Why Does the Author of “The Brothers Karamazov” Try to Obfuscate the Reader on Dmitri’s Innocence?
We are always looking for justice in our life, we try to keep faith in God and remain human in all our actions. The point is that people are different and very often their behavior and deeds cannot be entirely conscious and controlled due to the features of characters and the surrounding atmosphere. It means that each of us struggles to be loved, to fit in the society, be understood and accepted. Still, the world plays the violent game and presents us with the obstacles and challenges we are supposed to overcome. “The Brothers Karamazov” is the story of the big family which lost its values, respect, and love. Still, the author intends to obfuscate their actions, attempts to show the reasons for such behavior and the consequences of it.
The first point to make is to state that all the brothers seem to be the incarnations of the humankind in general. To be more precise, their lives is the constant fight for the recognition, love, and fairness but the means of this battle are various. For some of them, money is the goal, for others their personal life, for the rest the religion. The story deals with the deepest moral questions; it concerns the issues of a person’s free will and responsibility, the individual choice and identity.
One of the most interesting and complicated characters in “The Brothers Karamazov” is Dmitri Karamazov. He is the oldest Fyodor’s son from the first marriage and seems to be the personality of difficult principles, the dubious actions and at the same time good intentions. It is important to mention that during the whole story the author tries to obfuscate Dmitri’s behavior and especially his innocence. To be more specific, while reading it is difficult to see the real attitude to this hero, to say precisely whether he is protagonist or antagonist. Dmitri Karamazov is the struggle of two principles. “And he also feels a tenderness such as he has never known before urging up in his heart, he wants to weep, he wants to do something for them all, so that the wee one will no longer cry. […] And his whole heart blazed up and turned toward some sort of light, and he wanted to live and live”(Dostoyevsky). The point is that all his actions were the cause of other people’s suffering, their tragedies, and broken destinies. Moreover, Dmitri seems to feel satisfied with others’ ruined lives, he pursues his aims and frequently is ready to walk all over people. At the same time he realizes the responsibility of his deeds, he is willing to respond because is aware of his questionable character. “Forgive me, Grusha, for my love, that I’ve ruined you, too, with my love!” (Dostoyevsky). Dmitriy admits that his behavior and choices in life bring the suffering, they destroy the lives of people whom he seems to love somewhere deep in the heart.
Moreover, the reader must notice the emotional state of the main character that in many situations goes to the extremes. Mainly this unbalanced mind and inability to control one’s feelings resulted in the impossibility to avoid the closest people’s suffering. The author still tries to justify Dmitri because of his complicated character. It is not surprising since looking deeper into the hero’s life we may even sympathize with him and feel sorry(Belknap 136). One of the reasons for such attitude is that lack of father’s love which was so necessary for all the brothers and which none of them achieved. Dmitriy’s lack of father ended up in his crazy behavior and aggressiveness. “But Dmitri raised both hands and suddenly seized the old man by the two surviving wisps of hair on his temples, pulled, and smashed him against the floor” (Dostoyevsky 265). All the brothers never experienced the notions of family units and father’s responsibility that is why each of them constructed their image of the safe and dignified life. Still, Dmitriy is not guilty in having such character; he is one who tries to be human through the whole story but can not overcome the sinful nature. “Because I’m a Karamazov. Because when I fall into the abyss, I go straight into it, head down and heels up, and I’m even pleased that I’m falling in just such a humiliating position, and for me, I find it beautiful” (Dostoyevsky 389). For instance, when he promised Katerina to give money to her ill father, when the moment comes he refuses. “…and the unworthy one will disappear down his back lane – his dirty back lane, his beloved, his befitting back lane, and there, in filth and stench, will perish of his own free will, and revel in it” (Dostoyevsky 345).
Dostoevsky presents us with the image of personality who challenge the essence given him from the birth. He obfuscates Dmitri’s innocence because we can not claim he is guilty at all. The person does not choose their character but can try to change in for the better what Dmitri Karamazov struggles to do. He wanted to kill his father but altered one’s mind, perhaps he could beat to the pulp, he could freely offend somebody and betray, but he was not able to kill. “…believe God and me: I am not guilty of the blood of my father who was killed last night!”(Dostoyevsky 580).
The author does not express the particular attitude to Dmitri because he aims to make the reader define whether he is innocent or not. For that goal, Dostoevsky does not give any excuses as well the accusations. The only thing he provides us with is the difficult personality, the suspicious individual’s behavior which seems to be lost in one’s intentions. To be more precise, here we can speak about the human falling values, the inability to understand one’s nature and to choose the only way in life. “I accept punishment not because I killed him, but because I wanted to kill him, and might well have killed him…But even so I intend to fight you, and I’m letting you know it” (Dostoyevsky 592).
The story dwells upon the family who lost on their principles, values which led to the ruination of love, respect and altered it into the desire to kill and vanish. All in all, Dmitri remains one of the most controversial characters whose intentions to be kind turned out to be crucial for people he loved. Still, the Dostoyevsky proved that the human essence is unpredictable and very often we are not in charge of the consequences. The issue is to make up one’s mind whether you want to fit in the society with the moral norms and virtues, but you will kill everything individual and inherited.
Dostoyevsky, Fyodor. The Brothers Karamazov. New York, Bantam Classic, 2003.
Belknap, Robert L. “Dostoevskii, And Psychology.” Cambridge University Press., 2002, pp. 131-147.
Wiesel, Grünewald. “The Mystery Of Suffering In The Art Of Dostoevsky, Camus, Wiesel, And Grünewald.” Journal Of The American Academy Of Religion, vol 43, no. 1, 1975, pp. 51-61. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1460734.
The Brothers Karamazov is not the only book written by Fyodor Dostoevsky. On our blog, we have two more Dostoevsky essays dedicated to the book The Idiot and Crime and Punishment. Read all three of them and get higher grades for your own writings!