The Brothers Karamazov

The Brothers Karamazov

by

Fyodor Dostoevsky

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The Brothers Karamazov: Part 3: Book 9, Chapter 6 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Dmitri submits to the strip-search, though with feelings of “pride and contempt.” Nikolai Parfenovich and Ippolit Kirillovich go behind the curtain with him, along with several peasants, who seem to be there to physically detain Dmitri if necessary. Huge spots of blood are on his coat and on his trousers. Nikolai Parfenovich feels along the collar, looking for more money. They suspect that Dmitri may have sewn money into his clothes. Dmitri is offended at how they are treating an officer like a thief. Nikolai Parfenovich then notices the “tucked-under right cuff” of Dmitri’s shirt sleeve, which is also stained with blood. Dmitri explains how he stained it due to fussing over Grigory, then tucked it under while washing up at Pyotr Ilyich’s. They tell him that they must take the shirt as evidence.
Dmitri resents having strangers look at his body, as there is something demeaning about it. His feeling of offense toward being treated like a thief strongly suggests that he’s not guilty of stealing from his father, though this subtlety would be lost on the authorities, and it contradicts his general feeling of being a thief in regard to the money that he took from Katerina Ivanovna. The authorities are going over the smallest details to determine if Dmitri killed his father. They are unsure if he’s telling the truth about Grigory or washed himself to cover up his murder of Fyodor.
Themes
Innocence and Guilt Theme Icon
Nikolai Parfenovich then says that the next part of the investigation will be to question the witnesses. Dmitri insists that, if he had really killed his father, he wouldn’t conceal it. He also wouldn’t have waited for the authorities to collect him; he would’ve killed himself. He insists that whoever it was who opened Fyodor’s door was the one who killed and robbed him, though he doesn’t know who that is.
Dmitri’s admission that he is someone who tells the truth is valid, based on all that the reader knows, but a prosecutor would be unconvinced, of course, especially in the face of the mounds of evidence against the suspect.
Themes
Innocence and Guilt Theme Icon
Ippolit Kirillovich informs Dmitri that it was Grigory who told them that the door to the garden was open. The servant has also concluded that Dmitri must’ve run out of that door. Dmitri calls this a lie, though Grigory stands firm in his testimony. Nikolai Parfenovich then shows Dmitri the envelope with the three thousand roubles. They say that they didn’t find any money inside. Suddenly, Dmitri cries out that it was Smerdyakov who committed the murder and robbery. Dmitri asserts that he’s seeing the envelope now for the first time, though the authorities remind Dmitri that it was he who told them that the envelope was under Fyodor’s pillow. Dmitri insists that he just guessed. He says that only Smerdyakov knew where the envelope was, and only he who knew the signals; so, he must’ve killed Fyodor.
Grigory isn’t lying about seeing the garden door open, as Dmitri suspects. The old man really believes that he saw the door open. Grigory’s testimony is important because he knows Dmitri very well and, both being a loyal servant and having raised him, the authorities might consider him less likely to lie. There is also the matter of the empty envelope. Despite Dmitri’s insistence that he has never seen it before, the fact that he won’t confess about where he got the money for his spree still makes the police think that he stole three thousand roubles from his father.
Themes
Innocence and Guilt Theme Icon
Ippolit Kirillovich reminds Dmitri that there was no need to give signals if the door was already open. The prosecutor reminds him that there’s the matter of the open door, which he probably ran out of, and Dmitri’s silence regarding where he got the money. He asks Dmitri what they should believe. Dmitri finally agrees to reveal where he got the money. Nikolai Parfenovich adds that a “sincere and full confession” may “contribute towards an immeasurable alleviation” of his sentence. Before he can continue, Ippolit Kirillovich nudges him under the table so that Nikolai Parfenovich can stop himself in time.
The prosecution seems bent on pinning the murder on Dmitri. This is confirmed by the prosecutor’s nudging of Nikolai Parfenovich. The prosecutor isn’t interested in alleviating Dmitri’s sentence but in successfully prosecuting a case that is likely to gain a great deal of attention all over the country. This will secure Ippolit Kirillovich’s reputation and grant him the recognition that he covets.
Themes
Innocence and Guilt Theme Icon
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