The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Kundera’s Manifestation of Human Alienation

In Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Kundera depicts a society almost devoid of human connection. Kundera utilizes the characters Tomas, Sabina, Franz, and Tereza to explore the inability for human beings to allow themselves to attach to others, either consciously or subconsciously.

Tomas’s tendency to place his own priorities above others renders him unable to fully comprehend and exhibit the selflessness that love and connection requires. He fears commitment for the responsibility it inevitably brings. The thought of acting purely for the good of others repulses him, as demonstrated by his inability to sustain relationships of any form, whether with women, or family such as his son. He claims an inability to “live side by side with any woman, and could be fully himself only as a bachelor” (Kundera, 10). Tomas’s ideal life is one where he could indulge in the sin of selfishness and live without the influence of others affecting his decisions. He is unwilling to compromise, exhibiting that he honors his own desires above those of others. He is also unable to sleep in the presence of others, demonstrating the innate sense of discomfort once he has to allot for the presence and emotions of others. Love then...

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