A Hero of Our Time

Pechorin and Bazarov: the Fatal Power of a Cynic in Love

The characters of Pechorin and Bazarov, the protagonists of Lermontov’s A Hero of Our Time and Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons, are both men who are, in a sense, doomed. One voluntarily wanders the globe, waiting and finally meeting an unnoticed end, and one finds himself fatally and irrevocably infected. The two are similar not only in the fact that they live and die with scorn and indifference, but more importantly in the fact that they do this to themselves. Both men are driven, consciously or unconsciously, to self-destruct—and the great hand in their doom is ultimately love. One man is loved but cannot love in return, and another loves a woman who in turn cannot love him; and whatever reasons the two men might claim to believe, nothing spurs them more strongly to their ends than their tortured encounters with love.

Pechorin’s relationship with Vera might be described as that of a man who cannot help himself. From the very moment that Vera is introduced, the master manipulator lets slip to his reader that she has a real hold over him; upon first sighting her, thinking of her already, he finds himself crying her name “involuntarily” (87). This woman clearly has a hold on him, and the reader can sense this immediately, though...

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