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The Brothers Karamazov

The Brothers Karamazov

by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Guilt and Blame Quotes

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Quote #10

[...] from the very first moments of the trial a certain peculiar characteristic of this "case" stood out clearly and was noticed by everyone – namely, the remarkable strength of the prosecution as compared with the means available to the defense [...] the debate would take place only for the sake of form, and that the criminal was guilty, clearly guilty, utterly guilty. (12.2.1)

The narrator's ironic tone comes through even in translation with the repetition of the word "guilty." Saying guilty three times suggests that the narrator just isn't sure, so he has to keep repeating himself. The state's version of guilt (determined by a trial by jury) is shown to be flawed: the actual murderer, Smerdyakov, goes free while Dmitri is condemned.

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