The Brothers Karamazov

The Brothers Karamazov

by

Fyodor Dostoevsky

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A visitor who appears to Ivan Fyodorovich during a nightmare when the latter is “on the verge of brain fever,” or madness. The gentleman, who is actually Satan, is described as “a certain type of Russian gentleman” with a bit of gray in his “dark, rather long, and still thick hair.” He also has a pointed beard. He wears a well-tailored but shabby jacket. In keeping with stylish gentlemen, he wears linen, a “scarflike necktie,” and fitted, checkered trousers. What is striking is about this gentleman’s appearance is that his clothing is a few years out of fashion in addition to being a bit soiled and threadbare. With this in mind, he looks as though he belongs in a category of “former idle landowners” that flourished during the age of serfdom and had since fallen into poverty. On the middle finger of his right hand, he wears “a massive gold ring” inlaid with “an inexpensive opal.” He speaks with charm and intelligence and remains well-mannered throughout his encounter with Ivan, who is unsure if he is actually seeing Satan, some minor devil, or a manifestation of his own guilty conscience.

The Gentleman Quotes in The Brothers Karamazov

The The Brothers Karamazov quotes below are all either spoken by The Gentleman or refer to The Gentleman . 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 11, Chapter 9 Quotes

“I am perhaps the only man in all of nature who loves the truth and sincerely desires good. I was there when the Word died on the cross and was ascending into heaven, carrying on his bosom the soul of the thief who was crucified to the right of him, I heard the joyful shrieks of the cherubim singing and shouting ‘Hosannah,’ and the thundering shout of rapture from the seraphim, which made heaven and all creation shake. And, I swear by all that’s holy, I wanted to join the chorus and shout ‘Hosannah’ with everyone else. It was right on my lips, it was already bursting from my breast…you know, I’m very sensitive and artistically susceptible. But common sense—oh, it’s the most unfortunate quality of my nature—kept me within due bounds even then, and I missed the moment!”

Related Characters: The Gentleman (speaker), Ivan Fyodorovich Karamazov
Page Number: 647
Explanation and Analysis:

“Someone takes all the honor of the good for himself and only leaves me the nasty tricks. But I don’t covet the honor of living as a moocher, I’m not ambitious. Why, of all beings in the world, am I alone condemned to be cursed by all decent people, and even to be kicked with boots [….] There’s a secret here, I know, but they won’t reveal this secret to me for anything, because then, having learned what it’s all about, I might just roar ‘Hosannah,’ and the necessary minus would immediately disappear and sensibleness would set in all over the world [….] No, until the secret is revealed, two truths exist for me: one is theirs, from there, and so far completely unknown to me; the other is mine. And who knows which is preferable…”

Related Characters: The Gentleman (speaker), Ivan Fyodorovich Karamazov
Page Number: 647-648
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Gentleman Character Timeline in The Brothers Karamazov

The timeline below shows where the character The Gentleman appears in The Brothers Karamazov. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 4: Book 11, Chapter 9: The Devil. Ivan Fyodorovich’s Nightmare
Faith vs. Reason Theme Icon
Innocence and Guilt Theme Icon
Suffering Theme Icon
...he’s delirious. Suddenly, someone appears to be sitting on the sofa—"a certain type of Russian gentleman,” middle-aged, and in well-tailored but tattered clothing. (full context)
Faith vs. Reason Theme Icon
Suffering Theme Icon
Ivan talks to the Gentleman , but never abandons the belief that he’s only talking only to himself. He refuses... (full context)
Faith vs. Reason Theme Icon
Suffering Theme Icon
Ivan starts pacing, and the Gentleman tells him that his “nerves are unstrung.” He tells Ivan that he’s always angry and... (full context)
Faith vs. Reason Theme Icon
Suffering Theme Icon
Ivan asks the Gentleman to tell him a “funny anecdote.” He tells a story about a man who was... (full context)
Faith vs. Reason Theme Icon
Innocence and Guilt Theme Icon
Jealousy and Envy Theme Icon
Morality and Modernization Theme Icon
Suffering Theme Icon
The Gentleman says that he only wanted to make Ivan laugh. He tells Ivan other stories. Ivan... (full context)
Faith vs. Reason Theme Icon
The Gentleman says that, once humans have renounced God, they will be able to conquer nature. They... (full context)
Part 4: Book 11, Chapter 10: “He Said That!”
Faith vs. Reason Theme Icon
Suffering Theme Icon
...sit. He then wets a towel and puts it on Ivan’s head. Ivan says that the Gentleman “slandered” him by saying that Ivan will announce that Smerdyakov killed Fyodor at his suggestion.... (full context)