Q. Write down the summary & themes of the short story God Sees the Truth But Waits by Leo Tolstoy.
God Sees the Truth But Waits Summary
‘God Sees the Truth, But Waits’ is a short story by the famous Russian author Leo Tolstoy. Set in Russia in the 19th century, it tells the sad story of Ivan Dmitrich Aksionov.
He was wrongly accused of a terrible crime and sent to prison. It is about justice, forgiveness, and fate. Through the main character’s experiences, readers are led to think about how weak human reasoning is.
Life of Ivan Dmitrich Aksionov
Ivan Dmitrich Aksionov is a well-known businessman from Vladimir. He and his wife and children live a happy life. He looks nice and is known for being kind, which is why people like him.
However, when he decides to go on a business trip, even though his wife had a bad dream, things start to happen that will change his life forever. Aksionov went away even though her wife told him to stay home.
It shows how independent and stubborn he is. His wife’s dream foreshadows the tragedy that will happen, and the fact that Aksionov ignores it adds to the story’s drama.
Aksionov’s trip starts on a positive note. He is excited about the business opportunities that are coming up. Along the way, he meets other tourists and stays in the same places as them. However, things get bad when one of the traders is found dead, and Aksionov is accused of killing him.
Even though he said he was not guilty, the murder weapon was found in his bag. That was a bad sign. The quick change from a prosperous merchant to a possible criminal shows how easily a person’s life can change and how fragile his image can be.
The Trial and the Sentence
Aksionov had a hard time during the trial. Even though he begs and tries to show his innocence, the legal system does not help him.
The courtroom is cold and heartless, contrasting with Aksionov’s kindness and innocence. The court proved him guilty. For imprisonment, he is sent to Siberia on account of the false proof against him.
Aksionov is having a hard time getting used to life in Siberia. Every day, the harsh surroundings and hard work tell him that he does not deserve what happened to him.
However, despite struggling, he shows his fellow inmates how to be wise and kind. He is called ‘The Saint’ in the jail. He helps people with their spiritual lives by giving them comfort. Nevertheless, his battle with anger and his loss of faith in justice make him more complicated.
The Real Killer Shows Up
Makar Semyonich, the real killer of the businessman, appears in the same jail in Siberia. When Aksionov sees him, he immediately recognizes him as the real murderer.
Aksionov is angry and wants to get even initially, but his exchanges with Makar help him learn more about himself. He feels conflicted toward Makar, ranging from rage to sympathy, which reveals his troubledness. The fact that the real bad guy is in the same jail seems like a cruel joke from fate.
Admitting the Truth
It is a turning point when Makar tells Aksionov that he is guilty. During this private moment, while they were working, Aksionov showed how much he could accept. Even though he has been hurt for years, he forgives Makar.
This shows how spiritually strong he was. This act of grace changes both men. Makar comes to feel sorry for what he did, and Aksionov finds an inner peace that goes beyond his pain on earth.
The Death of Aksionov
Aksionov dies before being cleared of the crime, which is unfortunate. His strong faith and wisdom continue to impact those around him. His ability to forgive everyone, especially Makar, remains a lasting example of his character.
The tragic demise of Aksionov in custody marks the end of his prolonged, unjustified suffering. Aksionov spent years in prison for a crime he did not commit.
Once a successful trader, he has now become a humble man. His heart has hardened due to life’s difficulties, but an inner spiritual awakening softens it.
God Sees the Truth But Waits Themes
In this story, forgiveness plays a significant role. The main character, Aksionov, has to endure a challenging situation. He has every right to hold onto his bitterness and hatred towards Makar. He is the man responsible for his wrongful imprisonment.
However, Aksionov makes the courageous decision to forgive. It is a transformative act that redeems both him and Makar. His forgiveness is the height of grace—a kind deed that brings peace to both the giver and receiver. His forgiveness is the epitome of grace, a soulful action.
2- Justice and Injustice
The subject of justice and injustice are expertly woven throughout the story by Tolstoy. Aksionov has been wrongfully charged, found guilty, and imprisoned. The entire legal system lets him down.
It questions the validity of justice created by humans. Despite this, the title reminds us that divine justice exists even when human justice falters.
3- Faith and Redemption
Aksionov’s trust initially trembles. His life has been unfairly flipped upside down, so it makes sense that he would start to doubt everything he previously held dear.
However, as he spends years in Siberia’s harsh conditions, he turns inward. He finds a faith that he probably never knew he had.
In this setting, faith is depicted as an active instrument for inner and exterior transformation rather than a passive acceptance. Aksionov and others around him, including Makar, can find atonement through this revitalized spirituality.
Both Aksionov and Makar see significant changes over time. Aksionov changes to a sage-like character who is capable of profound forgiveness.
On the other hand, Makar transforms from a hardened, guilt-ridden criminal to a person capable of sincere regret and confession. The story teaches a powerful lesson about how people can change, even in the most hopeless circumstances.
Despite his hardship, Aksionov has maintained his high moral standards. It is remarkable how he upholds his integrity, although everything seems to be working against him. Within the prisoners, he inspires others to seek out their better selves.