The Brothers Karamazov
by Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Brothers Karamazov Judgment and Justice Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Book.Chapter.Paragraph). We used Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky's translation.
So that indeed the thought may well enter one's head, as it entered mine, for example, as soon as I took a look at them: "What can such people possibly grasp of such a case?" (12.1.5)
The narrator expresses his skepticism that the unimpressive bunch who make up Dmitri's jury can come to a valid conclusion about his innocence or guilt. The jury ends up confirming the narrator's low expectations by mistakenly convicting Dmitri.
"[...] what is most important is that a great number of our Russian, our national, criminal cases bear witness precisely to something universal, to some general malaise that has taken root among us, and with which, as with universal evil, it is already difficult to contend. [...] For now we are either horrified or pretend that we are horrified, while, on the contrary, relishing the spectacle, like lovers of strong eccentric sensations that stir our cynical and lazy idleness [like Karamazovs], or, finally, like little children waving the frightening ghosts away." (12.6.1)
The prosecutor Kirillovich views the sensational appeal of the Karamazov trial as an indication that the murder speaks to some deep disorder at the core of Russian society.
"Let us lay aside psychology, gentlemen, let us lay aside medicine, let us lay aside even logic itself, let us turn just to the facts, simply to the facts alone, and let us see what the facts will tell us [...]." (12.8.3)
Kirillovich is just interpreting the facts – or so he claims. Of course, he is totally wrong: his ambition and desire to successfully prosecute a famous case leads him to misread the evidence as proof of Dmitri's guilt.