The Brothers Karamazov

The Brothers Karamazov

by

Fyodor Dostoevsky

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The Brothers Karamazov: Part 3: Book 9, Chapter 8 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
During the interrogation of the witnesses, the investigators focus all of their attention on the three thousand roubles and whether Dmitri had three thousand or fifteen hundred during his first party in Mokroye, a month ago, and whether it was three thousand or fifteen hundred that he had yesterday. Trifon Borisich is the first to be questioned. He testifies firmly and “without hesitation” that it was three thousand that Dmitri spent a month ago and that Dmitri himself claimed to have the sum. In response, Dmitri said that he probably had no more than five hundred but never counted. As for yesterday’s amount, Trifon Borisich says that Dmitri announced, as soon as he dismounted from his carriage, that he had three thousand. He also says that Dmitri declared that he’d spent six thousand altogether at the inn. Dmitri denies this. The peasants who were present the night before also back Trifon Borisich’s testimony.
Trifon Borisich is a witness who works against Dmitri. This isn’t just because he, like Grigory, is fixed on asserting his certainty about things. It’s also because he seems to quietly dislike Dmitri and only engages with him because Dmitri is good for business. Trifon Borisich is an untrustworthy and duplicitous character, which makes him an untrustworthy witness. He lies about Dmitri dismounting from his carriage and announcing how much money he had. It’s possible that the innkeeper assumed that Dmitri had three thousand again, just like the month before, because he ordered many of the same things the second time as he did during his first visit.
Themes
Innocence and Guilt Theme Icon
Next, Pyotr Fomich Kalganov arrives. He admits that he, too, heard about the six thousand. However, he didn’t really know how much money Dmitri had. He also testifies that the panie had cheated at cards. Once they were banished, Dmitri’s relations with Grushenka improved. From Pyotr Fomich, they learn the details of Dmitri’s “romance.”
The six thousand roubles is a matter of legend, further indicating that people experience things differently and develop their own versions of the truth.
Themes
Innocence and Guilt Theme Icon
After this, the panie are interrogated. They say that they went to their room but didn’t sleep all night. Pan Mussyalovich, Grushenka’s ex-fiancé, refers to Dmitri as “a scoundrel.” He also tells them about Dmitri’s attempt to bribe the man to go away. Pan Mussyalovich recalls that Dmitri said that the remainder of the three thousand roubles he would give were in his town. Ippolit Kirillovich thinks that some of the money may have been in town, or even in Mokroye, which explains why only eight hundred were found on Dmitri. This is the only evidence, so far, that works out in Dmitri’s favor.
It's possible that the Polish officers’ sleeplessness was related to their inability to get the money they wanted out of Grushenka. With their testimony, they hope to malign and dishonor Dmitri. However, they also end up telling the authorities something that works in Dmitri’s favor because, if some of the money is in town, then that would indicate that Dmitri didn’t take three thousand roubles from his father.
Themes
Innocence and Guilt Theme Icon
Then, Maximov is called in. He decisively testifies that, when he borrowed ten roubles from Dmitri, he saw twenty thousand appear in Dmitri’s hands. Nikolai Parfenovich wonders if Maximov has ever seen twenty thousand roubles before. They then dismiss him and bring in Grushenka. The investigators worry about the effect her appearance with have on Dmitri, but he assures them that “there would be no disturbance.” They ask what her relations have been with Dmitri. She says that, for the past month, they’ve been acquaintances. She liked him but had not been in love with him and was only tempting him with her “vile wickedness.” She didn’t really care that much for him or Fyodor, she admits.
As the testimonies continue, the legend of the money becomes increasingly fanciful. Three thousand roubles inflates to six thousand and now, humorously, to ten thousand. Maximov is a poor man who covets the elevated status he once had as a landowner (assuming his stories about that are true). Therefore, it’s easy for him to enter a state of wonder at the sight of many bills, envisioning more money than there actually is. In Grushenka’s testimony, she is self-condemnatory. Her language increasingly reflects her growing sense of martyrdom.
Themes
Innocence and Guilt Theme Icon
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Nikolai Parfenovich asks her if three thousand roubles were spent in Mokroye last month, and she confirms that they were. However, she claims that she only heard Dmitri tell others about the sum. She confirms, too, that she heard him mention the number many times. Ippolit Kirillovich is very pleased to hear this evidence. She also says that she knew the money came from Katerina Ivanovna.
The prosecutor is pleased because Grushenka’s testimony is key. She is honest about what she knows and clear that she was already aware of Dmitri’s betrayal of Katerina Ivanovna. The commonness of this knowledge makes one wonder why Dmitri tried so hard to hide it.
Themes
Innocence and Guilt Theme Icon
Nikolai Parfenovich then asks if Dmitri ever mentioned a wish to kill his father. Grushenka exclaims that he has, “several times, always in a fit of anger.” She never believed, though, that he’d do it. She trusted too much in Dmitri’s nobility. Dmitri requests a word with Grushenka in the authorities’ presence, and they grant it. He declares that he’s not guilty of murdering his father. In regard to yesterday’s money, she says she doesn’t know how much Dmitri had. He also had not “stolen” yesterday’s money from Katerina Ivanovna. Grushenka is then dismissed.
Grushenka correctly assesses Dmitri’s character. He did, indeed, snatch the pestle with the intention of killing his father, but then decided against it. This indicates that he is too decent to commit parricide, even in a fit of rage. Dmitri dissipates himself in drink and is careless with money, but she asserts that he does have a moral code. For this reason, she also doesn’t believe that he stole anything from Katerina Ivanovna.
Themes
Innocence and Guilt Theme Icon
Jealousy and Envy Theme Icon