How does Ivan's story of the Grand Inquisitor relate to his general views throughout the novel? How is Ivan's concern for suffering humanity related to his story of freedom and security in the "Grand Inquisitor" section? Compare the philosophical views advanced by Ivan with those maintained by Father Zossima.
Write an essay justifying Dmitri as the main character of the novel. How is Dmitri's repentance and desire for suffering and regeneration a reflection of Zossima's teachings? How do Alyosha's relations with the young boys function in the total scheme of the novel? Previous Quiz. And, so, if Dmitri asks it then we should ask it as well. Do you think Alyosha will remain impervious to the women of this story or is there one he should let down his guard with? Alyosha seems to take Elder Zosima at his word when he tells him he will marry.
We end this part with the question unanswered. The stage is now set for what must happen in Part Two. There must be some resolution to the tension Dostoevsky has created. Imagine the Russians hanging on the edge of their seats for the next installment of this epic work which was released in serial. At times Alyosha will hear something and repeat it. Certain ideas come to us multiple times. Look for instances of recurring phrases or descriptions as you read. What might be the intended effect of the repetition?
Pay particular attention to any mention of children in the novel. Dostoevsky may be working through their innocence to make a point. Part two:. Those two pieces are worth reading and re-reading repeatedly. They are what Dostoevsky intended to be the heart of the novel.
You should read the two together to understand what Dostoevsky was trying to do. Elder Zosima starts to leave his final instructions on p. Arguments against religion are usually couched as science being in opposition to religion. Father Paissy addresses this on p. This kind of artificial battle has been going on for centuries. Is there any honor in a wicked man who lives openly wicked as compared to a wicked man who does so on the sly? Do we gain any insight into how Dostoevsky views children in this scene?
How does Alyosha view these children?
A Way to Read The Brothers Karamazov
Alyosha tells Liza that he intends to marry her. Does that come as a shock to you? He was practically forced to tell her his thoughts and when he does she gets angry with Alyosha. Ivan also goes on to disagree with Alyosha. Has he done anything wrong? Has he done anything that would disappoint Elder Zosima? We learn why Alyosha was bitten on the finger.
The boy had witnessed Dmitri beat his father.
The Problem of Theocracy in The Brothers Karamazov - VoegelinView
Why is this such an important thing for Dostoevsky to have us understand? What kind of emotion did you feel when you read about the boy and his defense of his father? Remember when we were told on p. This idea reappears later in the context of Jesus. The question comes up, is it possible for humans to love mankind as Jesus loved mankind?
This is a repetition of our theme of individual love v. What are the real reasons Alyosha is refused when he tries to make amends with the man Dmitri beat? Does Alyosha eventually recognize he is in any way to blame for the way he handled the situation? Do you get the impression Alyosha is as in tune with the human soul as those around him do? Do think Alyosha makes an effort to learn from his experiences, though, perhaps setting him apart from those around him?
Alyosha is not perfect, he lies to Lisa. We start to see Alyosha becoming a full-person in this Part as opposed to a limited monk.
Theodicy and Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov Essays
Are there times when lies can be for the greater good? Does Alyosha give an example of that for us to consider? Are lies always bad? Were you shocked to hear him say this? Dostoevsky never lets us get too far from our story, does he? This is another area where you could delve into some deep study and write a critical paper. Euclidean geometry is based on assuming the existence of certain axioms and then constructing logical arguments or proofs from those axioms. One of the problems with religion is that it asks us to consider a reality or a set of truths the belief in God based not on logic, but on something folks generally call faith.
It boils down to this: If Euclidean geometry exists then there must not be a God. In the s a new form of geometry, non-Euclidean geometry, was beginning to emerge. With its emergence intellectuals like Dostoevsky would have been interested in what a world without a firm set of rules might look like. Thinkers would have started to wrestle with what it might mean if the world was not as orderly as Euclid and Newton had made it seem.
Do you see any signs of Dostoevsky wrestling with this in the novel? Dostoevsky specifically refers to Hamlet on p. He does not want us to forget his book is in the Shakespearean tradition. Shakespeare made many as well. Is this a criticism of the justice system or just a cheap shot at lawyers? This section should be read multiple times. It is oft criticized and interpreted.
It is classic Dostoevsky. Before reciting his poem, though, Ivan asks Alyosha if he would be the man to create a world where all men would be happy if it meant that one innocent child would have to be tortured. What a weighty hypothetical. Is it a fair question to ask Alyosha? We need to spend some time analyzing this section before moving on. One way to ask that is to ask what Ivan is trying to accomplish? What do you think? Ivan seems highly critical of Roman Catholicism. The setting of the poem is of course one of the lowest points in the history of the Catholic Church, the Spanish Inquisition.
In sum, the stated purpose behind the Inquisition was to suppress heresy. It is alleged that the Church used the Inquisition to keep the Church in power by killing its detractors. The Church defined heresy as publicly declaring your beliefs, having beliefs against the teachings of the Church, and then refusing to denounce those beliefs when confronted with the accusations. There are some additional elements such as trying to persuade others to follow your beliefs and doing so on your own free will, without being possessed by the devil.
What makes the Spanish Inquisition unique is that it was used as a tool of secular leaders in Spain, although it was administered by the Catholic Church. The Inquisitions were not trials to a jury, but instead, to a tribunal, and you were not allowed to have an attorney defend you. Further, the accused was required to testify and if he did not testify then guilt was assumed. Usually, there were no witnesses on behalf of the accused because any that came forward would likely be prosecuted for heresy as well.
In many cases, the accused was not informed of the charges being brought against them. Inquisitors were trained by the Church to know the Bible and to ask questions in such a way that they obtained a confession or an admission of guilt. Torture was allowed as a tool to obtain a confession, but if you confessed while being tortured then you had to confess again. The last Inquisitorial act in Spain was in , not too long before Dostoevsky would have written The Brothers Karamazov.
The Catholic Church, today, generally takes a position that the Inquisition was bad, but that it was exaggerated and that you can not believe all accounts of torture and death that came out during this time period and years later. Many of the records necessary to determine how frequently torture and capital punishment were used are not available, but we know of several confirmed cases.
Ivan has Jesus return to earth for the purpose of his illustration. He shuts himself up with Jesus in a room, alone. Jesus offers no response. The Inquisitor is convinced that people will give up their freedom to the Church if it satisfies their needs. The Inquisitor admits the Church has worked in concert with the Devil and that men have been willing to give away their freedom like sheep. While the Church has not used these powers to complete effect, the Inquisitor believes the time will come when men will give up all their freedoms.
The Inquisitor eventually does not burn Jesus, but tells him to never return. After Ivan has set out the story in full, Alyosha offers his reaction. As they part, Alyosha mirrors the way Ivan ended the poem by kissing Ivan on the lips just as Jesus had kissed the Inquisitor. Alyosha will make other similar gestures, in effect giving back to the people he interacts with what they have given to him. The easy answer is that Dostoevsky has a vendetta against the Catholic Church and that he used his literary prowess and Ivan to tear down the Roman Catholic religion.
Dostoevsky very much wanted to include the next book, about Elder Zosima, together with The Grand Inquisitor. Why do you think that might have made sense to him? Is there any good that you can, at this point, imagine coming from the Karamazov force? Elder Zosima tells Alyosha he must go out into the world and be loved by even his enemies.
What makes Zosima so sure that Alyosha has that kind of strength? Is it faith or has he seen something in Alyosha that others have not yet seen? Alyosha writes a brief biography of Elder Zosima. Zosima discusses the story of Job. He understands human freedom to be a glaring flaw in the created order and attempts to alter it with the force of his political authority. In trying to eradicate freedom, an essential aspect of human nature, the Inquisitor positions himself as a pseudo-god.
He fashions and enforces a social order that accords with his idea of a perfect or at least improved world order. Here Dostoevsky forewarns of the grave consequences of capitulating to the Inquisitorial worldview: menacing regimes that condone lies and violence. We learn from Dostoevsky that, until the eschaton when God restores all things to Himself, we must acknowledge the best and worst of ourselves and ensure our political institutions reflect the full breadth of human experience. This was originally published with the same title in The Imaginative Conservative on July 5, She holds a B.
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