Doctor Zhivago

An Adulterous Love Affair During the Russian Revolution

In Boris Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago there is an adulterous love affair between Yurii Andreievich Zhivago and Larisa Feodorovna Guishar that is carried on throughout the novel. Although the affair is essential for the movement of the story, it is not the only significant factor in the plot. World War I, the Russian Revolution and the Civil War all take place in the lifetimes of the two protagonists. Thus, the time and place play a central role in the adulterous relationship, for Yurii and Larisa's love affair is driven by the historical context of Doctor Zhivago. Unlike other adulterers and adulteresses, Yurii and Larisa are not condemned for their relationship; instead, their love is perhaps the most positive and hopeful aspect of Pasternak's entire tragic novel. There is a revealing passage towards the end of Doctor Zhivago, wherein Larisa speaks of what is happening to Russia and her people, and this passage encapsulates the entire novel. At this point, Yurii has been separated from his family for a few years, and Larisa has been separated from her husband for just as long. Yurii and Larisa have been engaged in their affair for a considerable amount of time and it appears that their marriages are forever...

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