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The Brothers Karamazov

The Brothers Karamazov


by Fyodor Dostoevsky

The Brothers Karamazov Fate and Free Will Quotes

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

Quote #1

"What, then, is an elder? An elder is one who takes your soul, your will into his soul and into his will [...] A man who dooms himself to this trial, this terrible school of life, does so voluntarily, in the hope that after the long trial he will achieve self-conquest, self-mastery to such a degree that he will, finally, through a whole life's obedience, attain to perfect freedom." (1.5.3)

Zosima explains how, paradoxically, it is only through complete submission to someone else (the elder) that a monk can attain true freedom: freedom from material needs.

Quote #2

"Not only that, but then nothing would be immoral any longer, everything would be permitted, even anthropophagy." (2.6.8)

Here Miusov restates Ivan's argument that without their religious belief in immortality (or their souls), men would reject all morality and be completely free to do whatever they wished. Of course the ironic consequence of this freedom is anthropophagy, or cannibalism, an irony Ivan doesn't seem to be aware of.

Quote #3

"[...] and the unworthy one will disappear down his back lane – his dirty back lane, his beloved, his befitting back lane, and there, in filth and stench, will perish of his own free will, and revel in it." (3.4.9)

Dmitri shows here how man's free will can be perverted by his sensual needs.

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