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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 #7

"Am I my brother Dmitri's keeper or something?" Ivan snapped irritably, but suddenly smiled, somehow bitterly. "Cain's answer to God about his murdered brother, eh?" (5.3.32)

Ivan here seems to be unaware that he is echoing Smerdyakov's own citation of the line from the Bible (5.2.34). The fact that both characters cite from this famous biblical scene, where one brother kills another over an inheritance, and the fact that Smerdyakov may or may not be a Karamazov brother, further emphasizes how brotherly ties have become virtually nonexistent.

Quote #8

"[Man] is weak and mean. What matters that he now rebels everywhere against our power, and takes pride in this rebellion? The pride of a child and a schoolboy! They are little children, who rebel in class and drive out the teacher. But there will also come an end to the children's delight." (5.5.11)

By comparing all humankind to children, Ivan's Grand Inquisitor suggests a parallel between the Karamazovs' conflict and the struggles of humanity at large.

Quote #9

Terrible, furious anger suddenly boiled up in Mitya's heart: "There he was, his rival, his tormentor, the tormentor of his life!" It was a surge of that same sudden, vengeful, and furious anger of which he had spoken, as if in anticipation [...] in response to Alyosha's question, "How can you say you will kill father?" (8.4.11)

Dmitri's anger pushes him to consider killing his own father. Interestingly, Dmitri attacks three "father figures" – Grigory, Fyodor, and Captain Snegiryov – but never kills them. Given all that anger, it makes you wonder what stopped him from going all the way.

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