The focus of attention of Russian writers has always been a man with his unique inner world. There is nothing more interesting than deciphering the secret of a person, trying to understand his psychology.
The novel by M. Yu. Lermontov “The Hero of Our Time” touches on the topic of so-called “superfluous people”. AI Herzen called the protagonist of the work of Pechorin the younger brother of Onegin. In the preface to the novel, the author expresses his attitude towards his hero. Just like AS Pushkin in “Eugene Onegin” (“Always I’m glad to notice the difference between Onegin and me”), Lermontov ridiculed attempts to equate the author of the novel with his main character. The author emphasized that in the image of Pechorin a portrait of not one person was given, but an artistic type incorporating the features of a whole generation of young people of the beginning of the century.
In Lermontov’s novel The Hero of Our
Time, a young man suffering from his unhappiness is shown desperately asking himself the agonizing question: “Why did I live? For what purpose was I born?” He does not have the slightest inclination to go the beaten path of secular young people. On the one hand, Pechorin is an officer, on the other – a tempter and a provocateur of people to manifest their secret essence. He serves, but does not qualify. Pechorin does not study music, he does not study philosophy or military science. But we can not help but see that Pechorin is a head taller than the people around him, that he is intelligent, educated, talented, brave, energetic. We are repelled by Pechorin’s indifference to people, his inability to real love, to friendship, his individualism and selfishness. But Pechorin enthralls us with a thirst for life, a desire for the better, the ability to critically assess their actions. He is deeply unsympathetic to us by the “miserliness of actions”, the empty waste of his forces, the actions with which he brings suffering to other people. But we see that he himself suffers deeply.
nature of Pechorin is complex and contradictory. The hero of the novel says of himself: “There are two people in me: one lives in the full sense of the word, the other thinks and judges it…” What are the reasons for this duality? “I told the truth – they did not believe me: I began to deceive, having learned well the light and springs of society, I became skilled in the science of life…” – Pechorin admits. He learned to be secretive, rancorous, bilious, ambitious, he became, in his words, “a moral cripple.”
Pechorin is an egoist. Even Pushkin’s Onegin VG Belinsky called “suffering egoist” and “egoist involuntarily.” The same can be said about Pechorin. Pechorin is characterized by disappointment in life, pessimism. He suffers from the constant division of the soul. In socio-political conditions of the 1830s Pechorin can not find any use for himself. He is wasted on minor adventures, he is forging the forehead of Chechen bullets, looking for oblivion in what he calls love. But all this is only a pathetic attempt to find some way out, to unwind. He is haunted by boredom and the consciousness that it is not worth living such a life.
Throughout the novel, Pechorin shows himself as a man who has grown accustomed to looking at “the suffering, the joys of others only in relation to himself” – as a “food” supporting his mental forces, it is on this path that he seeks solace from the boredom that haunts him, tries to fill it emptiness of its existence. And yet Pechorin is a nature, richly gifted. He has an analytical mind, his assessments of people and their actions are very accurate; He has a critical attitude not only to others, but to himself. His diary is nothing but self-exposure. He is endowed with an ardent heart, able to feel deeply (Bela’s death, a meeting with Vera) and strongly experience, although he tries to hide his emotional experiences under the guise of indifference. Indifference, callousness is a mask of self-defense.
Pechorin is still a strong-willed, strong, active person, his “life of power” is dormant in his chest, he is capable of action. But all his actions are not positive, but negative charge, all his activities are directed not at creation but at destruction. In this Pechorin is similar to the hero of the Lermontov poem “Demon”. And it is true that in his appearance (especially at the beginning of the novel) there is something demonic, unsolved. In all the novels that Lermontov combined in the novel, Pechorin appears before us as a destroyer of the lives and destinies of other people: because of him he loses his shelter and dies Bela’s Belka, Maksim Maksimych is disappointed in his friendship, Mary and Vera suffer, Grushnitsky, forced to leave their home “honest smugglers,” dies a young officer Vulich.
Belinsky saw in the character of Pechorin “a transitional state of mind in which everything old is destroyed for man, and there is still nothing new, and in which there is only the possibility of something real in the future and a perfect ghost in the present.”
Demonichnost Pechorin perfectly reflects the contradictoriness of the human face in general. As much as a man praises himself, no matter how he strives for good, there will always be a dark beginning that tempts and provokes him. In this case, Pechorin acts as a tempter for other characters in the novel. In each he discovers a secret loophole to vice, which leads them to perdition or despair. His death suggests thoughts about the dominant in Lermontov’s pursuit of good. He kills his too complex and too realistic hero, although sometimes the reader does not believe in it. Pechorin is alive and alive enough that sometimes we feel his presence in his doubts and seditious thoughts. And only the absence of doubts about their intentions and true faith in goodness can save from it.