The Brothers Karamazov

The Brothers Karamazov


Fyodor Dostoevsky

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The Brothers Karamazov: Part 4: Book 12, Chapter 9 Summary & Analysis

Ippolit Kirillovich describes Dmitri as someone who always lives in the present. The prosecutor says that Dmitri ran back to get his pistols because he believed that “all paths were closed to him by his crime.” The prosecutor accuses Dmitri of “romantic frenzy,” of believing that Grushenka would see how much he loved her and feel sorry for him. The prosecutor then wonders why Dmitri didn’t shoot himself. He concludes that his “passionate thirst” for Grushenka made him forget his fear of being arrested.
The prosecutor is saying that Dmitri lacks foresight. Like a child—or an “insect” sensualist—he can only focus on his basic needs, sometimes at the expense of others. Grushenka is the only thing in his life that causes him to think about the future and to hope for more beyond his spending sprees and bouts of drunkenness.
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Dmitri, Ippolit Kirillovich says, only considered himself guilty for the supposed murder of Grigory. The prosecutor claims that this was merely an act of sincerity to win over the authorities’ confidence. The prosecutor returns to the matter of the amulet, which no one has found. Dmitri claimed that he made it by tearing a patch out of one of his shirts, but the authorities never found this shirt with a piece torn from it. Moving on to his concluding remarks, the prosecutor reminds the jury that all of Europe awaits to ensure that the Russian people don’t provide a verdict that justifies parricide. Everyone is impressed with the prosecutor’s speech. Some say that, whatever Fetyukovich might say, his argument won’t get around their peasants.
The prosecutor makes a strong case against Dmitri, presenting the faults in all of the supposed evidence that would support his claim of innocence. The prosecutor erodes confidence in Dmitri and then goes on to say that the jury, if it acquits him, may as well lose confidence in the nation’s sound future. Kirillovich contextualizes the Karamazov case, which does incorporate some of the dilemmas of modern society, within Russia’s uncertain fate. In this case of (what seems to be) the corrupting effects of modernization and Westernization, the public places their faith in the moral fortitude and common sense of Russia’s peasants.
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