From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
The novel opens with the narrator telling us that Alexei Fyodorovich Karamazov is the third son of Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov, who died a "dark and tragic death" thirteen years ago. Instead of going straight to this juicy bit, though, the narrator decides to go into everything leading up to the death. So buckle your seatbelts, 'cause it's going to take him, oh, several hundred pages.
We learn that Fyodor is the scum of the earth who makes oodles of money and lives a scandalous lifestyle.
He had his first son, Dmitri, by his first wife, Adelaida Ivanovna Miusov, who came from an aristocratic family and was apparently quite a catch. No one is sure why she eloped with him in the first place, but she ended up abandoning him and their son to run off to Petersburg with a seminarian. She died before Fyodor could chase her there. After her death, Fyodor made a scene around town, drinking, sobbing, and shouting in the streets.