The Death of Ivan Ilych
The Death of Ivan Ilych
by Leo Tolstoy
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Protagonist

Character Role Analysis

Ivan Ilych

The Death of Ivan Ilych is Ivan Ilych's life story, and it's all about his personal transformation through the experience of death. Though for most of the story Ivan is a pretty unlikable character, it's hard not to relate to the guy. How can we not see some of ourselves in his desires to enjoy a pleasant, ordinary enough life for himself and to impress his friends? And he's fighting against something we'll all come up against eventually: suffering and death. Without help from his family or friends either. Nonetheless, it all appears to be worth something. By the end of the story, Ivan Ilych has become a genuinely good, compassionate human being who's no longer afraid of death and seems to know the answer, even if only for a few moments.


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