In Dostoevsky’s novel “The Brothers Karamazov” Dostoevsky deals with numerous aspects of life. More importantly, the novel allows a glimpse into the mind of man and its response to the influence of good and evil in the form of death. The characters dismiss the reality of death in some way, and only those who can accept the suffering find justification. In addition to the theme of death, the novel acts as an autobiography of Dostoevsky, expounding his diverse beliefs and values. His ability to explain a character’s thought process at certain moments helps the reader understand on that person's beliefs better than if he presented himself only through dialogue or description.
The first character that embodies Dostoevsky's mind and soul enters in the form of Ivan Karamazov. Ivan is a cold intellectual who finds pride in his literary work and his creative ability. Throughout the novel, Ivan struggles with the ideas of belief and immortality. He displays his beliefs largely through the prose poem, “The Grand Inquisitor.” In the poem, Ivan explains, “the beliefs of the weakness of man, and how man could not possibly withstand the pressures instilled upon them by Jesus Christ” (235). Ivan believes man lacks so much faith, that he searches for it through miracles instead of seeking faith by alleviating the suffering in the world. Ivan and Dostoevsky could not possibly believe that this world created by God could contain so much suffering, especially that of innocent children, and thus the evil of the world forces him question his own existence. As the poem progresses, Ivan finally resolves that God does exist. He believes this only because “man could not have been as mentally and spiritually gifted enough to create a God themselves” (241). Throughout this poem, Ivan attacks the Roman Catholic Church, which depends largely upon miracles to prove their power. The inability of the church to see the world in a realistic instead of a superhuman sense bothers, and he...
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