The Grand Inquisitor

Topics: Inquisition, The Brothers Karamazov, Roman Catholic Church Pages: 3 (971 words) Published: April 3, 2005
The Grand Inquisitor
The Grand Inquisitor reflects Fyodor Dostoevsky interest in religious and political issues. Dostoevsky uses the voices of his characters to express his views on the legitimacy of the Roman Catholic Church and role of religion in society. The story centers around the conflict between the Grand Inquisitor and Jesus. Jesus returns to Earth during the Spanish Inquisition, when in which Jews and Muslims were forced to convert to Christianity and were murdered if not devoted in their belief. The Grand Inquisitor examines the relationship between man and Christ through a unique narrative style that adds various depths of meaning to the story. To begin with, the most striking feature of this work is that it is a story within a story. The Grand Inquisitor is part of the novel entitled The Brother's Karamazov, in which Dostoevsky has already introduced the two brothers, Alyosha and Ivan. In The Grand Inquisitor, however, Ivan is the author of the legend of the Grand Inquisitor, a story poem that he is telling to Alyosha. Through this type of writing, Dostoevsky has created multiple levels of narration, which is truly remarkable. In the first few lines of the story, for example, we are uncertain as to who is the narrator, "God our Lord, reveal thyself to us', for so many centuries they had calling out to him, that in his immeasurable compassion desired to descend to these who were pleading… he had descended even before then, he had visited some righteous men, martyrs, and holy hermits while they were still on earth, as is written in their lives." The narrator explains his role and reveals himself in the next few lines, "my action is set in Spain, in Serville, in the most horrible time of the Inquisition, when fires blazed everyday to the glory of God…" Once the Inquisitor begins to speak, his words take up the majority of the story, thus leaving little room for any other comments. In fact, when Alyosha asks Ivan a question, Ivan dismisses the...
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