The Grand Inquisitor

Topics: The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Analects Pages: 5 (1933 words) Published: May 2, 2013
A force of justice
The story of the Grand Inquisitor makes an impression on the reader by its depth and importance. Leading ideas are described in a simple language, but every point carries essential meaning. The story of horrible inquisition era still makes the audience be astonished and amazed by cruelty of those times. There are many issues hidden in the chapter. The story of pursuing God slowly transforms to the confession of the Inquisitor. This confession turns to a strong discussion. It can be interpreted not only as a speech of a religious person, but also as a cry of those left without explanation of unanswered questions of faith. The chapter takes the concept of freedom and love under consideration: It says nothing is more insufferable for humanity than freedom which leads to chaos and social disorder.

Why are justice and happiness considered to be virtues? What forms do they have in terms of society and individual? Can they be measured somehow? These concepts make generations to be lost in thought. Philosophers, poets, and inventors were challenging themselves by trying to find an answer to a question: “What forces make humanity just and happy?” The same portion of curiosity has affected great thinkers during different periods of time all over the globe like Confucius, Plato, and other writers. For the sake of giving people their perspectives on mentioned dilemmas, Plato and Confucius dedicated many years to create famous masterpiece works – The Republic and The Analects. Both Plato in his Republic and Confucius in his Analects are looking for the force that would make people just and happy. In The Analects, Confucius unceasingly repeats the idea about the importance of following the moral code and benevolent way of conduct in the form of respecting the rites. He presents a concept of a Gentleman: A one achieving happiness and discovering justice through practicing the rites. He insisted on respecting the rites and traditions in order to reach goodness – the way of a Gentleman. Thus, he thought justice comes along with morality and respect. Plato was searching for an ideal society in his work: Establishing justice was considered as one of the first steps of establishing his Republic. He dedicated many years to give a full description of his ideal city state. There, people find happiness and justice when every citizen is sorted in his/her personal position within the society (the Auxiliaries, the Guardians, and Producing Class) and has a certain function. Both writers and Dostoevsky insisted on restrictions – the tool to make the public happy and just. Confucius bordered his disciples with the way of behavior, saying what was wrong and what was right for a gentleman. Plato was openly saying that society should be ruled by a benevolent authority with a right to determine its destiny. Dostoevsky viewed freedom as a disaster for a human’s nature as a whole. By introducing the word “happy” they meant ones’ conditions of total fulfillment of desires and needs. By the word “just” they meant society’s capacity of distributing happiness fairly among its members. Therefore, to be happy and just, society must have restrictions. In the case of the ideal society: the Philosopher-King was the restriction – an absolute ruler with the right to manage citizens’ freedom. In the case of Analects – the rites were viewed to be a controller of society’s appetite. In “The Grand Inquisitor” the Inquisitor himself was insisting on restrictions. The Grand Inquisitor’s perception of justice and goodness has its best embodiment in the monologue with Jesus Christ about freedom. He was sure that his actions were virtuous; he thought that he sacrificed himself for the sake of others. His justice was confined in belief that freedom was a torture for people and he decided to “suffer freedom.” The Inquisitor told Jesus, “But we shall say that we are obedient to you and rule in your name. We shall deceive them again, for this time we shall not...

Bibliography: 1. Fyodor Dostoevsky, “The Great Inquisitor” in Brothers Karamazov, trans. Richard Peaver and Larissa Volokhonsky. (New York, 2002), p. 254
2. D.C. Lau, trans., Confucius The Analects (Lun Yu) (Penguin Books, 1979 p.)
3. Sir Desmond Lee, trans., Plato’s The Republic (Penguin Group, 2007 ed.)

[ 2 ]. Fyodor Dostoevsky, “The Grand Inquisitor” in Brothers Karamazov, trans. Richard Peaver and Larissa Volokhonsky. (New York, 2002), p. 253.
[ 3 ]. Fyodor Dostoevsky, “The Great Inquisitor” in Brothers Karamazov, trans. Richard Peaver and Larissa Volokhonsky. (New York, 2002), p. 254.
[ 4 ]. Fyodor Dostoevsky, “The Great Inquisitor” in Brothers Karamazov, trans. Richard Peaver and Larissa Volokhonsky. (New York, 2002), p. 250
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