Bazarov a lunatic or visionary?Дисциплина: Иностранные языки
Тип работы: Реферат
Тема: Bazarov a lunatic or visionary?
Dr. Elizabeth Ginzburg
October 5, 2003
Bazarov: a lunatic or a visionary?
“And the castle made of sand
Melts into the sea,
- James Marshall Hendrix
Ivan Turgenev’s attempt at creating a new Russian contemporary “hero” has yielded a figure of extremely
high complexity, contradiction, and divergence. This character, a man named Evgeny Bazarov and the enigma of his person have fueled limitless debates on the true essence of this
figure, as it was intended by the author. As Socrates said, “Amid the argumentation, the truth is found”, so let this modest contribution to the seemingly endless discussion of
Bazarov bring us perhaps one small step closer to the truth about this mysterious man and his true essence. What is Bazarov? Was he doomed to purgation of his theories, or was he a
luminary worthy of respect and credence?
Evgeny Bazarov was born into a family of a modest provincial doctor. Turgenev provides no information
about Bazarov’s life before his arrival in Maryino, but it can be guessed that the life of a less-than-richly endowed medical student in St. Petersburg must have involved innumerable
hardships. Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment has provided considerable insight into the life of young scholars at that time, and it is more than reasonable to suspect that
Bazarov’s life was no less of a challenge than it was for Dostoyevsky’s Rodion Raskolnikov. This austerity of lifestyle, combined with his dedicated academic pursuits, has made
Bazarov into a strict empiricist, a staunch practician, and a merciless skeptic. Personal experience became his only acceptable form of discovery. His actions were governed by nothing
other than rational reasoning; sentiments and passions were trampled by the ironfisted behemoth of his unyielding intellect.
Unfortunately, the power of Bazarov’s mind played a rude joke on the young pseudo-philosopher. His
refusal to acknowledge any authority also meant his failure to recognize that perhaps he was not the wisest person in the world. “When I meet a man who can hold his own beside me,
then I’ll change my opinion of myself,”- says Bazarov. Clearly, he is blindly infatuated with the idea of his own greatness. Pavel Kirsanov remarks this trait in Bazarov’s character
as “Satanic pride”. Perhaps, this super-egotistic obsession with self-righteousness was fueled by his companion, Arkady.
The young Kirsanov, barely twenty-three years of age, apparently had not yet formed a sound system of morals and values and was drawn into discipleship of nihilism primarily by
the power of Bazarov’s charisma and the “freshness” of the nihilists’ ideas, rather than their sensibility. Arkady is a person lacking character and devoid of an independent
intellectual backbone. He constantly needs someone’s support and Bazarov just happens to be vivid enough a personality to attract such a simple life form as Arkady. Over the course of
their friendship, Arkady breathes every word spoken by his sensei, seldom displaying signs of independent thought. He delightfully rejects authority, but his nihilistic fervor is not
sincere; Arkady semi-consciously follows his friend, who softly and ambiguously ridicules him as a phony, for Bazarov knows that Arkady’s subscription to nihilism is very strongly
contradicted by his demeanor, and his frequent displays of feelings and emotions. But why does Bazarov not renounce this friendship? Why does he tolerate the company of Arkady, this
dim hypocrite, and why does he agree to travel to Maryino? Well, there was no reason not to. As devoted to work and science as Bazarov was, he saw no harm in spending a little time in
the mellow and pleasant country estate of his young friends’ parent. Moreover, Bazarov yet again pursues a selfish motive by agreeing to travel to Maryino: he dreads boredom, which
would probably consume him at his true destination, his own parents’ homestead.
Although it appears to be understandable why...