The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The Unbearable Lightness of Being


Milan Kundera

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Alexander Dubcek Character Analysis

The president of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia during the Prague Spring. After the Russian occupation of Czechoslovakia, Dubcek is taken with the other Czech politicians to Moscow, where he is forced to sign a compromise to end the protests of the Prague Spring and support the ideology of the Soviet Union. When Dubcek returns to Czechoslovakia, he addresses the people on the radio, but he stutters and takes long pauses. It is clear that the Russians have complete control over Dubcek and are telling him what to say. As an enthusiastic reformist, Dubcek has an interest in reforming the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. The Soviet Union does not support his politics, however, and he is bullied into submission. Dubcek represents weakness within the novel, and he illustrates the power of the Soviet Union over even elected politicians. Historically speaking, when Communism was overthrown in 1989, Dubcek, who was loved by the Czech people, was elected as chairman of the federal Czechoslovak parliament. He died in 1992.

Alexander Dubcek Quotes in The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The The Unbearable Lightness of Being quotes below are all either spoken by Alexander Dubcek or refer to Alexander Dubcek. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Time, Happiness, and Eternal Return Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Harper Perennial edition of The Unbearable Lightness of Being published in 2009.
Part 2, Chapter 26 Quotes

Thinking in Zurich of those days, she no longer felt any aversion to the man. The word “weak” no longer sounded like a verdict. Any man confronted with superior strength is weak, even if he has an athletic body like Dubcek’s. The very weakness that at the time had seemed unbearable and repulsive, the weakness that had driven Tereza and Tomas from the country, suddenly attracted her. She realized that she belonged among the weak, in the camp of the weak, in the country of the weak, and that she had to be faithful to them precisely because they were weak and gasped for breath in the middle of sentences.

Related Characters: Tereza, Alexander Dubcek
Page Number: 73
Explanation and Analysis:
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Alexander Dubcek Character Timeline in The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The timeline below shows where the character Alexander Dubcek appears in The Unbearable Lightness of Being. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 12
Power, Politics, and Inequality Theme Icon
...then asks Tereza if she could live abroad, and she doesn’t see why not. Since Dubcek has returned, Tereza says, things are different in Czechoslovakia. (full context)
Power, Politics, and Inequality Theme Icon
Dubcek and the other Czech representatives had been taken as criminals by the Russian military and... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 26
Power, Politics, and Inequality Theme Icon
...was always at work, and Tereza was left alone with Karenin. She kept thinking about Dubcek and his speech on the radio. They had all thought Dubcek weak after that, but... (full context)
Part 5, Chapter 2
Power, Politics, and Inequality Theme Icon
...been shortened, and his thesis is changed. This is in the spring of 1968, and Dubcek has just been elected, along with a bunch of Communists who actually felt bad about... (full context)