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.
"But when he knows that he is not only worse than all those in the world, but is also guilty before all people, on behalf of all and for all, for all human sins, the world's and each person's, only then will the goal of our unity be achieved. [...] Only then will our hearts be moved to a love that is infinite, universal, and knows no satiety." (4.1.2)
The elder Zosima's notion of universal love is a tough one to grasp because it involves recognizing that you're no better than anyone else, not even equal to anyone else, but "worse than all those in the world." Only when you accept that can you truly love.
"No, I was the cause of it all, I am terribly to blame!" the inconsolable Alyosha repeated in a burst of agonizing shame for his escapade, and even covered his face with his hands in shame. (4.5.46)
Alyosha's outburst of shame is spontaneous but also a bit perplexing, since all he did was tell Ivan and Katerina about their true feelings for one another. To blame himself for their tiff is a bit much, but it goes along with Zosima's notion of love in Quote #1.
"[...] make yourself responsible for all the sins of men [...] by shifting your own laziness and powerlessness onto others, you will end by sharing in Satan's pride and murmuring against God." (6.3.g)
As in Quote #1, Zosima insists on the notion of being personally responsible for everyone else's sins. To do otherwise would be to disrupt the unity of all mankind in the love of God through a kind of Satanic pride.