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The Brothers Karamazov
The Brothers Karamazov
by Fyodor Dostoevsky
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Money, Money, Money

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Money isn't just the source of conflict in The Brothers Karamazov; it symbolizes a basic absence of values in modern society. While everybody and their mother seems to gab on about Dmitri's "3,000 roubles," the irony is that no one except Dmitri has ever counted the money. "3,000 roubles" is a fantasy, a collective hallucination, a mirage generated by word of mouth. Even the actual 3,000 roubles – the wad of incriminating cash Smerdyakov has stashed in his room – can't save Dmitri from the fabled 3,000 roubles everyone imagines he has. This imaginary, valueless money is made all the more symbolic by the fact that many of the wealthy characters – Fyodor Karamazov, Kuzma Samsonov, Madame Khokhlakov, Pyotr Miusov – are also the most morally bankrupt.

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