The Brothers Karamazov
by Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Brothers Karamazov Guilt and Blame Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Book.Chapter.Paragraph). We used Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky's translation.
Oh, perhaps this strained love would have grown into real love, perhaps Katya wished for nothing else, but Mitya insulted her to the depths of her soul with his betrayal, and her soul did not forgive [...] naturally, as soon as she had spoken it out, the tension broke, and shame overwhelmed her. Hysterics began again. (12.5.47)
Katerina doesn't recognize how her betrayal of Dmitri at his trial stems from her wounded pride that he left her for another woman. When she finally realizes this, in this quote, she is overwhelmed with shame. The benefit of this is that she gains a greater knowledge of herself.
"I alone am guilty!" Never before had Katya made such confessions to Alyosha, and he felt that she had then reached precisely that degree of unbearable suffering when a proud heart painfully shatters its own pride and falls, overcome by grief. (Epilogue.1.5)
Along with the greater insight she gains into herself (see Quote #7 above), Katerina also loses her overbearing pride when she experiences guilt over her actions.
"[...] still you are guilty of everything, sir, because you knew about the murder, and you told me to kill him, sir, and knowing everything, you left. Therefore I want to prove it to your face tonight that in all this the chief murderer is you alone, sir, and I'm just not the real chief one, though I did kill him. It's you who are the most lawful murderer!" (11.8.93)
Smerdyakov's assertion here that Ivan is responsible for Fyodor's murder is a twisted version of Zosima's belief that we are guilty for everyone's sins. Here Smerdyakov is refusing to take responsibility for the murder and putting all the blame on Ivan.