The Unbearable Lightness Of Being Character Analysis

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The Czech author Milan Kundera’s sixth book, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, was written in 1984. The text jumps throughout time and follows a variety of characters, resulting in a highly-acclaimed masterpiece of modernist literature. One of the central protagonists is a man named Tomas, a surgeon and intellectual living in Prague who is unable to take much seriously. He falls in love with a woman named Tereza, and sees no contradiction between his womanizing and his love for Tereza. Tomas makes many ethical decisions in the book concerning his relationship with Tereza in pursuit of “the lightness of being,” or freedom from burden. The path Tomas takes to reach lightness of being, and the toll this path takes on Tereza, have their consequences …show more content…
His domestic life is tedious to chronicle, but it is important to know all the details in order to provide the best analysis. Tomas married and divorced early, leaving behind a son he has no interest in seeing again. Kundera reveals that Tomas currently keeps several mistresses, none of whom he ever spends the night with -- until he meets Tereza, a waitress. She is the first woman whom he feels he could fall in love with, a fact that scares him and does not stop him from having sex with other women. Tereza is aware of this and grows very jealous, yet refuses to leave him. Kundera writes that Tereza, in opposition to Tomas, is a “heavy” person who would rather choose the weight of burdens yet fulfillment than meaningless freedom. Tomas attempts to appease the love of his life with marriage, a puppy named Karenin, and displays of affection -- yet he still carries on his affairs and leaves Tereza deeply unhappy (even considering suicide in one chapter). After Tomas writes an anti-communist article in the newspaper, he is forced to leave Prague, uprooting Tereza and Karenin and taking them to Switzerland. He enjoys Switzerland, his job as a window washer, and his continued sexual conquests because of the lightness these things bring him. However, Tereza decides she cannot endure Tomas’s adultery anymore and returns to Prague. He joins her, and soon after …show more content…
One of Kant’s driving focuses is the governance of the self, and autonomy. He is obsessed with creating an ethic where everyone is free. To Kant, a person should not have to be subject to a law that they did not create if they feel it is unjust. However, Kant is most known for his categorical imperative. As he writes, “maxims must be so chosen as if they were to hold as universal laws of nature,” and every person in the world “is by his very nature an end and hence and in himself.” Basically, a person must only commit an act or make a certain choice if that choice could be made by everybody and still make sense. In addition, it is morally wrong to treat people as a way of getting something you want. Rather, a person must recognize the humanity in others and not violate anybody else’s right to autonomy and

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