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The Brothers Karamazov
The Brothers Karamazov
by Fyodor Dostoevsky
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The Brothers Karamazov Symbolism, Imagery & Allegory

Sometimes, there’s more to Lit than meets the eye.

The Devil, the Wise Man, and the Holy Fool

Dostoevsky draws on religious and folk archetypes to give an allegorical depth to his novel. It's a way to show how a common trove of cultural meaning – such as religion – connects to everyday...

Nesting Novels

The Brothers Karamazov is often interrupted by long narratives that don't further the plot and could probably stand on their own as novels. Mini-novels nested within the novel, such as Ivan's "The...

Money, Money, Money

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...

Earth

The novel constantly refers to the earth as a source of life. The epigraph prepares us for the earth as a metaphor for spiritual renewal (see "What's Up with the Epigraph?" for more). Zosima himsel...

The Temptations

Each of the Karamazov brothers is subjected to three temptations, a nod to the Biblical story of the temptation of Christ that provides the foundation for Ivan's Grand Inquisitor. Their fates are l...

The Children

The passages devoted to the circle of schoolboys around Kolya and Ilyusha are only loosely connected to the main plot but carry a heavy allegorical significance. In the novel, the suffering of chil...

Of Onions and Troikas

The Brothers Karamazov will sometimes break out a startling image to stand in for a concept. For example, Grushenka tells a story about an old woman whose guardian angel attempts to pull her out of...
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