The Brothers Karamazov

The Brothers Karamazov

by

Fyodor Dostoevsky

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The Brothers Karamazov: Part 3: Book 9, Chapter 7 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Dmitri asserts that the money was his. He also says that it amounted to fifteen hundred. He had sewn it up in a rag and hung it around his neck. He carried it with him for a long time, “with shame and disgrace.” In his view, he stole it from Katerina Ivanovna, who entrusted him with the three thousand roubles “to send to her sister and some other relative in Moscow.” Around that time, he fell in love with Grushenka and took her two Mokroye. In two days, he “squandered half of that cursed three thousand” and kept the other half, but then spent much of it the day before.
Dmitri carried the amulet as though it were a stigma of his shame. Earlier, he gets offended by the strip search, as it made him feel like a common thief, though he does regard himself as such due to his guilt over taking money from Katerina Ivanovna. Really, Dmitri’s sense of guilt has less to do with the money and more with how the money indicates his disregard and lack of love for his fiancée.
Themes
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Nikolai Parfenovich mentions how Dmitri told everyone that he squandered three thousand roubles during his first spree in Mokroye. Dmitri says it was only fifteen hundred. Ippolit Kirillovich asks if there’s anyone else who would know about this circumstance. Dmitri says that he didn’t tell anyone. The prosecutor wonders why he kept it such a secret because many people have already guessed that Dmitri took money from Miss Verkhovtsev. It’s common gossip. It’s incredible that Dmitri has expressed a preference for penal servitude over confessing his well-known secret. The prosecutor asks Dmitri why he set aside half of the money that Katerina Ivanovna gave him.
In this instance, Dmitri’s penchant for bragging works against him. He inflated the amount of money he had to seem more impressive. The fact that he told everyone, including the innkeeper Trifon Borisich, that he had three thousand roubles, makes it more difficult to believe what he says now. It does speak to Dmitri’s honor, however, that he would rather go to prison than tell anyone about how he humiliated Katerina.
Themes
Innocence and Guilt Theme Icon
Dmitri says that he intended to go to Katerina Ivanovna and admit that he’s a “dishonest” and “cowardly” man but still not a thief. With that, he could return the other half to her. Ippolit Kirillovich fails to see this as “a fatal difference,” but Dmitri thinks that it is, because, if he could always decide to give it back, that meant that he wasn’t “a scoundrel.” The prosecutor asks why Dmitri separated fifteen hundred from the sum he took from Katerina. Dmitri apologizes for “tormenting” them by not “explaining the main thing.” He says that he was thinking about Grushenka one day wanting to be with him. Well, he would have to prove to her that he wasn’t poor. Dmitri says that what ended up tormenting him the most was, not that he may have killed Grigory, but that he spent the money in his amulet.
Dmitri communicates that he always had the intention of paying Katerina Ivanovna back. He imagines that the authorities were as “tormented” in their effort to learn the truth as he was to withhold it. The authorities, of course, are not tormented but merely want to know as much as possible to ensure that they have a strong case against Dmitri. Dmitri is honest about having less remorse for his treatment of Grigory than for his treatment of Katerina. He is, therefore, less ashamed of being a murderer than he is of being a thief, due to thievery being, to him, a baser and more common crime (and also probably because Grigory is lower-class and Katerina is nobility).
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Suffering Theme Icon
Ippolit Kirillovich expresses sympathy for Dmitri. Then, he asks why he couldn’t have just asked Katerina Ivanovna for the money for his expenses. Surely, with “her generous heart” and the securities he was willing to offer to Samsonov and Madame Khokhlakov, she would’ve given him the three thousand roubles. Dmitri says that such a thing would be “base.” Nikolai Parfenovich reminds him that, “until the very last hour,” Dmitri still considered going to Miss Verkhovtsev for the money. Dmitri begs them to leave that out of his testimony. He covers his face in despair.
The prosecutor doesn’t understand that, though Katerina Ivanovna would’ve given Dmitri the money—and, given her need to suffer to feel noble, would have gladly done so—he couldn’t bring himself to demand money from a woman he had already betrayed. Indeed, such a request would be base and would make Dmitri seem even more callous. His sense of honor is what allows the reader to maintain some sympathy for him, though it also helps to condemn him in the eyes of the authorities.
Themes
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Suffering Theme Icon
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Ippolit Kirillovich asks Dmitri if the amulet he wore was very big. Dmitri says it wasn’t. He tore it off of his neck after he left Fenya’s and was heading to see Pyotr Ilyich Perkhotin. He thinks he left it in the town square. He sewed it using a piece of linen from his landlady’s bonnet. When they ask where Dmitri got the needle and thread, he shouts that he won’t go on. He bends his head and covers his face with his hands. He reminds them that Grushenka is guilty of nothing and asks what they’ll do with her. The prosecutor says that they have no need to trouble her. He thanks them. Before they begin interrogating the witnesses, Nikolai Parfenovich suggests that they break for tea.
The authorities’ questions about tiny details annoy Dmitri, since it’s highly unlikely that the source of Dmitri’s needle and thread are relevant to the case. Dmitri is more interested in Grushenka’s well-being than he is in his own. He worries that she may suffer for his wrongdoings. Once again he maintains a strict sense of honor, particularly when it comes to women and keeping them from shame.
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