Реферат: Jealousy as the cause of internal self-destruction in "Kreutzer Sonata" by Leo Tolstoy (Ревность как причина внутреннего самоуничтожения в "Крейцеровой сонате" Льва Толстого)

Jealousy as the cause of internalself-destruction

 In“Kreutzer Sonata” by Leo Tolstoy

“Jealousyis a fear of someone else’s superiority.”

Alexander Dumas  

            Thegrand collection of the world literature grows faint from the vast abundance ofnumerous approaches to the issue of jealousy and adultery that have beenaccumulated throughout centuries by different authors.  This particular topic was used in Greekcomedies, Roman tragedies, in writings of later Romanticists and Realists.  However, only in the nineteenth century whenpsychology, developed within, the subject of jealousy in literature thatexaggerated love tales turned to deep psychological dramas with characterssoul-searching within the meticulous analysis of events. One of the mostprominent giants in literature Leo Tolstoy was famous for combining detailedphysical description with perceptive psychological insight.  He conveys to a reader the bare humanintimacy of gestures, deeds and thoughts of the jealous psychic soul. His storyKreutzer Sonata examines the basic drives, emotions and motives ofordinary people searching for answers to the questions of life. One of them isthat jealousy causes internalself-destruction.

           Priorto an analysis of the narrative of the story, where a jealous husband ispresented, the nature of jealousy needs to be illuminated for theaudience.  After hearing the varioustheories on love by his fellow passengers on a train, an insanely jealous mannamed Pozdnyshev blurts out that he killed his wife, whom he suspected ofcarrying on an affair with a violinist. Then he reveals the story of how he came to such an extreme action.

            What turned his life into a miseryfull of disappointment, anger and itchy craving that ruined his life as well assomeone else’s life? Jealousy. This emotion made his gut ache, his blood boiland his logic disappear along with common sense.  Pozdnyshev took jealousy and cast it intoself-doubt, insecurity and desperation. “During the whole of my married life I never ceased to be tormented byjealousy,” reveals his confession. (Tolstoy, p.189)

             As Webster’s Dictionary defines it, the wordjealous means “suspiciously watchful; distrustful, or faithless; envious;anxiously solicitous.”(Outcry magazine, “Making the Most ofJealousy”)  All of these qualities drovethe main character to the murder and absolute self-desecration.  His life is wretched, he has no motivatingobjectives left, no aspirations to follow, no goals to accomplish.  His children are taken away from him by hissister-in-law, and he is abandoned by the entire world.  In essence “The Kreutzer Sonata” presents adistorted view of love, especially of sexual experience. Pozdnyshev’snightmarish, feverish narrative of his marriage in its later stages intensifiesin rage and intelligence vanishes as a ravaging emotion of jealousy capturesthe utmost attention. 

Beethoven’s“Kreutzer Sonata” thrusts Pozdnyshev into ultimate degree of jealousy thatdrives him to imminent self-destruction and to the villain murder.  Music is the most perfect form of art tograsp jealousy over the mind. It is detached from the hierarchy of all otherarts by not dwelling above them but by creating its own unique world.  Music does not reflect either ugliness oflife or sufferings generated by it. Music, through the fact of its existencedrives off everything that is anxious and annoying.  Music is the rhythm of life, a tender, caringrhythm that banishes any torment. Indeed, it is not overly complicated to drawa parallel between music and human emotions in general.  Yet, music was the catalyst that acceleratedthe breakdown of Pozdnyshev’s marriage. The musical relationship between Trukhachevskiy and Pozdnyshev’s wife isitself a sensual, sexual one. The intercourse between piano and violin inBeethoven’s sonata is suggestive of this – and although there is no notion ofany explicitly physical contact between the two, the contact between violin andpiano, as it is described makes Pozdnyshev’s jealousy look well-founded.

Pozdnyshev claims that it was justone part of Beethoven’s masterpiece that propels his suspicion to grow into afirm belief in his wife infidelity.  Psychologists suggest that men react to jealousy with anger towardstheir sexual partner and the third party and are more miserable by sexual improprietythan by mental perfidiousness.  Sexualjealousy is the threat or perceived threat to a relationship between twoindividuals who are physically or sexually involved. (Final Exam:Sociobiological Aspects of Sexual Jealousy) Jealousy and murder grow out of and are really at one with, the sexualattraction, which brought Pozdnyshev and his wife together in the first place,and which held their marriage together.

Pozdnyshev accentuates thatspecifically the first presto of the “Kreutzer Sonata” is the “exquisitevoluptuousness of the senses” and “the link between them.” (Tolstoy, p.218)  He is not particularly impressedwith the “common and unoriginal andante’ and “the very weak finale.”  However, the first allegro turns out to be anallegation of his wife’s adultery.  Whatanimated slide show is running in Pozdnyshev’s inflamed imagination when helistens to the piece so masterfully performed by his wife and Trukhachevsky?

“Kreutzer Sonata” is a very solid,yet unobtrusive piece of music.  It isflowing into the mood, brightens it up and softens down.  The first presto is not long, yet it reflectsa sinful abundance of passion.  Indeed,the dialogue of the violin and the piano amazes with its vivacity andglorification of feelings.  It overwhelmsand subdues emotions from the very first loud piano’s accords and violinsinging its second part to piano on the contrary in a tender, twitteringtone.  Then piano is flying intocrescendo and as if waiting for the imminent amalgamation of two hearts intosweet harmony of an increasing rhythm, it decides to cease to a voluptuousretreat.  But prior to the immediatewithdrawal it sends sensuous hints of the near victory to the violin.  And if though the violin senses thishesitation it falls into flirting, mischievous playfulness.  The next swift turns into calamity, sweetexhaustion of piano and violin, when a dialogue of two is almost sound.  They are questioning, comforting each other,and perhaps seeking an answer to “maybe not?” But it does not last long, becausethe next accords of piano are assertive and irresistibly inviting. There is anotion of violin speculations and balance upon a thin line while making theright decision, but the crowning part of the allegro is the triumph overobstacles, doubts and moral norms.  It isa celebration of feelings, glory of eroticism and delight of lust. 

This professedly was thePozdnyshev’s vision of the Kreutzer Sonata and his interpretation of theperformance.  Was it correct? Tolstoynever gives any explicit and clear depiction of the alleged affair.  However, very animating and present inPozdnyshev’s mind, this rendition of music generated into unrestrained beast ofjealousy that drove him gradually yet inevitably to self-destruction and amurder as a consequence of own moral degradation.     










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