When characters are not referred to in the formal manner, they are often referred to by informal nicknames, which may seem to bear little resemblance to their real names: Alexei Karamazov is called “ Alyosha ” throughout the novel, and Dmitri Karamazov is frequently called “Mitka.” Many characters have multiple nicknames. In the list that follows, each character’s most common nicknames are given in parentheses after the character’s full name. If the character is frequently called by one of many nicknames, the frequently used name is italicized.
Unfortunately, the pilgrimage proved too arduous for the aging novelist. In November 1910, the stationmaster of a train depot in Astapovo, Russia opened his home to Tolstoy, allowing the ailing writer to rest. Tolstoy died there shortly after, on November 20, 1910. He was buried at the family estate, Yasnaya Polyana, in Tula Province, where Tolstoy had lost so many loved ones yet had managed to build such fond and lasting memories of his childhood. Tolstoy was survived by his wife and their brood of 8 children. (The couple had spawned 13 children in all, but only 10 had survived past infancy.)
This personal epiphany caused significant spiritual upheaval in Tolstoy's life, prompting him to question the Russian Orthodox Church , sexuality , education , serfdom , etc.  The literature Tolstoy composed during this period is some of his most controversial and philosophical, among which falls The Death of Ivan Ilyich and other famous short stories such as The Kreutzer Sonata and The Devil . From a biographical standpoint, therefore, it is possible to interpret The Death of Ivan Ilyich as a manifestation of Tolstoy's embroilment with death and the meaning of his own life during his final years.  In other words, by dramatizing a particular sort of lifestyle and its unbearable decline, Tolstoy is able to impart his philosophy that success, such as Ivan Ilyich's, comes at a great moral cost and if one decides to pay this cost, life will become hollow and insincere and therefore worse than death.