Study Guide

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Part 4, Chapter 12

By Milan Kundera

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Part 4, Chapter 12

  • Still in the dream sequence, Tereza begins climbing the hill, which is strangely empty.
  • She looks back on Prague as she climbs and finds that it is the most beautiful city in the world.
  • She reaches the top, and finds that all the tourist shops are closed.
  • Six men there walking around there; three of them nervous, like she, and the other three are there to run things. One of them has a rifle.
  • The man with the rifle tells Tereza that she is in the right place. He asks her if it is her choice to be there.
  • Tereza thinks about how easy it would be to tell him that no, it was not her choice. But she can't bear the thought of disappointing Tomas. So she tells him that yes, it is her choice.
  • The man with the rifle explains that it must be so, because he is there to perform a service: help those who want to die by shooting them.
  • He asks if Tereza would like to go first; she asks to go last.
  • One at a time, the three men who are there to die are led across the lawn at the top of Petrin hill. They are allowed to choose which tree they want to be executed by.
  • Tereza watches the man with the rifle shoot the three men, now blindfolded, who chose to die.

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