The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

4 April 2015
A review of the book “The Brothers Karamazov” by Fyodor Dostoevsky.

This paper discusses the ideological and philosophical issues raised by the characters of the book. While the writer acknowledges that the book encompasses a great deal of the Russia of Dostoevsky’s time and even more of human experience, he claims that the philosophical discussion is what gives the novel resonance and power.
The story of the Grand Inquisitor is a complex parable presented as a poem written by Ivan Karamazov. This element in the story tells much about the history of the church in Russia at the time and about theological concerns of the time. The story is presented as a battle between the Old Cardinal and Christ, with the Old Cardinal imprisoning the returned Christ because the example Christ sets is seen by the Cardinal as having placed a burden on mankind that the human being cannot meet.

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The focus of the poem is on a dialogue between the Grand Inquisitor and Christ. The Grand Inquisitor represents the Church that has come into being purportedly in support of Christ’s teaching and to maintain Christ’s example, but the Grand Inquisitor shows that the Church is actually teaching what Christ should have represented to mankind. This all relates back to Christ’s rejection of the three temptations–if he had accepted the bread, mankind would know security; if he had performed a miracle to get down from the pinnacle, human beings would have something miraculous to worship; and if he had accepted the power Satan offered him, he could wield that power for humankind.

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The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky. (2015, Apr 23). Retrieved December 5, 2019, from
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