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The Brothers Karamazov

The Brothers Karamazov

by Fyodor Dostoevsky

The Brothers Karamazov Book 12, Chapter 5 Summary

A Sudden Catastrophe

  • The narrator tells us that Ivan was originally supposed to testify before Alyosha, but his testimony was delayed because of his illness. Ivan doesn't seem much better now as he walks to the stand, and for some reason, Alyosha jumps up at this point and says, "Aaah, I remember it." No one notices Alyosha.
  • Ivan answers a couple of questions vaguely, and the judge says that it's OK for him to go home if he's sick. He steps off the stand, then returns. Suddenly he pulls out a wad of bills and announces that Smerdyakov is the murderer.
  • Katerina interrupts his testimony and tells everyone to ignore him. But Ivan keeps raving and has to be hauled away by the marshal.
  • Hysterical, Katerina rushes to the stand and waves around the incriminating letter Dmitri had written her. Like Ivan, she seems to be on the brink of a nervous breakdown as she furiously explains the story behind the document. She is whisked away to be attended by the famous doctor from Moscow, who's also treating Ivan.
  • Grushenka denounces Katerina's actions and has to be taken out of the courtroom as well. Dmitri has to be restrained, and his defense lawyer isn't too thrilled about the new evidence.
  • At 8 o'clock in the evening, Kirillovich begins the closing statement for the prosecution.

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