Antihero Pechorin In Lermontov's A Hero Of Our Time

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Lermontov’s novel A Hero Of Our Time depicts the life of the antihero Pechorin, who is consumed by his existential ennui. His travels lead him to many different women, whom he regards only as sexual conquests. One of Pechorin’s lovers, Bela, is mistreated and manipulated by him and the men around her and is heavily objectified by society. She is traded like a chattel and is expected to submit to men. This essay will analyze how Lermontov slowly objectifies her to nothing more than a ‘doll’ (32) for Pechorin and how his love for her is fickle, as she is interchangeable with every other woman he has been with.
Lermontov introduces us to the patriarchal society of Russia and Circassian culture where the objectification of women is culturally
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The verb ‘bet’ (24) trivializes the entire situation as Bela’s submission is only for his amusement. This is foreshadowed with the use of the pre-modifying adjective ‘winning’ (13) first used to describe Bela’s charm, this is because it could also imply that she is a prize to be won. Additionally, the simile ‘dressed her up like a doll’ (32) shows Pechorin’s need to domesticate women to fit his own desires and suggests how Pechorin and Maxim Maximych believe a woman is only happy when she is obedient to her man. Her insignificance in Pechorin’s life is emphasized by the fact that he soon gets ‘bored’ (37) of her. This adjective highlights that she is nothing but a toy for Pechorin and also denotes Pechorin’s immaturity, as he is unable to remain faithful to Bela. This is again illustrated with the direct speech ‘love of a savage girl is not much better than the love of a noblewoman’ (36) as it indicates she is easily replaceable and interchangeable with other women and Pechorin is never truly satisfied with what he has. The pre-modifying adjectives ‘savage’ and ‘wild’ (23) accentuate the prejudice against Circassian women and is extremely demeaning. The reader can clearly see the lack of respect Pechorin has for Bela and her …show more content…
This is especially true when Maxim Maximych states ‘And if you’re going to pine, then he’ll soon tire of it’ (33). The verb ‘pine’ indicating a mental and physical decline due to a broken heart highlights how irritated men feel when they hear a voice from a woman. This foreshadows Pechorin’s eventual boredom of Bela. Even though he still tries to be a romantic hero and claim that he still ‘loves her’ and ‘would give [his] life for her’ (37), the hyperbolic phrases sound disingenuous and lack empathy as we have come to understand Pechorin as a character who does not value his life, therefore sacrificing it does not carry much weight. Lermontov emphasizes his indifference towards Bela by the short sentence ‘I went off to order the coffin.’(43), because even Maxim Maximych who appeared to care for Bela quickly casts her away. A sense of unease is built as the reader questions whether if anyone truly appreciated Bela and if not, why did Pechorin go through so much trouble to obtain

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