Fedor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky took his final years to offer a philosophical synthesis, it presents, with Brother Karamazov, in the form of an array of Russia of XIX century. Does God exist ? And yes is he necessary for morality? Is the man with a free will allowing him to choose, with full knowledge of causes, between good and evil? Can the faith resist the doubt? Does faith oppose the reason? Is it God who created men or vice versa? Here are some of the many questions posed by Dostoyevsky in one last drama.

Man has invented God in order to live without killing. Dostoyevsky


I read for you The  Karamazov Brothers (1880) Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky

The story is built around the character of Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov, a perverse man, violent, which had

  • a son Dmitri , from a first wife died following the torments imposed upon by her unbearable husband;
  • two other sons, Ivan and Alexey, from a second marriage;
  • and a fourth, Smerdyakov, the result of an illegitimate affair.

Besides being drunk, Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov is a bad father, preferring to let others the task of raising children. He had also practically forgotten his sons and the brothers seem to barely know each other.

The meeting of father and son

The novel presents the meeting of the three legitimate son and their father, each with a reason to knock on his father’s door:

  • Dmitri , a former soldier, raver, libertine, obsessed with women and money, only rained a penny and count on the maternal inheritance to pay off his debts; but his father did not intend to give him the money so easily;
  • Yvan , the nihilistic intellectual, has, it seems, heart problems and also problems with God; it is the lawyer of a disenchanted world where the Creator would not have its place: God does not exist and the world is meaningless (as noted by Sade in another register);
  • Alexei , however, is a man of faith. He embodies the Orthodox Christian (in dogma). He hopes to meet the holy man paternal village: the Staretz Sozime.

For Dmitri and his father, Staretz seems to indicate to the problem of inheritance. But Fyodor Pavlovich has in fact no intention to satisfy his exasperated son: « Why such a man does it exist? « Dostoevsky addresses the question of the incomprehensible existence of evil in a world created by an infinitely good. This question is recurrent since Augustine (IVth century), which fixed the problem by postulating:

  • the existence of free will (God created man and endowed with the power to choose freely between good and evil);
  • Original Sin (the evil that tempted Eve and is transmitted from one generation to the sinners).

Free will without which no one can live well, you have to recognize and it is good, and it is a gift of God, and that we must condemn those who misuse it this rather than saying to one who gave it should not have to give it. St. Augustine and free will.

Besides the issue of money, father and son tear around a woman, Grushenka they are both in love.

The dispute between the two men becomes a real confrontation between the two men equally violent. It seems clear that at the end of it will remain that: parricide seems a very likely outcome.

If God exists, then why evil?

The guarantor of morality, Staretz Sosime dies. The monks are then left with the corpse, covered with muches, which gives off a stench! How God’s representative on earth can it stink so? Was it finally so holy? Alexei even begins to doubt. Voltaire in Candide had developed the theme at will Candide finds the sandstone of his travels that the earth is rotten by crime, blind violence of nature. But he is reassured by Pangloss (who plays Leibniz which Voltaire mocked): The world you see is the best of all possible worlds.

What is surprising is not that God exists in reality, but that the idea of the need of God came to mind of a savage and vicious animal like man, so it is holy, touching, wise, as it honors the man. Dostoevsky

the parricide

Dostoevsky ad Freud: because the idea of parricide is long buried in the head of the poor Dmitri. Dmitri always wanted to « kill the father »: « What man does not want the death of his father? « Freud says in The Brothers Karamazov: » the most impressive we have ever written novel.  »

The trial

Dmitri is of course the obvious culprit. But who is the real culprit? Am I a bastard if I kill a bastard?

If the judge was right, maybe the criminal would not be guilty. Dostoevsky

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