The Brothers Karamazov

The Brothers Karamazov


Fyodor Dostoevsky

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The Brothers Karamazov: Part 4: Book 12, Chapter 11 Summary & Analysis

The most striking thing in Fetyukovich’s speech is his “complete denial” of the three thousand roubles. He expresses uncertainty that the money ever existed. People knew about the money but never saw it. If, as Smerdyakov claimed, the money was under the mattress, how would the defendant have pulled it out without messing up the bed at all? He then addresses the envelope on the floor—but, he asks, does anyone know that it contained money? If the envelope lying on the floor is asserted as evidence, the defense will simply assert it as the opposite.
Fetyukovich paints the money as a matter of legend—indeed, it is. The witnesses gave some credence to this when no one could express, with certainty, exactly how much money Dmitri had in Mokroye. Similarly, Kirillovich offered the possibility that the amulet Dmitri claims he wore never existed. Fetyukovich uses the same trick, and thus reveals it as a trick.
Innocence and Guilt Theme Icon
In regard to the fifteen hundred roubles, Dmitri has been firm regarding where he got the money—from Miss Verkhovtsev (Katerina Ivanovna). Fetyukovich then says that Katerina’s second testimony may, in fact, be the incorrect one. It’s possible, he says, that “a vengeful woman” may exaggerate some things. The prosecutor rejects the accusation of robbery “with indignation,” for there can be no such accusation if it’s “impossible” to indicate what exactly has been taken. Then, there’s the question as to whether Dmitri killed his father without robbing him. This hasn’t been proven either.
Fetyukovich presents Dmitri as credible while asserting that Katerina Ivanovna is a fickle and unreliable witness—which, given her performance in court, is not altogether untrue. However, Fetyukovich also paints Katerina Ivanovna within the sexist stereotype of a scorned woman trying to get back at the man who left her. This shifts guilt away from Dmitri and on to her.
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Jealousy and Envy Theme Icon