Study Guide

"Stinking Lizaveta" Smerdyashchaya in The Brothers Karamazov

"Stinking Lizaveta" Smerdyashchaya

Stinking Lizaveta is the village idiot. Mentally ill and homeless, she is cared for by the villagers, who pity her. Despite their efforts to clothe, feed, and shelter her, Stinking Lizaveta always manages to end up sleeping outdoors with hardly anything on. She is found one night in Fyodor Karamazov's garden giving birth to Smerdyakov. It is rumored that Fyodor raped her and Smerdyakov is his son, a rumor Fyodor neither confirms nor denies.