The Brothers Karamazov

The Brothers Karamazov

by

Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Grigory Vasilievich’s wife. She is a fellow servant on the Karamazov property. She has submitted to her husband’s will all her life, but she pesters him “terribly” when she wants something, such as when she wants to move to Moscow and open a little shop there after the emancipation of the serfs. Her husband ignores her, and they remain with Fyodor Pavlovich.

Marfa Ignatievna Quotes in The Brothers Karamazov

The The Brothers Karamazov quotes below are all either spoken by Marfa Ignatievna or refer to Marfa Ignatievna. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Faith vs. Reason Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Farrar, Straus and Giroux edition of The Brothers Karamazov published in 1990.
Part 4: Book 12, Chapter 12 Quotes

“I gathered some information: he hated his origin, was ashamed of it, and gnashed his teeth when he recalled that he was ‘descended from Stinking Lizaveta.’ He was irreverent towards the servant Grigory and his wife, who had been his childhood benefactors. He cursed Russia and laughed at her. He dreamed of going to France and remaking himself as a Frenchman. He used to talk about it often and said that he only lacked the means to do so. It seems to me that he loved no one but himself, and his respect for himself was peculiarly high [….] Considering himself (and there are facts to support it) the illegitimate son of Fyodor Pavlovich, he might very well detest his position as compared with that of his master’s legitimate children: everything goes to them […] to them all the rights, to them the inheritance, while he is just a cook.”

Page Number: 738
Explanation and Analysis:
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Marfa Ignatievna Character Timeline in The Brothers Karamazov

The timeline below shows where the character Marfa Ignatievna appears in The Brothers Karamazov. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: Book 3, Chapter 1: In the Servants’ Quarters
Family Theme Icon
...Ivan are living there. Three servants live in the cottage: the elderly Grigory, his wife Marfa, and Smerdyakov, who is a young man. (full context)
Jealousy and Envy Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...“beaten badly.” Outwardly, Grigory is cold, pompous, and a man of few words. His wife, Marfa, is more intelligent than her husband but submits to him and has done so without... (full context)
Faith vs. Reason Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Grigory and Marfa had only one baby, and it died. Grigory loves children and doesn’t conceal this sentiment.... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Two weeks after his baptism, Grigory and Marfa’s son died of thrush. For many years afterward, Grigory never mentioned his child, and Marfa... (full context)
Suffering Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
On the day that they buried their son, Marfa awoke during the night and listened to what sounded like a woman groaning. She woke... (full context)
Part 1: Book 3, Chapter 2: Stinking Lizaveta
Innocence and Guilt Theme Icon
Suffering Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...servant’s cottage. He saw the newborn as a gift from his dead child. He and Marfa baptized the baby and named him Pavel Fyodorovich, which Fyodor found amusing. Grigory then invented... (full context)
Part 1: Book 3, Chapter 6: Smerdyakov
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Grigory and Marfa notice that, at dinner, Smerdyakov has become particularly discerning and studies his food before eating... (full context)
Part 2: Book 4, Chapter 2: At His Father’s
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...his father’s house. He wonders why Fyodor didn’t want Ivan to know about this visit. Marfa Ignatievna opens the gate for Alexei (Grigory is ill and in bed in the cottage)... (full context)
Part 2: Book 5, Chapter 6: A Rather Obscure One for the Moment
Jealousy and Envy Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...he would never tell Grigory about the signals without Fyodor’s permission. Anyway, both Grigory and Marfa Ignatievna would probably be asleep anyway. (full context)
Part 2: Book 5, Chapter 7: “It’s Always Interesting to Talk with an Intelligent Man”
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...asks if he’ll return, because he’ll always be glad to see him. Smerdyakov, Grigory, and Marfa also come out to say goodbye. Ivan gives them each ten roubles. While Ivan sits... (full context)
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...the house, Smerdyakov goes to the cellar for something and falls from the top step. Marfa hears his cry and goes to him. She sees that he hasn’t broken any bones,... (full context)
Part 3: Book 8, Chapter 4: In the Dark
Innocence and Guilt Theme Icon
Jealousy and Envy Theme Icon
...in the small of his back. Smerdyakov “lay in the next room without moving” and Marfa Ignatievna is also still. Grigory remembers that he didn’t lock the garden gate that evening.... (full context)
Part 3: Book 9, Chapter 2: The Alarm
Innocence and Guilt Theme Icon
Suffering Theme Icon
...commissioner’s house, he learns that Fyodor Pavlovich really was murdered and robbed at his home. Marfa Ignatievna woke up and rushed to Smerdyakov, who was “struggling and gasping horribly.” When she... (full context)
Innocence and Guilt Theme Icon
Grigory muttered incoherently to Marfa Ignatievna. She began to scream and saw that Fyodor Pavlovich’s window was open. She called... (full context)
Part 4: Book 11, Chapter 8: The Third and Last Meeting with Smerdyakov
Innocence and Guilt Theme Icon
Jealousy and Envy Theme Icon
Suffering Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...that, even if Grigory were still alive, he was unconscious. The only risk was that Marfa Ignatievna might wake up. Smerdyakov went to the window again and announced that Grushenka had... (full context)
Innocence and Guilt Theme Icon
...if Grigory lived, he would be a witness against Dmitri. He began groaning to waken Marfa Ignatievna, who rose, saw that Grigory was missing, and went into the garden. Ivan asks... (full context)