The Death of Ivan Illych Leo Tolstoy’s, works are the depiction of man’s fight with himself as he lives his life on earth. The person who reads can find in his works the central obsession with the soul, a typical disquiet in the Great Russian novels. The Death of Ivan Illych is a brilliant image of a man’s total breakdown with the onslaught of death and the renewal of the will, as the limbs die. The novella is amazing in its contemporaneous tone of the cultural issues uttered in it. One of the myths of present machinery driven life is the yearning to seek fulfillment in the emotionless perfections of existence. Ivan Illyich, the focal point of the novella represented the upper middle class. He was well informed and had a secure standing in society. A judge in the high court in St.Petersbug, with a wife and children, he lives a normal life. All the way through out his life he in no way cared to consider the significance of life. The monotonous character of his profession was more or less determined by the motorized conformity to the peripheral compulsions of the ideals of an archaic culture. In the self-righteous fulfillment of the mechanical precision of life there lay a dreadful snare. As Tolstoy wrote, his existence was “most terrible and most ordinary and therefore most terrible.” Tolstoy gives us an idea about the willingness of Illyich to thrive in life, by impulsive concessions of all values of life, as the characteristic of present-day philosophy. This renders his hero ridiculous. He had the facade of the classic aloof temperament of a judge but in practice he was exceedingly compliant, if it will add to his profession: “ There were services rendered to his chief and even to wife of his chief”.
The busy chase for progress devoid of ethics is a disintegrating factor and only a spiritual comprehension can supply sense, as we get ready for the unavoidable departure from this existence. The distress approaches in the form of the diagnosis of incurable state of cancer. His failure to seize its all-embracing significance is communicated by the narrow-minded textbook view of death of contemporary man. He grasped the meaning of death from a rational position but did not grab its implication for himself: “ Caius is a man, men are mortal, and therefore Caius is mortal”. It is illuminating that though Illyich was slow to take hold of the meaning of his passing away, others were aware of the benefit they have at his demise. The paradox of the situation is that even his folks, for whom he labored, desired for his death. The book concludes in the valiant rebuilding of the protagonist. Illyich realizes that passing away is not the end of every thing. In his solitude he recognizes the enduring friend of his life, Jesus: “There was no fear because there was no death. In place of death there was light. In place of death there was Jesus”. The life of Ivan Illyich delineatres the insensitive nature of modern machine-driven existence,. =========