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The Brothers Karamazov

The Brothers Karamazov


by Fyodor Dostoevsky

The Brothers Karamazov Family Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Book.Chapter.Paragraph). We used Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky's translation.

Quote #4

If so, what sort of peace could there be? On the contrary, weren't there only new pretexts for hatred and enmity in their family? (4.5.1)

Alyosha here wonders how much worse his family situation can get. Words such as "enmity" highlight the complete absence of love in the family.

Quote #5

"We were sitting, holding each other, and sobbing. 'Papa,' he said, 'dear papa!' 'Ilyusha,' I said, 'dear Ilyusha!' [...] No, sir, I will not whip my boy for your satisfaction, sir!" (4.7.13)

In contrast to the Karamazovs, Captain Snegiryov and his son Ilyusha are fiercely loyal to each other.

Quote #6

"My brothers are destroying themselves," [Alyosha] went on, "my father, too. And they're destroying others with them. This is the 'earthy force of the Karamazovs,' as Father Paissy put it the other day – earthy and violent, raw. [...] Maybe I don't even believe in God." (5.1.76)

Even Alyosha doesn't feel exempt from the "Karamazov" force; he too thinks he may have inherited his father's malicious tendencies. On the other hand, he describes the Karamazov force as "earthy," which suggests that it grounds and humbles him, preventing him from taking on a moral high ground. It's interesting to note that Alyosha's other father figure, the elder Zosima, seems to be the polar opposite of Fyodor: he is moral, while Fyodor is corrupt; he advocates love, while Fyodor encourages enmity and disgust. But both Zosima and Fyodor die within hours of each other, and both exhort Alyosha to leave the monastery. Coincidence?

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