The Death of Ivan Ilych

Desiderata College

With the advent of the Industrial Revolution came new schools of thought that attempted to define the position of the individual within the society. The Romantic Era that dominated the early part of the 19th century tried to establish the individual as a creature of emotion and experience. Romanticism was eventually succeeded by Realism, which was a movement that strayed from the more figurative, almost idealized, imagery of the previous era to one that focused on the mundane and darker times of men. It was a movement that aimed to represent and recreate everyday life into literature—with all its ebbs and flows. One of the bigger topics of discussion in literary circles in the latter part of the 19th century was that of the correct life, which is very prominent in these two works: The Death of Ivan Ilyich, a novella by Leo Tolstoy, and Hedda Gabler, a play by Henrik Ibsen. Both works tell the stories of the lives and deaths of their respective title characters as they deal with the realities of life in the late 19th century. Both authors utilize the motifs of alienation and satisfaction in similar fashion to propagate the dichotomous relationship of the society and the self, however, within that scope, they take opposing...

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