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The Brothers Karamazov

The Brothers Karamazov

by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Suffering Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

"Because I'm a Karamazov. Because when I fall into the abyss, I go straight into it, head down and heels up, and I'm even pleased that I'm falling in just such a humiliating position, and for me I find it beautiful." (3.3.29)

At this early point in the novel, Dmitri can only appreciate his "humiliations" in a sensuous or artistic way – whatever a muddled person like Dmitri means by "beautiful." But much later in the novel, this appreciation for the beauty in his suffering will open the way for his acceptance of suffering as a path to redemption.

Quote #2

Alyosha realized at the first sight of [Katerina], at the first words, that the whole tragedy of her situation with respect to the man she loved so much was no secret to her, that she, perhaps, knew everything already, decidedly everything. (3.10.10)

Much of the suffering that characters such as Katerina endure comes from their refusal to acknowledge the truth about themselves out of their own pride.

Quote #3

The word "strain," just uttered by Madame Khokhlakov, made [Alyosha] almost jump, because precisely that night, half-awake at dawn, probably in response to a dream, he had suddenly said, "Strain, strain!" (4.5.1)

The word "strain" is interesting; the Russian nadryvat' has been translated in some editions as "rupture." These characters are literally "straining" under their false notions of who they are (and who other people think they are), to the point of rupture or breaking. In female characters such as Madame Khokhlakov and Katerina, this rupture tends to take the form of hysterical fits.

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