what would you think is the role of the professionals within this story? Specifically the physician?
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Ivan is viewed the same way according to grade saver.com the analysis of the doctor is as follows
The doctor behaves toward Iván Ilych with the same self-importance and detachment that Iván Ilych has honed in his own work. The doctor seems to lean toward a problem with the appendix being the culprit, and although his diagnosis is dressed in jargon, Iván Ilych takes the meaning as bad. As time passes, Iván Ilych realizes that he is getting worse. Iván Ilych goes to see numerous doctors, and in each case the diagnosis and prescription are different.
The role of the professionals in this novel is to mirror Ivan Ilyich's own image. I feel that Tolstoy has the doctors to act like Ivan; self-concious, caring too deeply in their work instead of those around them or, in this case, those whom they are tending to.
These characteristics are the same ones that Ivan has. Seeing how the professionals act so much like himself, only towards him, Ivan can begin to see how the way he had been acting was wrong. Sometimes, we change only when something happens to us; it is a shame that we cannot change on our own, when seeing it happen to someome else.
Tolstoy deliberatley had the doctors act this way in order to help Ivan come into the light. The role of the professionals was to begin to steer Ivan Ilyich into the right direction.
The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy