Bazarov a lunatic or visionary? — страница 2

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destination, his own parents’ homestead. Although it appears to be understandable why such an intelligent and developed figure as Bazarov would try to avoid extended periods of exclusive contact with simpler people – they bore him. But it also seems that Bazarov, in general, feels most comfortable around people who inherently have no capability to confront him and question his maximalistic slogans. He enjoys the company of the local kids in Maryino and delightfully explains his work in dissecting frogs; Arkady is his friend because he is harmless; he even tries to seduce Fenechka, that shy and timid woman, during his final visit at the Kirsanovs’. One way to explain these gravitational tendencies is by a hypothesis that Bazarov felt vulnerable as a nihilist. The ordinary

people around him constantly challenged his ideas, and Bazarov’s two rudimentary reactions were to either withdraw and avoid these debates, as it usually was in his encounters with Pavel Kirsanov, or to engage in all-out verbal melees with his attackers, who oftentimes sound more reasonable than the belligerent nihilist. Bazarov becomes consumed by his own lies. By so fiercely renouncing authority, principles, and norms, he contradicts himself. According to him, poetry is a nothing but romantic nonsense, music is a waste of time, admiration of nature is next to hallucinating. Consumed by his fictitious theories, Bazarov fails (or refuses) to realize that by arbitrarily denying these and other naturally existing attributes of the society and people, he disaffirms his own

dedication to empiricism. Bazarov’s belief in chemistry attests to the exact opposite of what he asserts. Chemistry is merely a science that examines the interaction between atoms; it does not write the laws of these interactions. Similarly, the world is constructed with its principles of interactions between people within the society. Therefore, by refusing to recognize the underlying order of the society and becoming a nihilist, Bazarov puts himself in danger of someday facing a painful revelation. His relentless struggle against the ideals and the idealists has transformed his very self into an idealist. By attacking all principles already so solidly embedded in the society, he makes himself an author of just another set of ideals, values, and principles. “Thou shalt not

enjoy the nature, music, poetry, or love! Thou shalt enjoy Stoff und Kraft and chemistry!” is a possible quote relatable to Bazarov through paraphrasing of his loud claims. But it is strange that such an intelligent man as Bazarov could not understand that by depriving people of their common sources of enjoyment and happiness, he was sermonizing about a world bound for self-destruction. For it is quite clear that the more harmless sources of happiness every person finds in his or her life, the better and safer the world will be for the society as a whole. Strongly intoxicated by his own brilliance and without understanding his mistake, Bazarov found the audacity and temerity to question and ridicule the natural order of his society at the time. His quest for reform essentially

was a trip to the dawn of human race, to the prehistoric times of laissez-faire ethics (or absence thereof) and an attempt to redesign the law of the world, the law that constructed itself over the centuries and evolved as an environmental force much too strong for a simple idealist like Bazarov to engage. “Fathers and Sons” is similar to a Sophoclean tragedy, in which the main character, Bazarov, follows a line that involves most of the attributes of a real tragic hero, as outline in Greek drama: hubris, an anagnorisis, and a catharsis. His hubris was the titanic pride and contempt for too many of the world’s principles. His unsuccessful relationship with Odintsova, however, forced him to acknowledge the foolishness of his rash evangelizations. Consistent with his own

previous statement that “he will review his own person when he finds someone who can face him”, Bazarov experiences his anagnorisis when he undergoes a radical change of philosophy after all of his nihilistic ideas are put to doubt. Bazarov the Empiricist witnesses empirically the dismantling of his longtime theories when he falls in love with the first person capable of standing up to him, Anna Odintsova. But tragically, the revelation comes to Bazarov only when he is on his deathbed, losing grip of his mighty intellect. Too late! he acknowledges the truth about his feeble “castle made of sand that melted into the sea” when he confessed love to Anna. Even after yet another version of the interpretation of Bazarov’s story is presented, it is still unclear whether