her no peace, followed her about everywhere; she grew sick of his pursuit of her, and she went abroad. He resigned his commission in spite of the entreaties of his friends and the exhortations of his superiors, and followed the princess; four years he spent in foreign countries…He was ashamed of himself, he was disgusted with his own lack of spirit…but nothing availed. (28) Having to return to his normal life, Pavel retained his old habits, but he no longer expected anything of himself or of others, and he undertook nothing. His years passed by fruitless as he grew old and gray, never once thinking about marriage. When Pavel hears word of the princess’s death, he enters a new stage of his life, in which he is filled with...
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