The Brothers Karamazov

The Brothers Karamazov

by

Fyodor Dostoevsky

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

Summary
Analysis
Fetyukovich then expresses uncertainty that the pestle “is a proof of arming and premeditating.” He admits that Dmitri shouted in the taverns about killing his father. However, that’s common, idle talk, he says.
It is true that people threaten to kill others all the time without actually doing it. This is the idle talk to which Fetyukovich refers.
Themes
Innocence and Guilt Theme Icon
Fetyukovich recalls that Dmitri testified at the investigation that, once he was convinced that Grushenka wasn’t at his father’s house, he ran away. In regard to the open door, only Grigory, who wasn’t in any condition to know for sure, testified to it being open. That night in Mokroye, however, the defendant suffered over Grigory, believing he had killed him. Indeed, Dmitri wanted to kill himself because of it. Why should this interpretation of events be deemed unacceptable?
It would make sense for Dmitri to leave his father’s house after realizing that Grushenka wasn’t there. That night, every move he made was in pursuit of her. His only interest in finding Fyodor was to see if Grushenka was with him. Dmitri did indeed suffer tremendous guilt over Grigory, which seems like further proof that he didn’t kill his father.
Themes
Innocence and Guilt Theme Icon
Suffering Theme Icon
So, who killed Fyodor Karamazov? Fetyukovich admits that Ivan Karamazov is ill. Still, he uttered Smerdyakov’s name, and the prosecutor doesn’t think that the lackey should be dismissed as a suspect. The prosecutor says that he met with Smerdyakov and, though he was ill, he found no “timidity” or “guilelessness” in him. Instead, he was spiteful, ambitious, and “burning with envy.” He also hated Russia and dreamed of remaking himself as a Frenchman. Fetyukovich says that Smerdyakov admitted that he helped Fyodor “put the money in the envelope.” The sum, which could’ve helped the lackey start a new life, was a point of rage.
This slightly contradicts Fetyukovich’s earlier argument that nothing at all may have existed in the abandoned envelope, as he gives multiple options that all absolve Dmitri of guilt. Fetyukovich pushes the idea of Smerdyakov as an angry, disenfranchised man of talent, unable to change his fate and contemptuous of a country that condemned him to it. This is a more accurate portrait than the one Ippolit Kirillovich presented.
Themes
Innocence and Guilt Theme Icon
Jealousy and Envy Theme Icon
Suffering Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Related Quotes
Fetyukovich encourages the jury to find the error in his account. However, if there is “at least a shadow of possibility,” the jury should withhold its sentence. He insists that there’s more than a “shadow.” He encourages the jury to be “sincere.” Here, the defense attorney’s speech is interrupted by loud applause. Fetyukovich then continues.
Fetyukovich provides many hypotheses with the purpose of getting the jury to doubt that Dmitri committed murder. However, he also offers that, even if Dmitri committed murder, there’s no proof he committed robbery. It’s a far less linear argument than Kirillovich’s, which arguably makes it less successful.
Themes
Innocence and Guilt Theme Icon
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