The Brothers Karamazov

The Brothers Karamazov

by

Fyodor Dostoevsky

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The Brothers Karamazov: Part 3: Book 8, Chapter 5 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Fenya is sitting in the kitchen with her grandmother. Both women are preparing for bed. Dmitri rushes in and seizes Fenya by the throat. The women shriek, while Fenya rattles out that Grushenka has gone to Mokroye to see the officer who left her five years ago. Dmitri loosens his grip and then lets go. Fenya sees that Dmitri’s hands are stained with blood, and there are red patches on his forehead and right cheek. Dmitri drops down into a chair beside Fenya. Suddenly, he starts speaking gently to Fenya, as though he has completely forgotten how he just assaulted and frightened her. Fenya gives him all the details of that day, including Rakitin and Alexei’s visit. She then remarks on Dmitri’s bloody hands. He gives her a rambling, unclear explanation and then bids her goodbye, saying that he will “remove [himself]” and knows how to do it.
Dmitri has been driven mad by his jealousy and his frantic worry about not getting the money that only he believes he desperately needs. Dostoevsky uses Dmitri’s behavior to contemplate fanaticism, or what can happen when a person becomes overly fixated on one idea or person. He is so fixated on Grushenka that he acts like a clumsy criminal, validating Smerdyakov’s later assessment of him. This sloppiness is partly what the lackey relied upon to frame Dmitri for Fyodor’s murder. Dmitri’s threat to “remove himself” is a hint toward his plan to give up on finding the money and instead commit suicide.
Themes
Jealousy and Envy Theme Icon
Dmitri leaves and, exactly ten minutes later, walks into the rooms of Pyotr Ilyich Perkhotin—the official to whom he gave his pistols. Dmitri asks for the pistols back, and he returns the money. Pyotr Ilyich is surprised by the sudden turn. Pyotr Ilyich later testified that Dmitri was not quite himself when he returned—he seemed to be in some kind of “ecstasy.” He also had a wad of cash, around two or three thousand roubles. Finally, he seemed to be in a hurry.
Pyotr Ilyich is a foil for Dmitri. Whereas Dmitri is passionate and hot-headed, Pyotr is methodical and cool, later instructing Dmitri on ways to keep calm and to look after himself properly. Pyotr is careful with money, whereas Dmitri is careless with it. Pyotr sees that Dmitri is suffering, but thinks much of it is due to his bad habits.
Themes
Suffering Theme Icon
Pyotr Ilyich asks if Dmitri has fallen, wondering if that explains why he’s covered in blood. He invites Dmitri to wash at the basin. Dmitri hands Pyotr Ilyich a hundred-rouble bill, but Pyotr doesn’t have any change and Dmitri doesn’t have any smaller bills. Pyotr Ilyich asks Dmitri how he got so “rich” all of a sudden. Pyotr Ilyich then says that he can have his servant go to Plotnikov’s for some change because they close late. Dmitri tells the servant boy to send the message that Dmitri will go over to Plotnikov’s himself shortly, and to have some champagne ready—three dozen bottles, “packed the same way as when [he] went to Mokroye.” He also asks for some cheese, pâté, caviar, fruit, and other delicacies. He says that it should all come to about three thousand roubles.
During this episode with Pyotr Ilyich, who remains incisive and steady while Dmitri is vague and frantic, the contrast between the two men is especially clear, causing one to wonder if their friendship isn’t based on the possibility that Pyotr is the steadiest person in Dmitri’s life. It seems, however, that Dmitri only goes to Pyotr when he needs something. In this instance, he needs help to minimize his guilt, not realizing how much more trouble he will cause for himself by appearing to several people in a bloody shirt.
Themes
Innocence and Guilt Theme Icon
Pyotr Ilyich helps Dmitri take off his frock coat and sees that there’s blood on that, too. Pyotr Ilyich helps Dmitri wash up. They see that Dmitri’s whole right cuff is also bloody. Pyotr Ilyich demands, once again, to know how Dmitri got this way. He asks if Dmitri killed someone, and Dmitri calls that “nonsense.”
Dmitri won’t tell Pyotr about the source of the blood because he’s afraid that he killed Grigory. In regard to this attack, Dmitri has shown his willingness to lie to get out of seeming guilty.
Themes
Innocence and Guilt Theme Icon
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Pyotr Ilyich still wonders how Dmitri got so rich all of a sudden and asks him if he has a gold mine. The remark makes Dmitri laugh. Pyotr Ilyich asks Dmitri where he’s going, and he announces that he’s leaving for Mokroye. He loads the pistol with gunpowder and examines the bullet before putting it in. He tells Pyotr Ilyich that he wants to look at the bullet that will go into his brain. He then gets a pen and a piece of paper and writes two lines on it. He folds the paper and puts it in his waistcoat pocket. He then puts the pistols back in their case and locks it.
The offhanded guess about the gold mine is now amusing to Dmitri, whereas hours ago, it made him furious. He’s in a lighter mood because he knows that he’ll kill himself; therefore, nothing matters anymore. Dmitri’s decision makes a sharp contrast to his previous behavior. Whereas before he was scattered and wrathful, he’s now calm and methodical.
Themes
Innocence and Guilt Theme Icon
Suffering Theme Icon
Pyotr Ilyich asks Dmitri why he needs to go to Mokroye. He says that there’s a woman there, but he refuses to say more. Pyotr Ilyich says that, though Dmitri is a “savage,” he still worries about him. Pyotr Ilyich’s servant, Misha, comes back with a wad of small bills and says that everyone is busy at Plotnikov’s, arranging Dmitri’s order. Dmitri takes a ten-rouble note and gives it to Pyotr Ilyich. He then gives another to Misha. Pyotr Ilyich gets offended at how Dmitri is tossing money around, knowing that he’ll come back to him to ask for more. Dmitri then invites his friend to Mokroye with him. When he refuses, he suggests that Pyotr Ilyich have a drink with him at Plotnikov’s, in the back room.
Dmitri doesn’t want to tell Pyotr Ilyich about Grushenka, though it isn’t clear why. Given that he’s decided to kill himself, it shouldn’t matter who he plans to see. However, he may avoid mentioning Grushenka’s name to avoid implicating her in what he will do. Dmitri’s carelessness with money irritates Pyotr because he regards this as central to Dmitri’s troubles. He loses money repeatedly by going on sprees and getting further into debt, thereby adding to his own suffering.
Themes
Suffering Theme Icon
Plotnikov’s is two doors away from Pyotr Ilyich’s place. Dmitri is “awaited with impatience at the shop.” A few weeks before, he had put in another big order of specialty goods and wines. They remembered him coming with a wad of money in his hand, just as he does now. When Pyotr Ilyich and Dmitri arrive, there’s a cart at the door, harnessed to a troika, and the coachman, Andrei, is waiting for Dmitri.
Dmitri is awaited with “impatience” because he always spends a lot of money at the shop. Buying champagne and specialty goods makes Dmitri feel good. He not only feels like a rich man but can also engage in the sensory pleasure that’s now essential to him, especially given his decision to kill himself. He wants to have a last hurrah before the end.
Themes
Suffering Theme Icon
As Dmitri sits in his carriage, Fenya runs up, begging him not to harm Grushenka. Pyotr Ilyich figures that’s what Dmitri is up to. He demands the pistols back. Dmitri assures him that he intends to toss the firearms in a puddle. He tells Fenya that he’ll not harm anyone anymore. He asks her forgiveness for hurting her. If she won’t forgive him, he says, it doesn’t matter, because now nothing matters. He then tells Andrei to get going.
Like Grigory, Fenya demonstrates great loyalty to her mistress. Pyotr takes Fenya’s plea as evidence that Dmitri plans to shoot and kill Grushenka. However, Dmitri would sooner harm himself. This is less out of love for Grushenka than out of the sense of being enamored with the idea of his martyrdom.
Themes
Suffering Theme Icon