What happened in the end of Solaris?

Answered by Willie Powers

In the end of Solaris, the protagonist, Kris Kelvin, makes a pivotal decision. Despite everything he has experienced on the mysterious planet Solaris, he ultimately chooses not to return to Earth. This decision is significant because it represents a transformation in his understanding of himself and his place in the universe.

After encountering the enigmatic and sentient ocean on Solaris, Kelvin becomes entangled in a complex web of illusions and memories. The planet seems to possess the ability to manifest people from his past, particularly his deceased wife, Rheya. These manifestations, known as “visitors,” are not mere holograms or illusions but physical beings with thoughts, emotions, and memories.

Throughout the story, Kelvin grapples with the nature of these visitors and their purpose. He questions their authenticity and whether they truly represent the people they appear to be. This internal struggle is mirrored in his relationship with Rheya, as he tries to reconcile his love for her with the understanding that she is merely a construct of Solaris.

As the narrative unfolds, Kelvin begins to accept the visitors as real and valid beings, despite their origins. He recognizes that they possess their own unique consciousness and emotions, even if they are ultimately products of Solaris. This realization leads Kelvin to question his own identity and the nature of humanity itself.

In a climactic moment, Kelvin decides to stay on Solaris and be transformed into a cloned creature by the planet. This transformation allows him to exist in a state of blissful illusion, living with the Rheya-creature in a simulated reality. It is a choice driven by love and a desire to escape the complexities and disappointments of life on Earth.

The ending of Solaris, both in the original novel and the Russian film adaptation, leaves much room for interpretation and philosophical contemplation. It raises profound questions about the nature of consciousness, the boundaries of reality, and the human condition. The story’s emphasis on introspection and existential themes is a hallmark of the works of Stanislaw Lem, the author of the novel.

The ending of Solaris sees Kelvin making the decision to remain on the planet, accepting the visitors and the illusions they represent. He embraces the opportunity to live a life of illusionary happiness with the Rheya-creature. This conclusion reflects the profound philosophical underpinnings of the story and invites the audience to reflect on the nature of reality and the complexities of human existence.