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After his mother's death, Dmitri is raised by Grigory, then Miusov, then Miusov's relatives. Now a young military officer, Dmitri returns to Skotoprigonyevsk to get his mother's inheritance from his father, but his father insists there is nothing left.
Dmitri arrives late for a meeting with his father at the elder Zosima's cell. After disputing with his father, he leaves.
Later Dmitri hides out in a gazebo in his father's neighbor's yard. Alyosha finds him there and they talk.
Later that day Dmitri rushes into Fyodor's home and attacks him in front of Alyosha and Ivan. Then he rushes back out.
Dmitri waits for Alyosha on the road to the monastery. When Alyosha walks by, he beats his chest with his fist and complains about his dishonorable conduct.
We learn through Alyosha's meeting with Snegiryov that a week earlier Dmitri had publicly humiliated Snegiryov.
We find out through Grushenka that the next day, the day after Alyosha's meeting with Snegiryov, Dmitri had escorted Grushenka to Samsonov's.
The novel flashes back to Dmitri's perspective, the day before. Desperate for cash, he asks Samsonov for a loan. Samsonov refuses but recommends that Dmitri visit Lyagavy, who is staying at the nearby village Ilyinskoye.
Dmitri pawns his silver watch for six roubles and borrows three roubles from his landlords for his trip to Ilyinskoye. But when Dmitri finally locates Lyagavy, Lyagavy is too drunk to understand a word he's saying.
Discouraged, Dmitri returns home and heads straight to Grushenka. She tells him that she's off to Samsonov's to help him with his accounts. Dmitri drops her off at Samsonov's.
Dmitri leaves Grushenka and continues to look for money. He pawns his pistols off to a friend for some more money.
He then visits Maria Kondratievna and is worried by Smerdyakov's illness.
Dmitri goes home, washes up, then visits Madame Khokhlakov, who refuses to lend him money. Instead, she insists that he take up working in the gold mines. Frustrated and furious, Dmitri leaves.
A few steps beyond her door, he beats himself on his chest.
In the village square he encounters Samsonov's servant, who tells him that Grushenka left shortly after he left her at Samsonov's.
Dmitri heads back to Grushenka's, where her servant denies having any knowledge of Grushenka's deception. On his way out the door he grabs a brass pestle.
Convinced that Grushenka must have gone to his father's, Dmitri heads over to Fyodor Karamazov's. To see if Grushenka is there, he taps at the window. When his father rushes to the window, Dmitri realizes that Grushenka isn't there.
Dmitri pulls the brass pestle from his pocket, then decides to run for the garden wall. But Grigory grabs his leg. Dmitri strikes Grigory, who falls, his head covered in blood. Dmitri briefly tries to help Grigory but then runs off back to Grushenka's.
At this point, Dmitri is covered in Grigory's blood. At Grushenka's, Fenya finally tells Dmitri that Grushenka is at Mokroye.
Dmitri goes back to the official Perkhotin and pays back his debt in return for his pistols. He loads the pistol and shows a damning note to Perkhotin. Dmitri seems to have a lot of money all of a sudden. After changing out of his bloody clothes, Dmitri orders up a cart of treats and alcohol and heads off to Mokroye. On the carriage ride there, he contemplates suicide.
At Mokroye Dmitri discovers Grushenka sitting with her former Polish lover, his Polish friend, and a couple of people from town. After playing a game of cards where he loses a lot of money, Dmitri tries to bribe the Poles to leave Grushenka alone, but they refuse.
Dmitri is pleased to find that Grushenka is annoyed with the Poles. The innkeeper enters with some peasant women, who get the party started with a song. As the party gets more raucous, Dmitri and Grushenka grow closer.
In the middle of the party, Dmitri goes out for some fresh air and meets the innkeeper, who seems concerned. Dmitri thinks nothing of it and goes back to the party.
As Dmitri and Grushenka are planning their new life together, their conversation is interrupted by a number of court officials, including the district attorney, who announces that Dmitri is under arrest for his father's murder.
At his interrogation Dmitri proclaims his innocence. He even reveals the true source of his cash: 1,500 roubles he was carrying in a cloth around his neck, which he had left over from the 3,000 roubles he stole from Katerina. His interrogators don't believe him and ask him to strip so they can search his clothes.
After his interrogation, Dmitri watches on as his interrogators question the witnesses at the inn. Exhausted, he falls asleep and dreams that he is on the steppes. He is moved to tears by the poverty and misery he sees there.
When Dmitri awakes from his dream, Parfenovich asks him to sign a copy of the transcript of the interrogation, which he does without reading it.
Dmitri is then formally put under arrest and taken by cart back to town.
It's now several months later, in the days leading up to his trial. In prison now, Dmitri receives visits from Rakitin, Alyosha, Ivan, and Grushenka.
At his trial, Dmitri is wrongfully found guilty of his father's murder. In the days afterward, he wrestles with whether he should seek to escape to America with Grushenka.