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The Brothers Karamazov

The Brothers Karamazov

“But to fall in love does not mean to loveOne can fall in love and still hate.”

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov.

A deep, controversial, complex and spiritually strong novel about God, freedom and morality, a universal encyclopedia of the rushing human soul.

Three brothers, Ivan, Alyosha and Mitya, are busy resolving questions about the root causes and ultimate goals of being. Their father is the burning Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov. Mitya is a child from his first marriage with a rich woman, Adelaida Ivanovna Miusova, who left Fyodor a fortune after death and a young son, whom his father, indulging in orgies and speculations, forgot about. Having married a second time to the beautiful orphan Sophia Ivanovna, Fyodor did not reform and, mocking her because of the lack of a devotee, continued a dissolute life. In the end, he took his second wife, who bore him two sons, to the grave. The children were given to guardians.

The history of one family is a prism through which the socio-philosophical epic about the past, present and future of Russia is refracted.

Fyodor Dostoevsky the brothers karamazov

What is this book about?

Dostoevsky’s last novel and the concluding part of the pentateuch ?, where the writer outlines a way out of the worldview impasse for modern society and polemicizes with the phenomena that he considers the ulcers of his century: atheism, materialism, utilitarian socialist morality, and the disintegration of the family. A theosophical treatise in the form of a detective novel about parricide, originally conceived as the first part of The Life of a Great Sinner, through the temptations of one who comes to righteousness. Three brothers – Dmitry, Ivan and Alexey Karamazov – argue about eternal questions (is there immortality of the soul? Is free will guiding a person or the laws of nature alone? Is there a God and a Creator?), Simultaneously resolving love and monetary conflicts. As Dostoevsky wrote to Nikolai Lyubimov ?, his editor in the journal Russkiy Vestnik ?: “If I succeed, I’ll do a good job: I’ll make him confess that a pure, ideal Christian is not an abstract matter, but figuratively real, possible, with his own eyes, and that Christianity there is the only refuge of the Russian Land from all its evils. “

The main plot of the novel – detective and melodramatic, mixed with several overlapping love stories and monetary incidents – is interspersed with inserted, essentially separate works. Such, for example, is the sixth book “Russian Monk”, containing the biography and teachings of Elder Zosima, such are “Boys”, “Poem” by Ivan Karamazov “The Great Inquisitor”, “Cana of Galilee”. Here are the confessions and manifestos of the heroes that seem to have nothing to do with the plot, say three “Confessions of a Warm Heart” by Mitya Karamazov (“In Verses”, “In Anecdotes” and, finally, “Up the Heels”). The plot is constantly interrupted by theological disputes, which are conducted by different heroes and in different registers – in the cell of Elder Zosima, “For Cognac” – in a mocking tone between old Karamazov and Smerdyakov, Alyosha, Mitya, Ivan and the devil.

In the novel, the fantastic element is extremely important – the scenes of dreams, Ivan’s hallucinatory conversation with the devil, Alyosha’s vision play a key role. In general, this novel can be called realistic rather conditionally. For example, Mikhail Bakhtin explained the “vitally implausible and artistically unjustified” scenes of scandals with which Dostoevsky’s novels abound, and in particular “The Brothers Karamazov” (a scandal in Elder Zosima’s cell, in Katerina Ivanovna’s drawing room, etc.), with a specific “carnival” logic the artistic world of Dostoevsky. As Bakhtin writes: “Carnivalization … allows one to expand the narrow scene of private life of a certain limited era to an extremely universal and universal mystery scene.”

The novel reveals the full depth of the characters’ characters, here everything is with anguish, you can feel the lack of understanding of the characters and the bright emotional coloring of the situation. The book deals not only with property and family relationships, but also with the fate of a person and the whole country, religion, morality, hypocrisy and piety.

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The Brothers Karamazov

The Brothers Karamazov summary

The action takes place in the provincial town of Skotoprigonievsk in the 1870s. In the monastery, in the skete of the famous elder Zosima, a famous ascetic and healer, the Karamazovs – father Fyodor Pavlovich and sons – elder Dmitry and middle Ivan, gather to clarify their family property affairs. At the same meeting, there are also the younger brother Alyosha, a novice at Zosima, as well as a number of other persons – a relative of the Karamazovs, a rich landowner and liberal Miusov, a seminarian Rakitin and several clergy. The reason is Dmitry’s dispute with his father about hereditary relationships. Dmitry believes that his father owes him a large sum, although he has no obvious legal rights. Fyodor Pavlovich, a nobleman, a small landowner, a former home owner, angry and touchy, is not going to give money to his son at all, but agrees to meet with Zosima rather out of curiosity. Dmitry’s relationship with his father, who never showed much concern for his son, is strained not only because of money, but also because of a woman – Grushenka, with whom both are passionately in love. Dmitry knows that the lascivious old man has money prepared for her, that he is even ready to marry if she agrees.

The meeting in the skete presents almost all the main characters at once. Passionate impetuous Dmitry is capable of rash acts, for which he himself deeply regrets. Clever, mysterious Ivan is tormented by the question of the existence of God and the immortality of the soul, as well as the key question for the novel – is everything permitted or not everything? If there is immortality, then not everything, and if not, then an intelligent person can settle in this world as he pleases – this is the alternative. Fyodor Pavlovich is a cynic, voluptuous, brawler, comedian, money-grubber, with all his looks and actions causes disgust and protest among those around him, including his own sons. Alyosha is a young righteous man, a pure soul, he is rooting for everyone, especially for his brothers.

Nothing from this meeting, except a scandal, which will be followed by many more, is happening. However, the wise and discerning elder Zosima, acutely feeling the pain of others, finds a word and a gesture for each of the participants in the meeting. Before Dmitry, he kneels down and bows to the ground, as if anticipating his future suffering, Ivan replies that the issue has not yet been resolved in his heart, but if he does not decide on the positive side, he will not decide on the negative side, and blesses him. To Fyodor Pavlovich, he notices that all his buffoonery comes from the fact that he is ashamed of himself. From the weary elder, most of the participants in the meeting, at the invitation of the hegumen, went to the refectory, but Fyodor Pavlovich unexpectedly appeared there with speeches denouncing the monks. After another scandal, everyone scatters.

After the guests leave, the elder blesses Alyosha Karamazov for great obedience in the world, punishing him to be near his brothers. Following the elder’s instructions, Alyosha goes to his father and meets his brother Dmitry hiding in the garden next to his father’s estate, who is guarding his beloved Grushenka here, if she, seduced by money, still decides to come to Fyodor Pavlovich. Here, in the old gazebo, Dmitry enthusiastically confesses to Alyosha. He, Dmitry, happened to plunge into the deepest shame of depravity, but in this shame he begins to feel a connection with God, to feel the great joy of life. He, Dmitry, is a voluptuous insect, like all the Karamazovs, and voluptuousness is a storm, great storms. The ideal of the Madonna lives in him, as well as the ideal of Sodom. Beauty is a terrible thing, says Dmitry, here the devil is fighting with God, and the battlefield is the hearts of people. Dmitry Alyosha also tells about his relationship with Katerina Ivanovna, a noble maiden, whose father he once saved from shame by lending him the money he needed to report in the official sum. He suggested that the proud girl herself come to him for money, she appeared, humiliated, ready for anything, but Dmitry behaved like a noble man, gave her this money, without demanding anything in return. Now they are considered the bride and groom, but Dmitry is carried away by Grushenka and even spent three thousand rubles with her at an inn in the village of Mokroe, given to him by Katerina Ivanovna to send him to his sister in Moscow. He considers this to be his main shame and, as an honest person, he must certainly return the entire amount. If Grushenka comes to the old man, then Dmitry, according to him, will rush in and interfere, and if … then he will kill the old man whom he fiercely hates. Dmitry asks his brother to go to Katerina Ivanovna and tell her that he bows, but will not come again.

In his father’s house, Alyosha finds Fyodor Pavlovich and his brother Ivan, enjoying the arguments of the footman Smerdyakov, the son of the vagabond Lizaveta and, according to some assumptions, Fyodor Pavlovich. And soon Dmitry suddenly bursts in, it seemed to him that Grushenka had come. In a rage, he beats his father, but convinced that he was wrong, he runs away. Alyosha, at his request, goes to Katerina Ivanovna, where he unexpectedly finds Grushenka. Katerina Ivanovna affectionately courting her, showing that she was mistaken, considering her corrupt, and she responds to her meditatively. In the end, everything again ends in a scandal: Grushenka, about to kiss Katerina Ivanovna’s hand, suddenly refuses to do so, insulting her rival and causing her anger.

The next day, Alyosha, after spending the night in the monastery, again goes about worldly affairs – first to his father, where he listens to another confession, now Fyodor Pavlovich, who complains to him about his sons, and says about money that he needs it himself, because he still after all, a man wants to be on this line for another twenty years, that he wants to live in his filth to the end and will not give in to Dmitry Grushenka. He gossips about Alyosha and about Ivan, that he beats off Dmitry’s bride, because he himself is in love with Katerina Ivanovna.

On the way, Alyosha sees schoolchildren throwing stones at a small lonely boy. When Alyosha approaches him, he first throws a stone at him and then painfully bites his finger. This boy is the son of Staff Captain Snegirev, who was recently humiliatingly pulled out of the tavern by the beard and beaten by Dmitry Karamazov for having some kind of bill of exchange dealings with Fyodor Pavlovich and Grushenka.

In the house of Khokhlakova, Alyosha finds Ivan and Katerina Ivanovna and becomes a witness of another anguish: Katerina Ivanovna explains that she will be faithful to Dmitry, will be “a means for his happiness,” and asks Alyosha’s opinion, who innocently declares that she does not love Dmitry at all, but only assured herself of this. Ivan informs that he is leaving for a long time, because he does not want to sit “near the anguish,” and adds that she needs Dmitry to continuously contemplate her feat of loyalty and reproach him for infidelity.

With two hundred rubles, given to him by Katerina Ivanovna for the captain Snegirev, who had suffered at the hands of Dmitry, Alyosha goes to him. At first, the captain, the father of a large family living in extreme poverty and disease, behaves like a fool, and then, feeling emotional, confesses to Alyosha. He accepts money from him and imagines with inspiration what he can do now.

Then Alyosha visits Mrs. Khokhlakova again and has a sincere conversation with her daughter Liza, a sickly and expansive girl, who recently wrote to him about her love and decided that Alyosha should certainly marry her. After a short time, she confesses to Alyosha that she would like to be tortured – for example, to marry her and then leave her. She describes to him a terrible scene of torture of a crucified child, imagining that she did it herself, and then sat down opposite and began to eat pineapple compote, “Imp” – Ivan Karamazov will call her.

Alyosha goes to the tavern, where, as he learned, his brother Ivan is. In the tavern, one of the key scenes of the novel takes place – a meeting between two “Russian boys” who, if they get together, then immediately begin about world eternal issues. God and immortality is one of them. Ivan reveals his secret, answering the unasked, but extremely interesting question for Alyosha, “How do you believe?”

In him, Ivan, there is Karamaz’s thirst for life, he loves life contrary to logic, sticky spring leaves are dear to him. And he does not accept God, but the world of God, full of immeasurable suffering. He refuses to agree with harmony based on a child’s tear. He tells Alyosha “facts” testifying to the outrageous human cruelty and childhood suffering. Ivan tells Alyosha his poem The Grand Inquisitor, which takes place in the sixteenth century in the Spanish city of Seville. The ninety-year-old cardinal imprisons Christ, who came to earth for the second time, and during a night meeting expounds to Him his view of humanity. He is convinced that Christ idealized him and that he is unworthy of freedom. The choice between good and evil is human torment. The Grand Inquisitor and his associates decide to correct the work of Christ – to overcome freedom and to arrange human happiness by themselves, turning humanity into an obedient flock. They take it upon themselves to rule over human life. The inquisitor waits for an answer from Christ, but he only silently kisses him.

After parting with Alyosha, Ivan meets Smerdyakov on the way home, and a decisive conversation takes place between them. Smerdyakov advises Ivan to go to the village of Chermashnya, where the old man sells a grove, he hints that in his absence anything can happen to Fyodor Pavlovich. Ivan is angry with Smerdyakov’s impudence, but at the same time he is intrigued. He guesses that a lot now depends on his decision. He decides to go, although on the way he changes the route and goes not to Chermashnya, but to Moscow.

Meanwhile, Elder Zosima is dying. Everyone is waiting for a miracle after the death of the righteous, and instead of this very soon the smell of decay appears, which creates confusion in souls. Alyosha is also embarrassed. In this mood, he leaves the monastery, accompanied by the atheist seminarian Rakitin, an intriguer and envious, who leads him to Grushenka’s house. They find the hostess in anxious expectation of some news. Delighted with the arrival of Alyosha, at first she behaves like a coquette, sits on his lap, but upon learning about Zosima’s death, she changes dramatically. In response to Alyosha’s warm words and the fact that he calls her, a sinner, his sister, Grushenka thaws her heart and devotes him to her torments. She is waiting for news from her “ex”, who once seduced her and left her. For many years she cherished the idea of ​​revenge, and now she is ready to crawl like a dog. And indeed, immediately after receiving the news, she rushes to the call of the “former” in Mokroi, where he stopped.

Alyosha, pacified, returns to the monastery, prays near the tomb of Zosima, listens to Father Paisius reading the Gospel about marriage in Cana of Galilee, and he, dozing off, fancies an old man who praises him for Grushenka. Alyosha’s heart is more and more filled with delight. When he wakes up, he leaves the cell, sees the stars, the golden heads of the cathedral and plunges into the joyful frenzy to the ground, hugs and kisses her, touching other worlds with his soul. He wants to forgive everyone and ask everyone for forgiveness. Something solid and unshakable enters his heart, transforming it.

At this time, Dmitry Karamazov, tormented by jealousy of his father because of Grushenka, rushes about in search of money. He wants to take her away and start a virtuous life with her somewhere. He also needs money in order to return the debt to Katerina Ivanovna. He goes to the patron saint of Grushenka, the wealthy merchant Kuzma Samsonov, offering his dubious rights to Chermashnya for three thousand, and he, in a mockery, sends him to the merchant Gorstkin (aka Lyagavy), who sells a grove with Fyodor Pavlovich. Dmitry rushes to Gorstkin, finds him asleep, takes care of him all night, almost burnt out, and in the morning, waking up after a short oblivion, he finds the peasant hopelessly drunk. In desperation, Dmitry goes to Khokhlakova to borrow money, the same one tries to inspire him with the idea of ​​gold mines.

Having lost time, Dmitry realizes that he may have missed Grushenka, and, not finding her at home, sneaks to his father’s house. He sees his father alone, waiting, but the doubt does not leave him, so he makes a secret conventional knock, which Smerdyakov taught him, and, making sure that Grushenka is not there, runs away. At this moment, Fyodor Pavlovich’s valet Grigory, who came out onto the porch of his house, notices him. He rushes after him and overtakes him when he climbs over the fence. Dmitry beats him with a pestle captured in Grushenka’s house. Gregory falls, Dmitry jumps down to see if he is alive, and wipes his bloody head with a handkerchief.

Then he again runs to Grushenka and already there he tries to get the truth from the servant. Dmitry, with a bundle of hundred-ruble credit cards suddenly in his hands, goes to the official Perkhotin, to whom he recently pledged pistols for ten rubles in order to redeem them again. Here he puts himself in order a little, although his whole appearance, blood on his hands and clothes, as well as mysterious words arouse suspicions in Perkhotin. In a nearby shop, Dmitry orders champagne and other dishes, ordering them to be delivered to Mokroe. And he himself, without waiting, rides there in a troika.

At the inn, he finds Grushenka, two Poles, a handsome young man Kalganov and a landowner Maksimov, entertaining everyone with his buffoonery. Grushenka greets Dmitry with fright, but then rejoices at his arrival. He is shy and curses up to her and to everyone present. The conversation does not go well, then a game of cards is started. Dmitry begins to play, and then, seeing the glowing eyes of the excited gentlemen, he offers the “former” money to get away from Grushenka. Suddenly it is discovered that the Poles have changed the deck and cheat while playing. They are taken out and locked in a room, a walk begins – a feast, songs, dances … Grushenka, drunk, suddenly realizes that she loves only Dmitry and is now connected with him forever.

Soon a police officer, an investigator and a prosecutor appear in Mokry. Dmitry is accused of parricide. He is amazed – after all, on his conscience there is only the blood of Gregory’s servant, and when he is informed that the servant is alive, he is greatly inspired and readily answers questions. It turns out that not all of Katerina Ivanovna’s money was spent by him, but only a part, the rest was sewn into a bag that Dmitry wore on his chest. This was his “great secret”. That was a shame for him, a romantic at heart, who showed some discretion and even prudence. It is this recognition that is given to him with the greatest difficulty. The investigator cannot understand this at all, and other facts testify against Dmitry.

In a dream, Mitya sees a child crying in the fog in the arms of an emaciated woman, he is constantly trying to find out why it is crying, why they are not feeding him, why the steppe is naked and why they are not singing joyful songs.

Great, never experienced emotion rises in him, and he wants to do something, he wants to live and live, and on the way to go “to a new calling light.”

Soon it turns out that Fyodor Pavlovich was killed by the footman Smerdyakov, who pretended to be broken by an epileptic. Just at that moment, when the old man Grigory was lying unconscious, he went out and, beckoning Fyodor Pavlovich Grushenka, forced him to unlock the door, hit a paperweight several times on the head and took the fatal three thousand from a place known only to him. Now really sick Smerdyakov himself tells about everything to Ivan Karamazov who visited him, the mastermind of the crime. After all, it was his idea of ​​permissiveness that made an indelible impression on Smerdyakov. Ivan does not want to admit that the crime was committed with his secret consent and with his connivance, but the pangs of conscience are so strong that he goes crazy. He sees the devil, a kind of Russian gentleman in plaid trousers and with a lorgnette, who mockingly expresses Ivan’s own thoughts, and he tortures him, whether there is a God or not. During the last meeting with Smerdyakov, Ivan says that he confesses everything at the upcoming trial, and he, confused, at the sight of Ivan’s uncertainty, gives him the money, and then hangs up.

Katerina Ivanovna, together with Ivan Fedorovich, are making plans for Dmitry’s escape to America. However, the rivalry continues between her and Grushenka, Katerina Ivanovna is not yet sure how she will act at the trial – the liberator or the destroyer of her ex-fiance. Dmitry, on the other hand, during his meeting with Alyosha, expresses a desire and readiness to suffer and purify himself through suffering. The trial begins by interviewing witnesses. The evidence for and against at first does not add up to a clear picture, but, rather, still in favor of Dmitry. Everyone is amazed at the speech of Ivan Fedorovich, who, after painful hesitation, informs the court that he killed the hanged Smerdyakov, and in confirmation of it, puts out a wad of money received from him. Smerdyakov killed, he says, and I taught. He raves in a fever, accusing everyone, he is taken away by force, but immediately after that Katerina Ivanovna’s hysteria begins. She presents to the court a document of “mathematical” importance – a letter from Dmitry received on the eve of the crime, where he threatens to kill his father and take the money. This indication turns out to be decisive. Katerina Ivanovna destroys Dmitry to save Ivan.

Further, the local prosecutor and the famous capital lawyer Fetyukovich speak brightly, eloquently and in detail. They both reason intelligently and subtly, paint a picture of Russian Karamazism, insightfully analyze the social and psychological reasons for the crime, convincing that the circumstances, atmosphere, environment and a low father, who is worse than someone else’s offender, could not help pushing him towards him. Both conclude that Dmitry is a murderer, albeit an involuntary one. The jury finds Dmitry guilty. Dmitry is condemned.

After the trial, Dmitry falls ill with a nervous fever. Katerina Ivanovna comes to him and admits that Dmitry will forever remain an ulcer in her heart. And that even though she loves another, and he is another, all the same, she will love him, Dmitry, forever. And he punishes him to love himself all his life. With Grushenka, they remain irreconcilable enemies, even though Katerina Ivanovna reluctantly asks her forgiveness.

The novel ends with the funeral of Ilyushenka Snegirev, the son of Captain Snegirev. Alyosha Karamazov calls on the boys gathered at the grave, whom he made friends with when visiting Ilya during his illness, to be kind, honest, never forget about each other and not be afraid of life, because life is beautiful when good and truthful things are done.

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