Study Guide

The Brothers Karamazov Book 12, Chapter 10

By Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Book 12, Chapter 10

The Defense Attorney's Speech. A Stick with Two Ends.

  • Like Chapters 6-9, Chapters 10-13 consist entirely in the defense attorney's speech, with little action, if any. We give you the basic rundown of the speech over the next four chapters.
  • In contrast to the prosecutor, Fetyukovich is quite calm, and everyone in the courtroom is impressed with his eloquence.
  • Fetyukovich puts forward his argument that while all of the details the prosecutor presented seem convincing when taken as a whole, not one of the details can be held up as a concrete, indisputable fact. Every detail can be questioned or challenged in some way.
  • Fetyukovich describes the prosecutor's use of psychology as a "stick with two ends": psychology can justify two contradictory explanations of the same thing. So on one hand the prosecutor says Dmitri recklessly left an envelope on his father's bedroom floor in his mad rush. On the other hand, he says Dmitri was methodical in making sure that Grigory was dead. Psychology paints Dmitri as both reckless and methodical at the same time. How can that be, Fetyukovich asks?
  • Fetyukovich gets a few chuckles from the courtroom here, then he moves on.

The Brothers Karamazov Book 12, Chapter 10 Study Group

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