The Brothers Karamazov

The Brothers Karamazov

by

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Brothers Karamazov can help.

The Brothers Karamazov: Part 3: Book 9, Chapter 3 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Dmitri declares himself “not guilty.” Grushenka then emerges, collapses at Mikhail Makarovich’s feet, and declares herself guilty. He agrees that she is, indeed, “the chief criminal.” Grushenka begs him to judge her alongside Dmitri, who throws himself on his knees beside her. Several men pull Dmitri away from her and sit him at a table. The district attorney asks if he asserts that he’s not guilty of murdering his father, and Dmitri says that he isn’t. He’s shed the blood of an old man, but not that of his father. They tell him that he needn’t worry about Grigory; he’s alive. Dmitri is thankful for the news.
There are a lot of histrionics in this scene, which seem to replace actual emotion. Grushenka was relatively indifferent to Dmitri the day before, but is now behaving as though she is willing to lay down her life for him. Dmitri’s display of feeling is likely more authentic. He is desperate for Grushenka’s love and was even willing to kill himself over the prospect of losing it.
Themes
Innocence and Guilt Theme Icon
Suffering Theme Icon
Ippolit Kirillovich goes on to say that Grigory has given them important evidence regarding Dmitri. Dmitri then tries to leave to go to Grushenka, but the authorities detain him. Nikolai Parfenovich prompts him to drink more water. Dmitri admits that he’s a bit drunk. Nikolai Parfenovich tells Dmitri to write down that he denies the accusation against him. Before continuing, the district attorney also seeks confirmation of the fact that Dmitri disliked his father, was in a dispute with him, and wanted to kill him.
The important evidence that Grigory has given will later be revealed in court during his testimony. The prosecutors prompt Dmitri to drink water to help him clear his head because he’s been drinking all night, and also seems feverish and confused. The district attorney, meanwhile, seems bent on finding Dmitri guilty.
Themes
Innocence and Guilt Theme Icon
Dmitri says that it was no secret that he wanted his father dead. He then asks how Fyodor was killed. Ippolit Kirillovich says that they found the old man on his back, “with his head smashed in.” Nikolai Parfenovich asks Dmitri what guided him in his hatred of Fyodor. Was it jealousy? Dmitri says that it was, but it was also about money. Nikolai mentions the three thousand roubles. Dmitri says the old man owed him much more, but he was willing to settle for three thousand. The district attorney prompts Dmitri to write that he considered the contents of the envelope to be his own property.
To his credit, Dmitri has been honest, both about the crime that he committed against Grigory and about his enmity toward Fyodor, which was, indeed, well-known. The prosecutors try to understand the motives for the enmity between father and son, but Dmitri remains vague in his responses, further incriminating himself. He never mentions Grushenka, not wanting anyone to think ill of her, and he doesn’t mention the dispute over his inheritance.
Themes
Innocence and Guilt Theme Icon
Jealousy and Envy Theme Icon