An Essay On The Death Of Ivan Ilych

1650 words - 7 pages

Theology 210/C/03Susan DavisFebruary, 2014The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo TolstoyThe Death of Ivan Ilyich is a complicated novella with many different themes which could be reviewed. As is plainly evident from the title of the work, death is a major concept as well as how Ivan Ilyich handles his journey through the dying process. Ivan Ilyich's family must also traverse his death although they do not react in the same ways. Ivan Ilyich's illness and death are represented in the book through the five stages of grief that Kubler Ross models, which in some ways we can see by the way his family and doctors react both morally and ethically towards Ivan Ilyich.Dr. Kubler-Ross developed a model to ...view middle of the document...

Since the Hippocratic Oath had already been written at the time of Ivan Ilyich's demise, doctors around him did have a duty to nonmaleficence which meant that their first order of business for any patient was to do no harm. After the very first doctor Ivan Ilyich "concluded that things were bad but…it was of no consequence."(p 65). After the first doctor visit Ivan Ilyich also starts to enter into his first bout of depression. "He focused on it [the pain] now with a new sense of distress". (p 66). Before the visit to the doctor he had not paid much attention to his pain although he was angrier. The doctor had been very aloof and had not given Ivan Ilyich very many conclusions on the reality of his situation which left Ivan Ilyich to assume the worst. After a few months and a few more specialists of that era, Ivan Ilyich had not improved Doctors of this era tried their best without much medical education to be helpful or beneficent to their patients but they were lacking in both education and in medication. His brother-in-law visited and was shocked to find that Ivan Ilyich had changed drastically in his appearance. Ivan Ilyich's depression worsened but he decided to see one more doctor. In Ivan Ilyich's mind, he believed that this doctor knew his field. When Ivan Ilyich came home from his visit to the last doctor was in a cheerful mood he was beginning to bargain. He thought he "need only give nature a hand" (p 75) and he would improve. When thinking about the medicine the doctor had ordered, he told himself to "take it regularly" since he often did not. In talking to himself he had a more positive outlook. He kept telling himself that "he felt better already". (p76) Moments after Ivan Ilyich began bargaining, he stopped just as quickly as the pain returned. He entered into a very angry acceptance "I'll be gone." he stated to himself (p. 76). He didn't know what to expect and he was sure that his family didn't know he was dying and didn't care. He seemed to feel many emotions at the same time. He was accepting death but he was also angry and depressedIvan Ilyich's doctors did not leave the impression that they were highly educated. Their knowledge of the working of the human body was most likely limited by the technology of the era. However Ivan Ilyich went to quite of few doctors and they all seemed to point to either the problem with his kidney or his caecum. The doctors had an "exaggerated air of importance"(p 64). They treated Ivan Ilyich as more of an object than a person. When they finished their examinations, they spouted their findings. One doctor, after Ivan Ilyich asked about the seriousness of his condition told him that he had "already told you what I considered necessary and suitable" (p 66). The doctors appeared to show little compassion for the feelings or emotions of their patients. They were from an era long before even the traditionalists of the 1920's and 1930's who felt that doctors know everything and weren't to be...

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