Quotes: The Brothers Karamazov
As promised in a recent post, if the bug bit me all timelines would be cast into the abyss. Well! The bug has bit and I have no intention of posting any of my own work until it is finished...which could be into 2022. It is going to be long...
But, I did have these quotes saved on a Google doc. I'm sure there are typos. Apologies. If you read this and find some you can let me know where they are and I'll fix them.
Without further delay, these are quotes I circled from my second reading of the book (Pevear/Volokhonsky translation).
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Karamazov Quotes (Volokhonsky and Pevear translation)
“Exactly three months after Sofia Ivanovna’s death, the general’s widow suddenly appeared in person in our town, right at Fyodor Pavlovich’s house. She spent only about half an hour in our little town, but she accomplished a great deal. It was evening. Fyodor Pavlovich, whom she had not seen for all those eight years, was tipsy when he came out to her. They say that the moment she saw him, without any explanations, she at once delivered him two good, resounding slaps and jerked him three times by his forelock; then, without adding a word, she made straight for the cottage and the two boys. Seeing at a glance that they were unwashed and in dirty shirts, she gave one more slap to Grigory himself and announced to him that she was taking both children home with her, then carried them outside just as they were, wrapped them in plaid, put them in the carriage, and took them to her own town. Grigory bore his slap like a devoted slave, without a word of abuse, and while helping the old lady to her carriage, he bowed low and said imposingly that ‘God would reward her for the orphans.’ ‘And you are a lout all the same!’ the general’s widow shouted as she drove away. Fyodor Pavlovich, thinking the whole thing over, found that it was a good thing, and in a formal agreement regarding his children’s education by the general’s widow did not afterwards object to any point. As for the slaps he had gotten, he drove all over town telling the story himself.”
“....Incidentally, I have already mentioned that although he lost his mother in his fourth year, he remembered her afterwards all his life, her face, her caresses, “as if she were standing alive before me.” Such memories can be remembered (everyone knows this) even from an earlier age, even from the age of two, but they only emerge throughout one’s life as socks of light, as it were, against the darkness, as a corner torn from a huge picture, which has all faded and disappeared except for that little corner. That is exactly how it was with him: he remembered a quiet summer evening, an open window, the slanting rays of the setting sun (these slanting rays he remembered most of all), an icon in the corner of the room, a lighted oil-lamp in front of it, and before the icon, on her knees, his mother, sobbing as if in hysterics, with shrieks and cries, seizing him in her arms, hugging him so tightly that it hurt, and pleading for him to the Mother of God, holding him out from her embrace with both arms towards the icon, as if under the protection of the Mother of God...and suddenly a nurse rushes in and snatches him from her in fear. What a picture! Alyosha remembered his mother’s face, too, at that moment: he used to say that it was frenzied, but beautiful, as far as he could remember.”
“In his childhood and youth he was not very effusive, not even very talkative, not from mistrust, not from shyness or sullen unsociability, but even quite the contrary, from something different, from some inner preoccupation, as it were, strictly personal, of no concern to others, but so important for him that because of it he would, as it were, forget others. But he did love people; he lived all his life, it seemed, with complete faith in people, and yet no one ever considered him either naive or a simpleton. There was something in him that told one, that convinced one (and it was so all his life afterwards) that he did not want to be a judge of men, that he would not take judgement upon himself and would not condemn anyone for anything. It seemed, even, that he accepted everything without the least condemnation, though often with deep sadness. Moreover, in this sense he even went so far that no one could either surprise or frighten him, and this even in his very early youth.”
“‘....Above all, do not lie to yourself. A man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point where he does not discern any truth either in himself or anywhere around him, and thus falls into disrespect towards himself and others. Not respecting anyone, he ceases to love, and having no love, he gives himself up to passions and coarse pleasures, in order to occupy and amuse himself, and in his vices reaches complete bestiality, and it all comes from lying continually to others and to himself. A man who lies to himself is often the first to take offense. It sometimes feels very good to take offense, doesn’t it? And surely he knows that no one has offended him, and that he himself has invented the offense and told lies just for the beauty of it, that he has exaggerated for the sake of effect, that he has picked on a word and made a mountain out of a pea--he knows all of that, and still he is the first to take offense, he likes feeling offended, it gives him great pleasure, and thus he reaches the point of real hostility...Do get up from your knees and sit down, I beg you, these posturings are false, too…’”
“....A ‘shrieker’ was pulled up to him by both hands. She no sooner saw the elder than she suddenly began somehow absurdly screeching, hiccuping, and shaking all over as if in convulsions. The elder, having covered her head with the stole, read a short prayer over her, and she at once became quiet and calmed down. I do not know how it is now, but in my childhood I often used to see and hear these ‘shriekers’ in villages and monasteries. Taken to the Sunday liturgy, they would screech or bark like dogs so that the whole church could hear, but when the chalice was brought out, and they were led up to the chalice, the ‘demonic possession’ would immediately cease and the sick ones would always calm down for a time. As a child, I was greatly struck and astonished by this. And it was then that I heard from some landowners and especially from my town teachers, in answer to my questions, that it was all a pretense in order to avoid work, and that it could always be eradicated by the proper severity, which they confirmed by telling various stories. But later on I was surprised to learn from medical experts that there is no pretense in it, that it is a terrible woman’s disease that seems to occur predominantly in our Russia, that it is a testimony to the hard lot of our peasant women, caused by exhausting work too soon after difficult, improper birthgiving without any medical help, and, besides that, by desperate grief, beatings, and so on, which the nature of many women, after all, as the general examples show, cannot endure. This strange and instant healing of the frenzied and struggling woman the moment she was brought to the chalice and, above all, the sick woman herself, fully believed, as an unquestionable truth, that the unclean spirit that possessed the sick woman could not possibly endure if she, the sick woman, were brought to the chalice and made to bow before it. And therefore, in a nervous and certainly also mentally ill woman, there always occurred (and had to occur), at the moment of her bowing before the chalice an inevitable shock, as it were, to their whole body, a shock provoked by expectation of the inevitable miracle of healing and by the most complete faith that it would occur. And it would occur, even if only for a moment. That is just what happened now, as soon as the elder covered the woman with his stole.”
“Is it true what you say? Well, now, after such a confession from you, I believe that you are sincere and good at heart. If you do not attain happiness, always remember that you are on a good path, and try not to leave it. Above all, avoid lies, all lies, especially the lie to yourself. Keep watch on your own lie and examine it every hour, every minute. And avoid contempt, both of others and of yourself: what seems bad to you in yourself is purified by the very fact that you have noticed it in yourself. And avoid fear, though fear is simply the consequence of every lie. Never be frightened at your own faintheartedness in attaining love, and meanwhile do not even be very frightened by your own bad acts. I am sorry that I cannot say anything more comforting, for active love is a harsh and fearful thing compared with love in dreams. Love in dreams thirst for immediate action, quickly performed, and with everyone watching. Indeed, it will go as far as the giving even of one’s lie, provided it does not take long but is soon over, as on stage, and everyone is looking on and praising. Whereas active love is labor and perseverance, and for some people, perhaps, a whole science. But I predict that even in that very moment when you see with horror that despite all your efforts, you not only have not come nearer your goal but seem to have gotten farther from it, at that very moment--I predict this to you--you will suddenly reach your goal and will clearly behold over you the wonder-working power of the Lord, who all the while has been loving you, and all the while has been mysteriously guiding you. Forgive me for not being able to stay with you longer, but I am expected. Good-bye.”
“‘Can it be that you really hold this conviction about the consequences of the exhaustion of men’s faith in the immortality of their souls?’ the elder suddenly asked Ivan Fyodorovich.
‘Yes, it was my contention. There is no virtue if there is no immortality.’
‘You are blessed if you believe so, or else most unhappy!’
‘Why unhappy?’ Ivan Fyodorovich smiled.
‘Because in all likelihood you yourself do not believe either in the immortality of your soul or even in what you have written about the Church and the Church question.’
‘Maybe you’re right…! But still, I wasn’t quite joking either…,’ Ivan Fyodorovich suddenly and strangely confessed--by the way, with a quick blush.
‘You weren’t quite joking, that is true. This idea is not yet resolved in your heart and torments it. But a martyr, too, sometimes likes to toy with his despair, also from despair, as it were. For the time being you, too, are toying, out of despair, with your magazine articles and drawing-room discussions, without believing in your own dialectics and smirking at them with your heart aching inside you...The question is not resolved in you, and there lies your great grief, for it urgently demands resolution…’”
“Old liars who have been play-acting all their lives have moments when they get so carried away by their posing that they indeed tremble and weep from excitement, even though at that same moment (or just a second later) they might whisper to themselves: ‘You’re lying, you shameless old man, you’re acting even now, despite all your ‘holy’ wrath and ‘holy’ moment of wrath.’”
“....His innermost feeling at that moment might be expressed in the following words: ‘There is no way to rehabilitate myself now, so why don’t I just spit all over them without any shame; tell them, ‘You’ll never make me ashamed, and that’s that!’’”
“‘Only you, and also one other, a ‘low woman’ I’ve fallen in love with and it was the end of me. But to fall in love does not mean to love. One can fall in love and still hate. Remember that! I say it now while there’s still joy in it.’”
“‘There’s just one thing: how can I make a compact with the earth evermore? I don’t kiss the earth, I don’t tear open her bosom; what should I do, become a peasant or a shepherd? I keep going, and I don’t know: have I gotten into stench and shame, or into light and joy? That’s the whole trouble, because everything on earth is a riddle. And whenever I happened to sink into the deepest, the very deepest shame of depravity (and that’s all I ever happened to do), I always read that poem about Ceres and man. Did it set me right? Never! 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. And so in that very shame I suddenly begin a hymn. Let me be cursed, let me be base and vile, but let me also kiss the hem of that garment in which my God is clothed; let me be following the devil at the same time, but still I am also your son, Lord, and I love you, and I feel a joy without which the world cannot stand and be.
Joy is the mainspring of the whole
Of endless Nature’s calm rotation;
Joy moves the dazzling wheels that roll
Within the great heart of creation;
Joy breathes on buds, and flowers they are;
Joy beckons, suns come forth from heaven;
Joy moves the spheres in realms afar,
Ne’er to thy glass, dim wisdom, given!
All being drinks the mother-dew
Of joy from Nature’s holy bosom;
And good and evil both pursue
Her steps that strew the rose’s blossom.
The brimming cup, love’s loyalty
Joy gives to us; beneath the sod,
In heaven the cherub looks on God!
‘But enough poetry! I shed tears; well, then, let me cry. Maybe everyone will laugh at this foolishness, but you won’t. Your eyes are shining, too. Enough poetry. I want to tell you now about the ‘insects, about those to whom God gave sensuality:
‘I am that very insect, brother, and those words are precisely about me. And all of us Karamazovs are like that, and in you, an angel, the same insect lives and stirs up storms in our blood. Storms, because sensuality is a storm, more than a storm! Beauty is a fearful and terrible thing! Fearful because it’s undefinable, and it cannot be defined, because here God gave us only riddles. Here the shores converge, here all contradictions live together. I’m a very uneducated man, brother, but I’ve thought about it a lot. So terribly many mysteries! Too many riddles oppress man on earth. Solve them if you can without getting your feet wet. Beauty! Besides, I can’t bear it that some man, even with a lofty heart and the highest mind, should start from the ideal of the Madonna and end with the ideal of Sodom. It’s even more fearful when someone who already has the ideal of sodom in his soul does not deny the ideal of the Madonna either, and his heart burns with it, verily, verily burns, as in his young blameless years. No, man is broad, even too broad, I would narrow him down. Devil knows even what to make of him, that’s the thing! What’s shame for the mind is beauty all over for the heart. Can there be beauty in Sodom? Believe me, for the vast majority of people, that’s just where beauty lies--did you know that secret? The terrible thing is that beauty is not only fearful but also mysterious. Here the devil is struggling with God, and the battlefield is the human heart. But, anyway, why kick against pricks? Listen now to real business.’”
Balaam’s ass turned out to be the lackey Smerdyakov. Still a young man, only about twenty-four years old, he was terribly unsociable and taciturn. Not that he was shy or ashamed of anything--no, on the contrary, he had an arrogant nature and seemed to despise everyone. But precisely at this point we cannot avoid saying at least a few words about him. He had been raised by Marfa Ignatievna and Grigory Vasilievich, but the boy grew up “without any gratitude,” as Grigory put it, solitary, and with a sidelong look in his eye. As a child he was fond of hanging cats and then burying them with ceremony. He would put on a sheet, which served him as a vestment, chant, and swing something over the dead cat as if it were a censer. It was all done on the sly, in great secrecy. Grigory once caught him at this exercise and gave him a painful birching. The boy went into a corner and sat there looking sullen for a week. “He doesn’t like us, the monster,” Grigory used to say to Marfa Ignatievan, “and he doesn’t like anyone. You think you’re a human being?” he would suddenly address Smerdyakov directly. “You are not a human being, you were begotten of a bathhouse slime, that’s who you are…” Smerdyakov, it turned out later, never could forgive him these words. Grigory taught him to read and write and, when he was twelve, began teaching him the Scriptures. But that immediately went nowhere. One day, at only the second or third lesson, the boy suddenly grinned.
“What is it?” asked Grigory, looking at him sternly from under his spectacles.
“Nothing, sir. The Lord God created light on the first day, and the sun, moon, and stars on the fourth day. Where did the light shine from on the first day?”
….A physiognomist, studying him, would have said that his face showed neither thought nor reflection, but just some sort of contemplation. The painter Kramskoy has a remarkable painting entitled The Contemplator. It depicts a forest in winter, and in the forest, standing all by himself on the road, in deepest solitude, a stray little peasant in a ragged caftan and bast shoes; he stands as if he were lost in thought, but is not thinking, he is “contemplating” something. If you nudged him, he would give a start and look at you as if he had just woken up, but without understanding anything. It’s true that he would come to himself at once, and yet, if he were asked what he had been thinking about while standing there, he would most likely not remember, but would most likely keep hidden away in himself the impression he had been under while contemplating. These impressions are dear to him, and he is most likely storing them up imperceptibly and even without realizing it--why and what for, of course, he does not know either; perhaps suddenly, having stored up his impressions over many years, he will drop everything and wander off to Jerusalem to save his soul, or perhaps he will suddenly burn down his native village, or perhaps he will do both. There are plenty of contemplators among the people. Most likely Smerdyakov, too, was such a contemplator, and most likely he, too, was greedily storing up his impressions, almost without knowing why himself.
“Wait, I’ll have one more, and then another, and then I’ll stop. No, wait, you interrupted me. I was passing through Mokroye, and I asked an old man, and he told me: ‘Best of all,’ he said, ‘we like sentencing the girls to be whipped, and we let the young lads do the whipping. Next day the young lad takes the girl he’s whipped for his bride, so you see, our girls themselves go for it.’ There’s some Marquis de Sades for you, eh? Say what you like, but it’s witty. Why don’t we go and have a look, eh? Alyoshka, are you blushing? Don’t be bashful, child. It’s a pity I didn’t sit down to the Superior’s dinner this afternoon and tell the monks about the Mokroye girls. Alyoshka, don’t be angry that I got your superior all offended this afternoon. It really makes me mad, my friend. Because if there’s a God, if he exists, well, then of course I’m guilty and I’ll answer for it, but if there’s no God at all, then what do those fathers of yours deserve? It’s not enough just to cut off their heads-because they hold up progress. Will you believe, Ivan, that it torments me in my feelings? No, you don’t believe it, I can see by your eyes. You believe I’m just a buffoon like they say. Alyosha, do you believe that I’m not just a buffoon?”
“I believe that you are not just a buffoon.”
“And I believe that you believe it and speak sincerely. You look sincerely and speak sincerely. Not so Ivan. Ivan is haughty...But still I’d put an end to that little monastery of yours. Take all this mysticism and abolish it at once all over the Russian land, and finally bring all the fools to reason. And think how much silver, how much gold would come into the mint!”
“But why abolish it?” asked Ivan.
“To let the truth shine forth sooner, that’s why.”
“But if this truth shines forth, you will be the first to be robbed and then...abolished.”
He skirted the monastery and walked straight to the hermitage through the pine woods. The door was opened for him, though at that hour no one was let in. His heart trembled as he entered the elder’s cell: Why, why had he left? Why had the elder sent him “into the world”? Here was quiet, here was holiness, and there--confusion, and a darkness in which one immediately got lost and went astray…
“Remember, young man, unceasingly,” Father Paissy began directly, without any preamble, “that the science of this world, having united itself into a great force, has, especially in the past century examined everything heavenly that has been bequeathed to us in sacred books, and, after hard analysis, the learned ones of this world have absolutely nothing left of what was once holy. But they have examined parts and missed the whole, and their blindness is even worthy of wonder. Meanwhile the whole stands before their eyes as immovably as ever, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Did it not live for nineteen centuries, does it not live even now in the movements of individual souls and in the movements of the popular masses? Even in the movements of the souls of those same all-destroying atheists, it lives, as before, immovably! For those who renounce Christianity and rebel against it are in their essence of the same image of the same Christ, and such they remain, for until now neither their wisdom nor the ardor of their hearts has been able to create another, higher image of man and his dignity than the image shown of old by Christ. And whatever their attempts, the results have been only monstrosities. Remember this especially, young man, since you are being assigned to the world by our departing elder. Perhaps, remembering this great day, you will not forget my words either, given as cordial words of parting for you, because you are young and the temptations of the world are heavy and your strength will not endure them. Well, go now, my orphan.”
With these words Father Paissy gave him a blessing. As he was leaving the monastery, thinking over all these unexpected words, Alyosha suddenly understood that in this monk, who had hitherto been stern and severe with him, he had now met a new and unlooked-for friend, a new director who ardently loved him--as if the elder Zosima, in dying , had bequeathed him Paissy. “And perhaps that is indeed what happened between them,” Alyosha suddenly thought. The unexpected learned discourse he had just heard, precisely that and not some other sort, testified to the ardor of Father Paissy’s heart: he had hastened to arm the young mind as quickly as possible for its struggle with temptations, to surround the young soul bequeathed to him with a wall stronger than any other he could imagine.
“This is why: he’s a cowardly man and has a weak character. He’s so worn out, and very kind. And now I keep wondering: why is it that he suddenly got so offended and trampled on the money--because, I assure you, until the very last minute he did not know he was going to trample on it. And it seems to me that he was offended by a number of things...in his position it could hardly be otherwise...First, he was offended because he had been too glad of the money in front of me, and hadn’t concealed it from me. If he had been glad but not overly so, if he hadn’t shown it, if he had given himself airs as others do when they’re accepting money, making faces, then he might have stood it and accepted, but he was too honestly glad, and that is what was offensive. Ah, Lise, he’s an honest and kind man--that’s the whole trouble in such cases! All the while he was speaking then, his voice was so weak, weakened, and he spoke so fast, so fast, and he kept laughing with such a little giggle, or else he just wept...really, he wept, he was so delighted...and he spoke of his daughters...and of the position he would find in another town...And just when he had poured out his soul, he suddenly became ashamed that he had shown me his whole soul like that. And he immediately began to hate me. He’s the sort of man who feels terribly shamed by poverty. But above all he was offended because he had accepted me too quickly as a friend and given in to me too soon; first he attacked me, tried to frighten me, then suddenly, as soon as he saw the money, he began embracing me. Because he did embrace me, and kept touching me with his hands. That is precisely why he came to feel such humiliation, and it was just there that I made that mistake, a very serious one: I suddenly said to him that if he didn’t have enough money to move to another town, he would be given more, and that even I myself would give him as much of my own money as he wanted. And that suddenly struck him: why, indeed, should I up and help him? You know, Lise, it’s terribly difficult for an offended man when everyone suddenly starts looking like his benefactor...I knew that; the elder told me so. I don’t know how to put it, but I’ve noticed it often myself. And I feel exactly the same way. And above all, though he didn’t know until the very last minute that he would trample on the bills, he did anticipate it, he must have. That’s what made his delight so intense, because he anticipated...And so, though this is all so bad, it’s still for the better. I even think that it’s for the best, that it even could not be better…”
“Why, why couldn’t it be better?” Lise exclaimed, looking at Alyosha in great astonishment.
“Because, Lise, if he had taken the money instead of trampling on it, he’d have gone home, and within an hour he’d have been weeping over his humiliation--that’s certainly what would have happened. He would weep, and perhaps tomorrow, at the first light, he would come to me, and maybe throw the bills at me and trample on them as he did today. But now he’s gone off feeling terribly proud and triumphant, though he knows that he’s ‘ruined himself.’ And so nothing could be easier now than to get him to accept these same two hundred roubles, maybe even tomorrow, because he has already proved his honor, thrown down the money, trampled on it...He couldn’t have known, when he was trampling on it, that I would bring it to him again tomorrow. And at the same time he needs this money terribly. Although he is proud of himself now, even today he’ll start thinking about the help he has lost. During the night the thought will become stronger still, he will dream about it, and by tomorrow morning he will perhaps be ready to run to me and ask forgiveness. And at that moment I shall appear: ‘Here,’ I’ll say, ‘you are a proud man, you’ve proved it, take the money now, forgive us.’ And this time he will take it!”
“....I’m funny, I’m little, but you, you...Listen, Alexei Fyodorovich, isn’t there something in all this reasoning of ours, I mean, of yours...no, better, of ours...isn’t there some contempt for him, for this wretched man...that we’re examining his soul like this, as if we were looking down on him? That we have decided so certainly, now, that he will accept the money?”
“No, Lise, there is no contempt in it” Alyosha answered firmly, as if he were already prepared for the question. “I thought it over myself, on the way here. Consider, what contempt can there be if we ourselves are just the same as he is, if everyone is just the same as he is? Because we are just the same, not better. And even if we were better, we would still be the same in his place...I don’t know about you, Lise, but for myself I consider that my soul is petty in many ways. And his is not petty, on the contrary, it is very sensitive...No, Lise, there is no contempt for him! You know, Lise, my elder said once that most people need to be looked after like children, and some like the sick in hospitals…”
“I could have done even better, miss, and I’d know a lot more, if it wasn’t for my destiny ever since childhood. I’d have killed a man in a duel with a pistol for calling me low-born, because I came from Stinking Lizaveta without a father, and they were shoving that in my face in Moscow, it spread there thanks to Grigory Vasilievich. Grigory Vasilievich reproaches me for rebelling against my nativity: ‘You unopened her matrix,’ he says. I don’t know about her matrix, but I’d have let them kill me in the womb, so as not to come out into the world at all, miss. They used to say in the market, and your mama, too, started telling me, with her great indelicacy, that she went around with her hair in a Polish plait and was a wee bit under five feet tall. Why say a wee bit when you can simply say ‘a little’ like everyone else? She wanted to make it tearful, but those are peasant tears, miss, so to speak, those are real peasant feelings. Can a Russian peasant have feelings comparably to an educated man? With such lack of education, he can’t have any feelings at all. Ever since my childhood, whenever I hear this ‘wee bit,’ I want to throw myself at the wall. I hate all of Russia, Maria Kondratievna.”
“Now, tell me where to begin, give the order yourself--with God? The existence of God? Or what?”
“Begin with whatever you like, even ‘from the other end.’ You did proclaim yesterday at father’s that there is no God,” Alyosha looked searchingly at his brother.
“I said that on purpose yesterday, at dinner with the old man, just to tease you, and I saw how your eyes glowed. But now I don’t mind at all discussing things with you, and I say it very seriously. I want to get close to you, Alyosha, because I have no friends. I want to try. Well, imagine that perhaps I, to, accept God,” Ivan laughed, “that comes as a surprise to you, eh?”
“Yes, of course, unless you’re joking again.”
“‘Joking.’ They said yesterday at the elder’s that I was joking. You see, my dear, there was in the eighteenth century an old sinner who stated that if God did not exist, he would have to be invented: “S’il n’existait pas Dieu, il faudrait l’inventer. And man has, indeed, invented God. And the strange thing, the wonder would not be that God really exists, the wonder is that such a notion--the notion of the necessity of God--could creep into the head of such a wild and wicked animal as man--so holy, so moving, so wise a notion, which does man such great honor. As for me, I long ago decided not to think about whether man created God or God created man. Naturally, I will not run through all the modern axioms laid down by Russian boys on the subject, which are all absolutely derived from European hypotheses; because what is a hypothesis there immediately becomes an axiom for a Russian boy, and that is true not only of boys but perhaps of their professors as well, since Russian professors today are quite often the same Russian boys. And therefore I will avoid all hypotheses. What task are you and I faced with now? My task is to explain to you as quickly as possible my essence, that is, what sort of man I am, what I believe in, and what I hope for, is that right? And therefore I declare that I accept God pure and simple. But this, however, needs to be noted: if God exists and if he indeed created the earth, then, as we know perfectly well, he created it in accordance with Euclidean geometry, and he created human reason with a conception of only three dimensions of space. At the same time there were and are even now geometers and philosophers, even some of the most outstanding among them, who doubt that the whole universe, or, even more broadly the whole of being, was created purely in accordance with Euclidean geometry; they even dare to dream that two parallel lines, which according to Euclid cannot possibly meet on earth, may perhaps meet somewhere in infinity. I, my dear, have come to the conclusion that if I cannot understand even that, then it is not for me to understand about God. I humbly confess that I do not have any ability to resolve such questions, I have a Euclidean mind, an earthly mind, and therefore it is not for us to resolve things that are not of this world. And I advise you never to think about it, Alyosha my friend, and most especially about whether God exists or not. All such questions are completely unsuitable to a mind created with a concept of only three dimensions. And so, I accept God, not only willingly, but moreover I also accept his wisdom and his purpose, which are completely unknown to us; I believe in order, in the meaning of life, I believe in eternal harmony, in which we are all supposed to merge, I believe in the Word for whom the universe is yearning, and who himself was ‘with God,’ who himself is God, and so on, and so on and so forth, to infinity. Many words have been invented on the subject. It seems I’m already on a good path, eh? And now imagine that in the final outcome I do not accept this world of God’s, I do not admit it at all, though I know it exists. It’s not God that I do not accept, you understand, it is this world of God’s, created by God, that I do not accept and cannot agree to accept. With one reservation: I have a childlike conviction that the sufferings will be healed and smoothed over, that he whole offensive comedy of human contradictions will disappear like a pitiful mirage, a vile concoction of man’s Euclidean mind, feeble and puny as an atom, and that ultimately, at the world’s finale, in the moment of eternal harmony, there will occur and be revealed something so precious that it will suffice for all hearts, to allay all indignation, to redeem all human villainy, all bloodshed; it will suffice not only to make forgiveness possible, but also to justify everything that has happened with men--let this, let all of this come true and be revealed, but I do not accept it and do not want to accept it! Let the parallel lines even meet before my own eyes: I shall look and say, yes, they meet, and still I will not accept it. That is my essence, Alyosha, that is my thesis. I say it to you in all seriousness. I purposely started this talk of ours as stupidly as possible, but I arrived at my confession, because my confession is all you need. You did not need to know about God, you only needed to know what your beloved brother lives by. And I’ve told you.”
Ivan ended his long tirade suddenly with a sort of special and unexpected feeling.
“And why did you start out ‘as stupidly as possible’?” Alyosha asked, looking at him thoughtfully.
“Well, first, for the sake of Russianism, let’s say: Russian conversations on these subjects are all conducted as stupidly as possible. And second, then, the stupider, the more to the point. The stupider, the clearer. Stupidity is brief and guileless, while reason hedges and hides. Reason is a scoundrel, stupidity is direct and honest. I brought the case around to my despair, and the more stupidly I’ve presented it, the more it’s to my advantage.”
“Will you explain to me why you ‘do not accept the world’?” said Alyosha.
“Of course I’ll explain, it’s no secret, that’s what I’ve been leading up to. My dear little brother, it’s not that I want to corrupt you and push you off your foundation; perhaps I want to be healed by you,” Ivan suddenly smiled just like a meek little boy. Never before had Alyosha seen him smile that way.
“Did you forget that peace and even death are dearer to man than free choice in the knowledge of good and evil?”
“What matter that he now rebels everywhere against our power, and takes pride in this rebellion? The pride of a child and a schoolboy! They are little children, who rebel in class and drive out the teacher. But there will also come an end to the children’s delight, and it will cost them dearly. They will tear down the temples and drench the earth with blood.”
“Is it the fault of the rest of feeble mankind that they could not endure what the mighty endured? Is it the fault of the weak soul that it is unable to contain such terrible gifts? Can it be that you indeed came only to the chosen ones and for the chosen ones? But if so, there is a mystery here, and we cannot understand it. And if it is a mystery, then we, too, had the right to preach mystery and to teach them that it is not the free choice of the heart that matters, and not love, but the mystery, which they must blindly obey, even setting aside their own conscience. And so we did. We corrected your deed and based it on miracle, mystery, and authority. And mankind rejoiced that they were once more led like sheep, and that at last such a terrible gift, which had brought them so much suffering, had been taken from their hearts. Tell me, were we right in teaching and doing so? Have we not, indeed, loved mankind, in so humbly recognizing their impotence, in so lovingly alleviating their burden and allowing their feeble nature even to sin, with our permission? Why have you come to interfere with us now? And why are you looking at me so silently and understandingly with your meek eyes? Be angry! I do not want your love, for I do not love you. And what can I hide from you? Do I not know with whom I am speaking? What I have to tell you is all known to you already, I can read it in your eyes. And is it for me to hide our secret from you? Perhaps you precisely want to hear it from my lips. Listen, then: we are not with you, but with him, that is our secret! For a long time now--eight centuries already--we have not been with you, but with him. Exactly eight centuries ago we took from him what you so indignantly rejected, that last gift he offered you when he showed you all the kingdoms of the earth: we took Rome and the sword of Caesar from him, and proclaimed ourselves sole rulers of the earth, the only rulers, though we have not yet succeeded in bringing our cause to its full conclusion.”
“And yet you could have taken the sword of Caesar even then. Why did you reject that last gift? Had you accepted that third counsel of the mighty spirit, you would have furnished all that man seeks on earth, that is: someone to bow down to, someone to take over his conscience, and a means for uniting everyone at last into a common, concordant, and incontestable anthill--for the need for universal union is the third and last torment of men.”
“With us everyone will be happy, and they will no longer rebel or destroy each other, as in your freedom, everywhere. Oh, we shall convince them that they will only become free when they resign their freedom to us, and submit to us. Will we be right, do you think, or will we be lying? They themselves will be convinced that we are right, for they will remember to what horrors of slavery and confusion your freedom led them. Freedom, free reason, and science will lead them into such a maze, and confront them with such miracles and insoluble mysteries, that some of them, unruly and ferocious, will exterminate themselves; others, unruly but feeble, will exterminate each other; and the remaining third, feeble and wretched, will crawl to our feet and cry out to us: “Yes, you were right, you alone possess his mystery, and we are coming back to you--save us from ourselves.”
“I was going to end it like this: when the Inquisitor fell silent, he waited some time for his prisoner to reply. His silence weighed on him. He had seen how the captive listened to him all the while intently and calmly, looking him straight in the eye, and apparently not wishing to contradict anything. The old man would have liked him to say something, even something bitter, terrible. But suddenly he approaches the old man in silence and gently kisses him on his bloodless, ninety-year-old lips. That is the whole answer. The old man shudders. Something stirs at the corners of his mouth; he walks to the door, opens it, and says to him: ‘Go and do not come again...do not come at all...never, never!’ And he lets him out into the ‘dark squares of the city.’ The prisoner goes away.”
At seven o’clock in the evening Ivan Fyodorovich boarded the train and flew towards Moscow. “Away with all the past, I’m through with the old world forever, and may I never hear another word or echo from it; to the new world, to new places, and no looking back!” but instead of delight, such darkness suddenly descended on his soul, and such grief gnawed at his heart, as he had never known before in the whole of his life. He sat thinking all night; the train flew on, and only at daybreak, entering Moscow, did he suddenly come to, as it were.
“I am a scoundrel,” he whispered to himself.
“Mama, my joy,” he said, “it is not possible for there to be no masters and servants, but let me also be the servant of my servants, the same as they are to me. And I shall also tell you, dear mother, that each of us is guilty in everything before everyone, and I most of all.” At that mother even smiled, she wept and smiled: “How can it be,” she said, “that you are the most guilty before everyone? There are murderers and robbers, and how have you managed to sin so that you should accuse yourself most of all?” “Dear mother, heart of my heart,” he said (he had then begun saying such unexpected, endearing words), “heart of my heart, my joyful one, you must know that verily each of us is guilty before everyone, for everyone and everything. I do not know how to explain it to you, but I feel it so strongly that it pains me. And how could we have lived before, getting angry, and not knowing anything?”
Oh, Lord, one thinks, “but how could he so love those new ones, when his former children are no more, when he has lost them? Remembering them, was it possible for him to be fully happy, as he had been before, with the new ones, however dear they might be to him?” But it is possible, it is possible: the old grief, by a great mystery of human life, gradually passes into quiet, tender joy; instead of young, ebullient blood comes a mild, serene old age: I bless the sun’s rising each day and my heart sings to it as before, but now I love its setting even more, its long slanting rays, and with them quiet, mild, tender memories, dear images from the whole of a long and blessed life--and over all is God’s truth, moving, reconciling, all-forgiving! My life is coming to an end, I know and sense it, but I feel with every day that is left me how my earthly life is already touching a new, infinite, unknown, but swift-approaching life, anticipating which my soul trembles with rapture, my mind is radiant, and my heart weeps joyfully…
“That life is paradise,” he said to me suddenly, “I have been thinking about for a long time”--and suddenly added, “that is all I think about.” He looked at me, smiling. “I am convinced of it,” he said, “more than you are; you shall find out why later on.” “Paradise,” he said, “is hidden in each one of us, it is concealed within me, too, right now, and if I wish, it will come for me in reality, tomorrow even, and for the rest of my life.” I looked at him: he was speaking with tenderness and looking at me mysteriously, as if questioning me. “And,” he went on, “as for each man being guilty before all and for all, besides his own sins, your reasoning about that is quite correct, and it is surprising that you could suddenly embrace this thought so fully. And indeed it is true that when people understand this thought, the Kingdom of Heaven will come to them, no longer in a dream but in reality.” “But when will this come true?” I exclaimed to him ruefully. “And will it ever come true? Is it not just a dream?” “Ah,” he said, “now you do not believe it, you preach it and do not believe it yourself. Know, then, that this dream, as you call it, will undoubtedly come true, believe it, though not now, for every action has its law. This is a matter of the soul, a psychological matter. In order to make the world over anew, people themselves must turn onto a different path psychically. Until one has indeed become the brother of all, there will be no brotherhood. No science or self-interest will ever enable people to share their property and their rights among themselves without offense. Each will always think his share too small, and they will keep murmuring, they will envy and destroy one another. You ask when it will come true. It will come true, but first the period of human isolation must conclude.” “What isolation?” I asked him. “That which is now reigning everywhere, especially in our age, but it is not all concluded yet, its term has not come. For everyone now strives most of all to separate his person, wishing to experience the fullness of life within himself, and yet what comes of all his efforts is not the fullness of life but full suicide, for instead of the fullness of self-definition, they fall into complete isolation. For all men in our age are separated into units, each seeks seclusion in his own hole, each withdraws from the others, hides himself, and hides what he has, and ends by pushing himself away from people and pushing people away from himself. He accumulates wealth in solitude, thinking: how strong, how secure I am now; and does not see, madman as he is, that the more he accumulates, the more he sinks into suicidal impotence. For he is accustomed to relying only on himself, he has separated his unit from the whole, he has accustomed his soul to not believing in people’s help, in people or in mankind, and now only trembles lest his money and his acquired privileges perish. Everywhere now the human mind has begun laughably not to understand that a man’s true security lies not in his own solitary effort, but in the general wholeness of humanity. But there must needs come a term to this horrible isolation, and everyone will all at once realize how unnaturally they have separated themselves one from another. Such will be the spirit of the time, and they will be astonished that they sat in darkness for so long, and did not see the light. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the heavens...But until then we must keep hold of the banner, and every once in a while, if only individually, a man must suddenly set an example, and draw the soul from its isolation for an act of brotherly communion, though it be with the rank of holy fool. So that the great thought does not die…”
“Do you remember how I came to you again, at midnight? I told you to remember it. Do you know why I came? I came to kill you!”
“I went out from you then into the darkness, I wandered about the streets, struggling with myself. And suddenly I hated you so much that my heart could barely stand it. ‘Now,’ I thought, ‘he alone binds me and is my judge; now I cannot renounce my punishment tomorrow, for he knows everything.’ Not that I was afraid you would turn me in (the idea never occurred to me), but I thought: ‘How can I face him if I do not turn myself in?’ And even if you had been in a faraway land, but still alive, the thought that you were alive and knew everything, and were judging me, would in any case have been unbearable. I hated you as if you were the cause of it all and to blame for it all. I came back to you then; I remembered that there was a dagger lying on your table. I sat down, and asked you to sit down, and thought for a whole minute. If I had killed you, I would have perished for that murder in any case, even if I did not tell about my previous crime. But I did not think of that at all, and did not want to think of it at that moment. I simply hated you and wished with all my might to revenge myself on you for everything. But my Lord defeated the devil in my heart. Know, however, that you have never been closer to death.”
True, ah, true, among monks there are many parasites, pleasure-seekers, sensualists, and insolent vagabonds. Educated men of society, shameless beggars, living on the labor of others.” And yet among monks so many are humble and meek, thirsting for solitude and fervent prayer in peace. People point less often to these monks, and even pass them over in silence, and how surprised they would be if I were to say that from these meek ones, thirsting for solitary prayer, will perhaps come once again the salvation of the Russian land!
They have science, and in science only that which is subject to the senses. But the spiritual world, the higher half of man’s being, is altogether rejected, banished with a sort of triumph, even with hatred The world has proclaimed freedom, especially of late, but what do we see in this freedom of theirs: only slavery and suicide! For the world says: “You have needs, therefore satisfy them, for you have the same rights as the noblest and richest men. Do not be afraid to satisfy them but even increase them”--this is the current teaching of the world. And in this they see freedom. But what comes of this right to increase one’s needs? For the rich, isolation and spiritual suicide; for the poor, envy and murder, for they have been given rights, but have not yet been shown any way of satisfying their needs. We are assured that the world is becoming more and more united, is being formed into brotherly communion, by the shortening of distance, by the transmitting thoughts through the air. Alas, do not believe in such a union of people. Taking freedom to mean the increase and prompt satisfaction of needs, they distort their own nature, for they generate many meaningless and foolish desires, habits, and the most absurd fancies in themselves. They live only for mutual envy, for pleasure-seeking and self-display. To have dinners, horses, carriages, rank, and slaves to serve them is now considered such a necessity that or the sake of it, to satisfy it, they will sacrifice life, honor, the love of mankind, and will even kill themselves if they are unable to satisfy it. We see the same thing in those who are not rich, while the poor, so far, simply drown their unsatisfied needs and envy in drink. But soon they will get drunk on blood instead of wine, they are being led to that. I ask you: is such a man free? I knew one “fighter for an idea” who told me himself that when he was deprived of tobacco in prison, he was so tormented by this deprivation that he almost went and betrayed his “idea,” just so that they would give him some tobacco. And such a man says: “I am going to fight for mankind.” Well, how far will such a man get, and what is he good for? Perhaps some quick action, but he will not endure for long. And no wonder that instead of freedom they have fallen into slavery, and instead of serving brotherly love and human unity, they have fallen, on the contrary, into disunity and isolation, as my mysterious visitor and teacher used to tell me in my youth. And therefore the idea of serving mankind, of the brotherhood and oneness of people, is fading more and more in the world, and indeed the idea now even meets with mockery, for how can one drop one’s habits, where will this slave go now that he is so accustomed to satisfying the innumerable needs he himself has invented? He is isolated, and what does he care about the whole? They have succeeded in amassing more and more things, but have less and less joy.
These, following science, want to make a just order for themselves by reason alone, but without Christ now, not as before, and they have already proclaimed that there is no crime, there is no sin. And in their own terms, that is correct: for if you have no God, what crime is there to speak of? In Europe the people are rising up against the rich with force, and popular leaders everywhere are leading them to bloodshed and teaching them that their wrath is righteous. But “their wrath is accursed, for it is cruel.”
“You are noble, you are rich, you are intelligent and talented, very well, God bless you. I honor you, but I know that I, too, am a man. By honoring you without envy, I show my human dignity before you.”
Equality is only in a man’s spiritual dignity, and only us will that be understood. Where there are brothers, there will be brotherhood; but before brotherhood they will never share among themselves.
Fathers and teachers, a moving incident happened to me once. In my wanderings I met one day, in the provincial capital of K----, my former orderly, Afanasy. It was then already eight years since I had parted with him. He saw me by chance in the marketplace, recognized me, ran over to me, and God, how delighted he was to see me! He rushed up to me: “My dear master, is it you? Can it really be you?” He took me home. He had left the army by then, was married, and had two small children. They supported themselves by hawking wares in the marketplace. His room was poor, but clean, joyful. He sat me down, lit the samovar, sent for his wife, as if my appearance was somehow a festive occasion. He brought the children to me: “Bless them, father.” “Is it for me to bless them?” I replied. “I am a simple and humble monk, I shall pray to Go for them; and for you, Afanasy Pavlovich, I have prayed to God always, every day, since that very day, for I tell you, it all came about because of you.” And I explained it to him as far as I could. And what do you think: the man looked at me and still could not imagine that I, his former master, an officer, could be there before him as I was, and dressed as I was. He even wept. “Why are you weeping?” I said to him. “Better rejoice for me in your soul, my dear, my unforgettable man, for my path is a bright and joyful one.” He did not say much, but kept sighing and shaking his head over me tenderly. “And where is your wealth?” he asked. “I gave it to the monastery,” I replied, “we live in common.” After tea I was saying good-bye to them when he suddenly produced fifty kopecks as a donation to the monastery, and then slipped another fifty kopecks hurriedly into my hand: “This is for you, father, maybe you’ll need it in your travels and wanderings.” I accepted his fifty kopecks, bowed to him and his wife, and left rejoicing, thinking as I went: “Here are the two of us, he at home and I on the road, both no doubt sighing and smiling joyfully, in the gladness of our hearts, shaking our heads when we recall how God granted us this meeting.” I never saw him again after that. I was his master, and he was my servant, and now, as we kissed each other lovingly and in spiritual tenderness, a great human communion took place between us. I have given it much thought, and now I reason thus: Is it so far beyond reach of the mind that this great and openhearted communion might in due time take place everywhere among our Russian people? I believe that it will take place, and that the time is near.
The world cannot do without servants, but see to it that your servant is freer in spirit than if he were not a servant. And why can I not be the servant of my servant, and in such wise that he even sees it, and without any pride on my part, or any disbelief on his? Why can my servant not be like my own kin, so that I may finally receive him into my family, and rejoice for it? This may be accomplished even now, but it will serve as the foundation for the magnificent communion of mankind in the future, when a man will not seek servants for himself, and will not wish to turn his fellow men into servants, as now, but, on the contrary, will wish with all his strength to become himself the servant of all, in accordance with the Gospel.
Even if they themselves affirm, on the contrary, that it is they who are moving towards communion, then indeed only the simplest of them believe it, so that one may even be astonished at such simplicity. Verily, there is more dreamy fantasy in them than in us. They hope to make a just order for themselves, but, having rejected Christ, they will end by drenching the earth with blood, for blood calls to blood, and he who draws the sword will perish by the sword. And were it not for Christ’s covenant, they would annihilate one another down to the last two men on earth. And these last two, in their pride, would not be able to restrain each other either, so that the last would annihilate the next to last, and then himself as well. And so it would come to pass, were it not for Christ’s covenant, that for the sake of the meek and the humble this thing will be shortened. I began while still in my officer’s uniform, after my duel, to speak about servants at social gatherings, and everyone, I remember, kept marveling at me: “What?” they said, “shall we sit our servants on the sofa and offer them tea?” “Why not,” I would say, “at least once in a while?” Then everyone laughed. Their question was frivolous, and my answer vague, yet I think there was some truth in it.
If you love each thing, you will perceive the mystery of God in things. Once you have perceived it, you will begin tirelessly to perceive more and more of it every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an entire, universal love.
One may stand perplexed before some thought, especially seeing men’s sin, asking oneself: “Shall I take it by force, or by humble love?” Always resolve to take it by humble love. If you so resolve once and for all, you will be able to overcome the whole world. A loving humility is a terrible power, the most powerful of all, nothing compares with it. Keep company with yourself and look to yourself every day and hour, every minute, that your image be ever gracious. See, here you have passed by a small child, passed by in anger, with a foul word, with a wrathful soul; you perhaps did not notice the child, but he saw you, and your unsightly and impious image has remained in his defenseless heart. You did not know it, but you may thereby have planted a bad seed in him, and it may grow, and all because you did not restrain yourself before the child, because you did not nurture in yourself a heedful, active love. Brothers, love is a teacher, but one must know how to acquire it, for it is difficult to acquire, it is dearly bought, by long work over a long time, for one ought to love not for a chance moment but for all time. Anyone, even a wicked man, can love by chance. My young brother asked forgiveness of the birds: it seems senseless, yet it is right, for all is like an ocean, all flows and connects; touch it in one place and it echoes at the other end of the world. Let it be madness to ask forgiveness of the birds, still it would be easier for the birds, and for a child, and for any animal near you, if you yourself were more gracious than you are now, if only by a drop, still it would be easier. All is like an ocean, I say to you. Tormented by universal love, you, too, would then start praying to the birds, as if in a sort of ecstasy, and entreat them to forgive you your sin. Cherish this ecstasy, however senseless it may seem to people.
My friends, ask gladness from God. Be glad as children, as birds in the sky. And let man’s sin not disturb you in your efforts, do not fear that it will dampen your endeavor and keep it from being fulfilled, do not say, “Sin is strong, impiety is strong, the bad environment is strong, and we are lonely and powerless, the bad environment will dampen us and keep our good endeavor from being fulfilled.” Flee from such despondency, my children! There is only one salvation for you: take yourself up, and make yourself responsible for all the sins of men. For indeed it is so, my friend, and the moment you make yourself sincerely responsible for everything and everyone, you will see at once that it is really so, that it is you who are guilty on behalf of all and for all. Whereas by shifting your own laziness and powerlessness onto others, you will end by sharing in Satan’s pride and murmuring against God. I think thus of Satan’s pride: it is difficult for us on earth to comprehend it, and therefore, how easy it is to fall into error and partake of it, thinking, moreover, that we are doing something great and beautiful. And there is much in the strongest feelings and impulses of our nature that we cannot comprehend while on earth; do not be tempted by that, either, and do not think it can serve you as a justification for anything, for the eternal judge will demand of you that which you could comprehend, not that which you could not--you will be convinced of that, for then you will see all things aright and no longer argue. But on earth we are indeed wandering, as it were, and did we not have the precious image of Christ before us, we would perish and be altogether lost, like the race of men before the flood. Much on earth is concealed from us, but in place of it we have been granted a secret, mysterious sense of our living bond with the other world, with the higher heavenly world, and the roots of our thoughts and feelings are not here but in other worlds. That is why philosophers say it is impossible on earth to conceive the essence of things. God took seeds from other worlds and sowed them on this earth, and raised up his garden; and everything that could sprout, sprouted, but it lives and grows only through its sense of being in touch with other mysterious worlds; if this sense is weakened or destroyed in you, that which has grown up in you dies. Then you become indifferent to life, and even come to hate it. So I think.
And if, having received your kiss, he goes away unmoved and laughing at you, do not be tempted by that either: it means that his time has not yet come, but it will come in due course; and if it does not come, no matter: if not he, then another will know, and suffer, and judge, and accuse himself, and the truth will be made full. Believe it, believe it without doubt, for in this lies all hope and all the faith of the saints.
Work tirelessly. If, as you are going to sleep at night, you remember: “I did not do what I ought to have done,” arise at once and do it. If you are surrounded by spiteful and callous people who do not want to listen to you, fall down before them and ask their forgiveness, for the guilt is yours, too, that they do not want to listen to you. And if you cannot speak with the embittered, serve them silently and in humility, never losing hope. And if everyone abandons you and drives you out by force, then, when you are left alone, fall down on the earth and kiss it and water it with your tears, and the earth will bring forth fruit from your tears, even though no one has seen or heard you in your solitude. Have faith to the end, even if it should happen that all on earth are corrupted and you alone remain faithful: make your offering even so, and praise God, you who are the only one left. And if there are two of you who come together thus, there is already a whole world, a world of living love; embrace each other in tenderness and give praise to the Lord: for his truth has been made full, if only in the two of you.
If you yourself have sinned, and are sorrowful even unto death for your sins, or for your sudden sin, rejoice for the other, rejoice for the righteous one, rejoice that though you have sinned, he still is righteous and has not sinned.
If the wickedness of people arouses indignation and insurmountable grief in you, to the point that you desire to revenge yourself upon the wicked, fear that feeling most of all; go at once and seek torments for yourself, as if you yourself were guilty of their wickedness. Take these torments upon yourself and suffer them, and your heart will be eased, and you will understand that you, too, are guilty, for you might have shone to the wicked, even like the only sinless One, but you did not. If you had shone, your light would have lighted the way for others, and the one who did wickedness would perhaps not have done so in your light. And even if you do shine, but see that people are not saved even with your light, remain steadfast, and do not doubt the power of the heavenly light; believe that if they are not saved now, they will be saved later. And if they are not saved, their sons will be saved, for you light will not die, even when you are dead. The righteous man departs, but his light remains. People are always saved after the death of him who who saved them. The generation of men does not welcome its prophets and kills them, but men love their martyrs and venerate those they have tortured to death. Your work is for the whole, your deed is for the future. Never seek a reward, for great is your reward on earth without that: your spiritual joy, which only the righteous obtain. Nor should you fear the noble and powerful, but be wise and ever gracious. Know measure, know the time, learn these things. When you are alone, pray. Love to throw yourself down on the earth and kiss it. Kiss the earth and love it, tirelessly, insatiably, love all men, love all things, seek this rapture and ecstasy. Water the earth with the tears of your joy, and love those tears. Do not be ashamed of this ecstasy, treasure it, for it is a gift from God, a great gift, and it is not given to many, but to those who are chosen.
Oh there are those who remain proud and fierce even in hell, in spite of their certain knowledge and contemplation of irrefutable truth; there are terrible ones, wholly in communion with Satan and his proud spirit. For them hell is voluntary and insatiable; they are sufferers by their own will. For they have cursed themselves by cursing God and life. They feed on their wicked pride, as if a hungry man in the desert were to start sucking his own blood from his body. But they are insatiable unto ages of ages, and reject forgiveness, and curse God who calls to them. They cannot look upon the living God without hatred, and demand that there be no God of life, that God destroy himself and all his creation. And they will burn eternally in the fire of their wrath, thirsting for death and nonexistence. But they will not find death…
I would only ask the reader not to be in too great a hurry to laugh at my young man’s pure heart. Not only have I no intention of apologizing for him, of excusing and justifying his simple faith on account of his youth, for instance, or the little progress he had made formerly in the study of science, and so on and so forth, but I will do the opposite and declare firmly that I sincerely respect the nature of his heart. No doubt some other young man, who takes his heart’s impressions more prudently who has already learned how to love not ardently but just lukewarmly, whose thoughts, though correct, are too reasonable (and therefore cheap) for his age, such a young man, I say, would avoid what happened to my young man, but in certain cases, really, it is more honorable to yield to some passion, however unwise, if it springs from great love, than not to yield to it at all. Still more so in youth, or a young man who is constantly too reasonable is suspect and of too cheap a price--that is my opinion! “But,” reasonable people may exclaim at this point, “not every young man can believe in such prejudices, and your young man is no example for others.” To this I again reply: yes, my young man believed, believed piously and unshakably, but still I do not apologize for him.
It was very late by monastery rules when Alyosha came to the hermitage. The gatekeeper let him in by a special entrance. It had already struck nine, the hour of general rest and quiet, after such a troubled day for them all. Alyosha timidly opened the door and entered the elder’s cell, where his coffin now stood. There was no one in the cell but Father Paissy, who was alone reading the Gospel over the coffin, and the young novice Porfiry, who, worn out from the previous night’s conversation and the day’s commotion, slept a sound young sleep on the floor in the next room. Father Paissy , though he had heard Alyosha come in, did not even look up at him. Alyosha turned to the right of the door, went to the corner, knelt, and began to pray. His soul was overflowing, but somehow vaguely, and no single sensation stood out, making itself felt too much; on the contrary, one followed another in a sort of slow and calm rotation. But there was sweetness in his heart, and strangely, Alyosha was not surprised at that. Again he saw this coffin before him, and this dead man all covered up in it, who had been so precious to him, but in his soul there was none of that weeping, gnawing, tormenting pity that had been there earlier, in the morning. Now, as he entered, he fell down before the coffin as if it were a holy thing, but joy, joy was shining in his mind and in his heart. The window of the cell was open, the air was fresh and rather cool--”the smell must have become even worse if they decided to open the window,” Alyosha thought. But even this thought about the putrid odor, which only recently had seemed to him so terrible and inglorious, did not now stir up any of his former anguish and indignation. He quietly began praying, but soon felt that he was praying almost mechanically. Fragments of thoughts flashed in his soul, catching fire like little stars and dying out at once to give way to others, yet there reigned in his soul something whole, fir, assuaging, and he was conscious of it himself. He would ardently begin a prayer, he wanted so much to give thanks and to love...But, having begun the prayer, he would suddenly pass to something else, lapse into though, and forget both his prayer and what had interrupted it. He tried listening to what Father Paissy was reading, but, being very worn out, he began little by little to doze off…
Something burned in Alyosha’s heart, something suddenly filled him almost painfully, tears of rapture nearly burst from his soul...He stretched out his hands, gave a short cry, and woke up…
Again the coffin, the open window, and the quiet, solemn, distinct reading of the Gospel. But Alyosha no longer listened to what was being read. Strangely, he had fallen asleep on his knees, but now he was standing, and suddenly, as if torn from his place, with three firm, quick steps, he went up to the coffin. He even brushed Father Paissy with his shoulder without noticing it. The latter raised his eyes from the book for a moment, but looked away again at once, realizing that something strange was happening with the boy. For about half a minute Alyosha gazed at the coffin, at the covered up, motionless dead man stretched out with an icon on his chest and the cowl with an eight-pointed cross on his head. A moment ago he had heard his voice, and this voice was still sounding in his ears. He listened, waiting to hear more...but suddenly turned abruptly and walked out of the cell.
He did not stop on the porch, either, but went quickly down the steps. Filed with rapture, his oil yearned for freedom, space, vastness. Over him the heavenly dome, full of quiet, shining stars, hung boundlessly. From the zenith to the horizon the still-dim Milky Way stretched its double strand. Night, fresh and quiet, almost unstirring, enveloped the earth. The white towers and golden domes of the church gleamed in the sapphire sky. The luxuriant autumn flowers in the flowerbeds near the house had fallen asleep until morning. The silence of the earth seemed to merge with the silence of the heavens, the mystery of the earth touched the mystery of the stars...Alyosha stood gazing and suddenly, as if he had been cut down, threw himself to the earth.
He did not know why he was embracing it, he did not try to understand why he longed so irresistibly to kiss it, to kiss all of it, but he was kissing it, weeping, sobbing, and watering it with his tears, and he vowed ecstatically to love it, to love it unto ages of ages. “Water the earth with the tears of your joy, and love those tears…,” rang in his soul. What was he weeping for? Oh, in his rapture he wept even for the stars that shone on him from the abyss, and “he was not ashamed of this ecstasy.” It was as if threads from all those innumerable worlds of God all came together in his soul, and it was trembling all over, “touching other worlds.” He wanted to forgive everyone and for everything, and to ask forgiveness, oh, not for himself! but for all and for everything, “as others are asking for me,” rang again in his soul. But with each moment he felt clearly and almost tangibly something as firm and immovable as this heavenly vault descend into his soul. Some sort of idea, as it were, was coming to reign in his mind--now for the whole of his lie and unto ages of ages. He fell to the earth a weak youth and rose up a fighter, steadfast for the rest of his life, and he knew it and felt it suddenly, in that very moment of his ecstasy. Never, never in all his lie would Alyosha forget that moment. “Someone visited my soul in that hour,” he would say afterwards, with firm belief in his words…
Three days later he left the monastery, which was also in accordance with the words of his late elder, who had bidden him to “sojourn in the world.”
Othello’s soul is simply shattered and his whole world view clouded because his ideal is destroyed. Othello will not hide, spy, peep: he is trustful. On the contrary, he had to be led, prompted, roused with great effort to make him even think of betrayal. A truly jealous man is not like that. It is impossible to imagine all the shame and moral degradation a jealous man can tolerate without the least remorse. And it is not that they are all trite and dirty souls. On the contrary, it is possible to have a lofty heart to love purely, to be full of self-sacrifice, and at the same time to hide under tables, to bribe the meanest people, and live with the nastiest filth of spying and eavesdropping. Othello could in no way be reconciled with betrayal--not that he could not forgive, but he could not be reconciled--though his soul was gentle and innocent as a babe’s. Not so the truly jealous man: it is hard to imagine what some jealous men can tolerate and be reconciled to, and what they can forgive! Jealous men forgive sooner than anyone else, and all women know it. The jealous man (having first made a terrible scene, of course) can and will very promptly forgive, for example, a nearly proven betrayal, the embraces and kisses he has seen himself, if, for example, at the same time he can somehow be convinced that this was “the last time” and that his rival will disappear from that moment on, that he will go to the end of the earth, or that he himself will take her away somewhere, to some place where this terrible rival will never come. Of course, the reconciliation will only last an hour, because even if the rival has indeed disappeared, tomorrow he will invent another, a new one, and become jealous of this new one. And one may ask what is the good of a love that must constantly be spied on, and what is the worth of a love that needs to be guarded so intensely? But that is something the truly jealous will never understand, though at the same time there happen, indeed, to be lofty hearts among them. It is also remarkable that these same lofty-hearted men, while standing in some sort of closet, eavesdropping and spying, though they understand clearly “in their lofty hearts” all the shame they have gotten into of their own will, nevertheless, at least for that moment, while standing in that closet, will not feel any pangs of remorse. Mitya’s jealousy disappeared at the sight of Grushenka, and for a moment he became trustful and noble, and even despised himself for his bad feelings. But this meant only that his love for this woman consisted in something much higher than he himself supposed and not in passion alone, not merely in that “curve of the body” he had explained to Alyosha. But when Grushenka disappeared, Mitya at once began again to suspect in her all the baseness and perfidy of betrayal. And for that he felt no pangs of remorse.
“Mitya, my dear, wait, don’t go, I want to tell you something,” she whispered, and suddenly looked up at him. “Listen, tell me whom I love? I love one man here. Who is it? You tell me.” A smile lighted on her face swollen with tears, her eyes shone in the semidarkness. “Tonight a falcon walked in, and my heart sank inside me. ‘You fool, this is the one you love,’ my heart whispered to me at once. You walked in and brightened everything. ‘What is he afraid of?’ I thought. And you really were afraid, quite afraid, you couldn’t speak. ‘He’s not afraid of them--how can he be afraid of anyone? It’s me he’s afraid of, just me.’ But Fenya did tell you, you little fool, how I shouted to Alyosha out the window that I loved Mitenka for one hour, and am now going off to love...another. Mitya, Mitya, how could I be such a fool to think I could love another after you! Do you forgive me, Mitya? Do you forgive me or not? Do you love me? Do you?”
She jumped up and grasped him by the shoulders with both hands. Mute with rapture, Mitya gazed into her eyes, at her face, her smile, and suddenly, embracing her firmly, began kissing her.
“Will you forgive me for tormenting you? I tormented all of you from spite. I drove that old man out of his mind on purpose, just from spite...Do you remember how you once drank at my place and broke the glass? I remembered it, and today I, too, broke a glass as I drank to ‘my base heart.’ Mitya, my falcon, why aren’t you kissing me? You kissed me once and tore yourself away, to look, to listen...Why listen to me! Kiss me, kiss me harder, like this! Let’s love, if we’re going to love! I’ll be your slave now, your lifelong slave! It’s sweet to be a slave…! Kiss me! Beat me, torment me, do something to me...Oh, how I deserve to be tormented...Stop! Wait, not now, I don’t want it to be like that…,” she suddenly pushed him away. “Go, Mitka, I’ll drink wine now, I want to get drunk, I’m going to get drunk and dance, I want to, I want to!”
She broke away from him and went out through the curtain. Mitya followed after her like a drunk man. “Come what may, whatever happens now, I’ll give the whole world for one minute,” flashed through his head. Grushenka indeed drank another glass of champagne at one gulp and suddenly became very tipsy. She sat in her former place, in the armchair, with a blissful smile. Her cheeks were glowing, her lips were burning, her bright eyes turned bleary, her passionate gaze beckoned. Even Kalganov felt a stab in his heart and went up to her.
“Did you feel how I kissed you while you were sleeping?” she babbled to him. “I’m drunk now, that’s what...And you, aren’t you drunk? And why isn’t Mitya drinking? Why aren’t you drinking, Mitya? I drank and you’re not drinking…”
“I’m drunk! Drunk anyway...drunk with you, and now I’m going to get drunk with wine.” He drank another glass and--he found it strange himself--only this last glass made him drunk, suddenly drunk, though until then he had been sober, he remembered that. From then on everything began whirling around him as in delirium. He walked, laughed, talked with everyone, all oblivious of himself, as it were. Only one fixed and burning feeling made itself known in him every moment, “like a hot coal in my heart,” as he recalled afterwards. He would go over to her, sit down by her, look at her, listen to her…
“You know how snow glistens at night, and there’s a new moon, and you feel as if you’re not on earth…”
Here, of course, it is immediately obvious that the young man’s decision to go at night, at almost eleven o’clock, to the house of a society lady who was a complete stranger to him, and perhaps get her out of bed, in order to ask her an--under the circumstances--astonishing question, was perhaps much more likely to cause a scandal than going to Fyodor Pavlovich. But it sometimes happens that way--especially in such cases--with the decisions of the most precise and phlegmatic people.
“Glory be to God!” she said in an ardent, emotional voice, and turning to Nikolai Parfenovich before sitting down, she added: “What he has just said, you must believe! I know him: when he babbles, he babbles, whether it’s for fun or out of stubbornness, but if it’s something against his conscience, he will never deceive you. He will speak the truth directly, you must believe that!”
She went out. Mitya was calm and even looked quite encouraged, but only for a moment. Some strange physical powerlessness was gradually overwhelming him. His eyes kept closing with fatigue. The interrogation of the witnesses finally came to an end. They moved on to the final editing of the transcript. Mitya got up, went from his chair to the corner, near the curtain, lay down on a large chest covered with a rug, and was asleep in a second. He had a strange sort of dream, somehow entirely out of place and out of time. It seemed he was driving somewhere in the steppe, in a place where he had served once long ago; he is being driven through the slush by a peasant, in a cart with a pair of horses. And it seems to Mitya that he is cold, it is the beginning of November, and snow is pouring down in big, wet flakes that melt as soon as they touch the ground. And the peasant is driving briskly, waving his whip nicely, he has a long, air beard, and he is not an old man, maybe around fifty, dressed in a gray peasant coat. And there is a village nearby--black, black huts, and half of the huts are burnt, just charred beams sticking up. And at the edge of the village there are peasant women standing along the road, many women, a long line of them, all of them thin, wasted, their faces a sort of brown color. Especially that one at the end--such a bony one, tall, looking as if she were forty, but she may be only twenty, with a long, thin face, and in her arms a baby is crying, and her breasts must be all dried up, not a drop of milk in them. And the baby is crying, crying, reaching out its bare little arms, its little fists somehow all blue from the cold.
“Why are they crying? Why are they crying?” Mitya asks, flying past them at a great clip.
“The wee one,” the driver answers, “it’s the wee one crying.” And Mitya is struck that he has said it in his own peasant way: “the wee one,” and not “the baby.” And he likes it that the peasant has said “wee one”: there seems to be more pity in it.
“But why is it crying?” Mitya insists, as if he were foolish, “why are its little arms bare, why don’t they wrap it up?”
“The wee one’s cold, its clothes are frozen, they don’t keep it warm.”
“But why is it so? Why?” foolish Mitya will not leave off.
“They’re poor, burnt out, they’ve got no bread, they’re begging for their burnt-down place.”
“No, no,” Mitya still seems not to understand, “tell me: why are these burnt-out mothers standing here, why are the people poor, why is the wee one poor, why is the steppe bare, why don’t they embrace and kiss, why don’t they sing joyful songs, why are they blackened with such black misery, why don’t they feed the wee one?”
And he feels within himself that, though his questions have no reason or sense, he still certainly wants to ask in just that way, and he should ask in just that way. And he also feels a tenderness such as he has never known before surging 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, so that the blackened, dried-up mother of the wee one will not cry either, so that there will be no more tears in anyone from that moment on, and it must be done at once, at once without delay and despite everything, with all his Karamazov unrestraint.
“And I am with you, too, I won’t leave you now, I will go with you for the rest of my life,” the dear, deeply felt words of Grushenka came from somewhere near him. And his whole heart blazed up and turned towards some sort of light, and he wanted to live and live, to go on and on along some path, towards the new, beckoning light, and to hurry, hurry, right now, at once!
“What? Where?” he exclaims, opening his eyes and sitting up on the chest, as if he were just coming out of a faint, and smiling brightly. Over him stands Nikolai Parfenovich, inviting him to listen to the transcript and sign it. Mitya guessed that he had slept for an hour or more, but he did not listen to Nikolai Parfenovich. It suddenly struck him that there was a pillow under his head, which, however, had not been there when he had sunk down powerlessly on the chest.
“Who put that pillow under my head? What good person did it?” he exclaimed with a sort of rapturous gratitude, in a sort of tear-filled voice, as though God knows what kindness had been shown him. The good man remained unidentified even later--perhaps one of the witnesses, or even Nikolai Parfenovich’s clerk, had arranged that a pillow be put under his head, out of compassion--but his whole soul was as if shaken with tears. He went up to the table and declared that he would sign whatever they wanted.
“I had a good dream, gentlemen,” he said somehow strangely, with a sort of new face, as if lit up with joy.
“God save you, dear boy, from ever asking forgiveness for your guilt from a woman you love! Especially from a woman you love, no matter how guilty you are before her! Because a woman--devil knows what a woman is, brother, I’m a good judge of that at least! Try going and confessing your guilt to her; say, ‘I’m guilty, forgive me, pardon me,’ and right then and there you’ll be showered with reproaches! She’ll never forgive you directly and simply, she’ll humble you in the dust, she’ll take away things that weren’t even there, she’ll take everything, she’ll forget nothing, she’ll add things of her own, and only then will she forgive you. And that’s the best of them, the best! She’ll scrape up the last scraps and heap them on your head--such bloodthirstiness just sits in them, I tell you, in all of them, to the last one, those angels without whom it’s even impossible for us to live! You see, my dear, I’ll tell you frankly and simply: every decent man ought to be under the heel of some woman at least. That’s my conviction; not a conviction, but a feeling. A man ought to be magnanimous, and that’s no stain on a man. It’s no stain even on a hero, even on Caesar! Well, but still don’t go asking forgiveness, not ever, not for anything. Remember that rule: it was taught you by your brother Mitya, who perished because of women. No, I’d better restore myself in Grusha’s eyes some other way, without forgiveness. I rever here, Alexei, revere her! Only she doesn’t see it, no, it’s still not enough love for her. And she frets me, she frets me with her love. Before it was nothing! Before it was just her infernal curves that fretted me, but now I’ve taken her whole soul into my soul, and through her I’ve become a man! Will they let us be married? Without that I’ll die of jealousy. I keep imagining something every day...What did she say to you about me?”
Such spongers, gentlemen of agreeable nature, who can tell a story or two and play a hand of cards, and who decidedly dislike having any tasks thrust upon them, are usually single, either bachelors or widowers, and if they have children, the children are always brought up somewhere far away, by some aunts, whom the gentleman hardly ever mentions in decent company, as though somewhat ashamed of such relations.
And, after all, who knows whether proof of the devil is also proof of God?
You are the embodiment of myself, but of just one side of me...of my thoughts and feelings, but only the most loathsome and stupid of them.
“I beg your pardon, I’m going to catch you now: earlier, under the streetlamp, when you jumped on Alyosha and shouted: ‘You learned it from him! How do you know that he has been coming to me?’ You were thinking of me then. It means that for one little moment you believed, you did believe that I really am,” the gentleman laughed softly.
“How philosophize, when my whole right side was numb, and I was moaning and groaning. I called on the entire medical profession: they diagnose beautifully, they tell you all that’s wrong with you one-two-three, but they can’t cure you. There happened to be one enthusiastic little student: even if you die, he said, at least you’ll have a thorough knowledge of what disease you died of! Then, too, they have this way of sending you to specialists: we will give you our diagnosis, they say, then go to such and such a specialist and he will cure you. I tell you, the old-fashioned doctor who treated all diseases has completely disappeared, now there are only specialists, and they advertise all the time in the newspapers. If your nose hurts, they send you to Paris: there’s a European specialist there, he treats noses. You go to Paris, he examines your nose: I can treat only your right nostril, he says, I don’t treat left nostrils, it’s not my specialty, but after me, go to Vienna, there’s a separate specialist there who will finish treating your left nostril. What is one to do? I resorted to folk remedies, one German doctor advised me to take a steam bath and rub myself with honey and salt. I did it, only for the chance of having an extra bath: I got myself all sticky, and to no avail. In desperation I wrote to Count Mattei in Milan; he sent me a book and some drops, God help him. And imagine, what cured me was Hoff’s extract of malt! I accidentally bought some, drank a glass and a half, and could even have danced--everything went away. I was absolutely determined to thank him publicly in the newspapers, the feeling of gratitude was crying out in me, but, imagine, that led to another story: not one publisher would take it! ‘It would be too retrograde, no one will believe it, le diable n’existe point.’ They advised me to publish it anonymously. Well, what good is a ‘thank you’ if it’s anonymous? I had a laugh with the clerks: ‘In our day,’ I said, ‘what’s retrograde is believing in God; but I am the devil, it’s all right to believe in me.’ ‘We understand,’ they said, ‘who doesn’t believe in the devil? But all the same we can’t do it, it might harm our tendency. Or perhaps only as a joke?’ Well, I thought, as a joke it wouldn’t be very witty. So they simply didn’t publish it. And would you believe that it still weighs on my heart? My best feelings, gratitude, for example, are formally forbidden solely because of my social position.’
“By some pre-temporal assignment, which I have never been able to figure out, I am appointed ‘to negate,’ whereas I am sincerely kind and totally unable to negate. No, they say, go and negate, without negation there will be no criticism, and what sort of journal has no ‘criticism section’? Without criticism, there would be nothing but ‘Hosannah.’ But ‘Hosannah’ alone is not enough for life, it is necessary that this ‘Hosannah’ pass through the crucible of doubt, and so on, in the same vein. I don’t meddle with any of that, by the way, I didn’t create it, and I can’t answer for it. So they chose themselves a scapegoat, they made me write for the criticism section, and life came about. We understand this comedy: I, for instance, demand simply and directly that I be destroyed. No, they say, live, because without you there would be nothing. If everything on earth were sensible, nothing would happen. Without you there would be no events, and there must be events. And so I serve grudgingly, for the sake of events, and I do the unreasonable on orders. People take this whole comedy for something serious, despite all their undeniable intelligence. That is their tragedy. Well, they suffer, of course, but...still they live, they live really, not in fantasy; for suffering is life. Without suffering, what pleasure would there be in it--everything would turn into an endless prayer service: holy, but a bit dull. And me? I suffer, and still I do not live. I am an x in an indeterminate equation. I am some sort of ghost of life who has lost all ends and beginnings, and I’ve finally even forgotten what to call myself. You’re laughing...no, you’re not laughing, you’re angry again. You’re eternally angry, you want reason only, but I will repeat to you once more that I would give all of that life beyond the stars, all ranks and honors, only to be incarnated in the soul of a two-hundred-and-fifty-pound merchant’s wife and light candles to God.”
“I myself, gentlemen of the jury, have resorted to psychology now, in order to demonstrate that one can draw whatever conclusions one likes from it. It all depends on whose hands it is in. Psychology prompts novels even from the most serious people, and quite unintentionally. I am speaking of excessive psychology, gentlemen of the jury, of a certain abuse of it.”
“Yes, it is a horrible thing to shed a father’s blood--his blood who begot me, his blood who loved me, his life’s blood who did not spare himself for me, who from childhood ached with my aches, who all his life suffered for my happiness and lived only in my joys, my successes! Oh, to kiss such a father--who could even dream of it! Gentlemen of the jury, what is a father, a real father, what does this great word mean, what terribly great idea is contained in this appellation? We have just indicated something of what a true father is and ought to be. In the present case, with which all of us are now so involved, for which our souls ache--in the present case the father, the late Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov, in no way fitted the idea of a father that has just spoken to our hearts. That is a calamity. Yes, indeed, some fathers are like a calamity. Let us examine this calamity more closely--we must not be afraid of anything, gentlemen of the jury, in view of the importance of the impending decision. We more especially ought not to be afraid now, or, so to speak, to wave certain ideas away, like children or frightened women, as the highly talented prosecutor happily expressed it. Yet in his ardent speech my esteemed opponent (my opponent even before I uttered my first word) exclaimed several times: ‘No, I shall not turn over the defense of the accused to anyone, I shall not yield his defense to the defense attorney from Petersburg--I am both prosecutor and defender!’ So he exclaimed several times, and yet he forgot to mention that if this terrible defendant was, for all of twenty-three years, so grateful just for one pound of nuts given him as a child by the only man who was ever nice to him in his paternal home, then, conversely, such a man could not fail to remember, for all those twenty-three years, how his father had him running around barefoot ‘in the backyard, without any shoes, his little britches hanging by one button,’ as the philanthropic Dr. Herzenstube put it. Oh, gentlemen of the jury, why need we examine this ‘calamity’ more closely, why repeat what everyone already knows! What did my client meet when he came home to his father? And why, why portray my client as heartless, as an egoist, a monster? He is unbridled, he is wild and stormy, that is why we are trying him now, but who is responsible for his destiny, who is responsible that for all his good inclinations, his noble, sensitive heart, he received such an absurd upbringing? Did anyone teach him any sense at all, has he been enlightened by learning, did anyone give him at least a little love in his childhood? My client grew up in God’s keeping--that is, like a wild beast. Perhaps he longed to see his father after so many years of separation; perhaps a thousand times before then, recalling his childhood as if in sleep, he had driven away the loathsome ghosts of his childhood dreams, and longed with all his soul to vindicate his father and embrace him! And now what? He meets with nothing but cynical jeers, suspiciousness, and pettifoggery over the disputed money; all he hears daily, ‘over the cognac,’ are talk and worldly precepts that make him sick at heart; and, finally, he beholds his father stealing his mistress away from him, from his own son, and with the son’s own money--oh, gentlemen of the jury, this is loathsome and cruel! And this same old man complains to everyone about the irreverence and cruelty of his son, besmirches him in society, injures him, slanders him, buys up his promissory notes in order to put him in jail! Gentlemen of the jury, these souls, these people who seem hardhearted, stormy, and unrestrained, people like my client, sometimes, and indeed most often, are extremely tenderhearted, only they keep it hidden. Do not laugh, do not laugh at my idea! Earlier the talented prosecutor laughed mercilessly at my client, pointing to his love for Schiller, his love for ‘the beautiful and lofty.’ I should not laugh at that if I were him, if I were a prosecutor! Yes, these hearts--oh, let me defend these hearts, which are so rarely and so wrongly understood--these hearts quite often thirst for what is tender, for what is beautiful and righteous, precisely the contrary, as it were, of themselves, of their storminess, their cruelty--thirst for it unconsciously, precisely thirst for it. Outwardly passionate and cruel, they are capable, for instance, of loving a woman to the point of torment, and inevitably with a lofty and spiritual love. Again, do not laugh at me: it most often happens precisely so with such natures! Only they are unable to conceal their passion, at times very coarse--and that is what strikes everyone, that is what everyone notices, and no one sees the inner man. On the contrary, all such passions are quickly spent, but at the side of a noble, beautiful being this apparently coarse and cruel man seeks renewal, seeks the chance to reform, to become better, to become lofty and honest--’lofty and beautiful, much ridiculed though the phrase may be! I said earlier that I would not venture to touch on my client’s romance with Miss Verkhovtsev. Yet I may allow myself half a word: what we heard earlier was not testimony, but only the cry of a frenzied and vengeful woman, and it is not for her, no, it is not for her to reproach him with betrayal, because she herself has betrayed him! If she had had a little time to think better of it, she would not have given such testimony! Oh, do not believe her, no, my client is not a ‘monster,’ as she called him! The crucified lover of mankind, as he was going to his cross, said: ‘I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep, so that not one will be destroyed…’ Let us, too, not destroy a human soul! What is a father, I was asking just now, and exclaimed that it is a great word, a precious appellation: such a father as the murdered old Karamazov cannot and does not deserve to be called a father. Love for a father that is not justified by the father is an absurdity, an impossibility. Love cannot be created out of nothing: only God creates out of nothing. ‘Fathers, provoke not your children,’ writes the apostle, from a heart aflame with love. I quote these holy words now not for the sake of my client, but as a reminder to all fathers. Who has empowered me to teach fathers? No one. But as a man and citizen I call out--vivos voco! We are not long on this earth, we do many evil deeds and say many evil words. And therefore let us all seize the favorable moment of our being together in order to say a good word to each other as well. And so I do; while I am in this place, I make the best of my moment. Not in vain is this tribune given us by a higher will--from here we can be heard by the whole of Russia. I speak not only to fathers here, but to all fathers I cry out: ‘Fathers, provoke not your children!’ Let us first fulfill Christ’s commandment ourselves, and only then let us expect the same of our children. Otherwise we are not fathers but enemies of our children, and they are not our children but our enemies, and we ourselves have made them our enemies! ‘With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you’--it is not I who say this, it is the Gospel precept: measure with the same measure as it is measured to you. How can we blame our children if they measure to us with our own measure? Recently in Finland a girl, a servant, was suspected of secretly giving birth to a baby. They began watching her, and in the attic of the house, in a corner, behind some bricks, found her chest, which no one knew about, opened it, and took out of it the little body of a newborn baby that she had killed. In the same chest were found two skeletons of babies she had given birth to previously and killed at the moment of birth, as she confessed. Gentlemen of the jury, was she a mother to her children? Yes, she gave birth to them, but was she a mother to them? Would any one of us dare pronounce over her the sacred name of mother? Let us be brave, gentlemen of the jury, let us even be bold, it is even our duty to be so in the present moment and not to be afraid of certain words and ideas, like Moscow merchants’ wives who are afraid of ‘metal’ and ‘brimstone.’ No, let us prove, on the contrary, that the progress of the past few years has touched our development as well, and let us say straight out: he who begets is not yet a father; a father is he who begets and proves worthy of it. Oh, of course, there is another meaning, another interpretation of the word ‘father, which insists that my father, though a monster, though a villain to his children, is still my father simply because he begot me. But this meaning is, so to speak, a mystical one, which I do not understand with my reason, but can only accept by faith, or, more precisely, on faith, like many other things that I do not understand, but that religion nonetheless tell me to believe. But in that case let it remain outside the sphere of real life. While within the sphere of real life, which not only has its rights, but itself imposes great obligations--within this sphere, if we wish to be humane, to be Christians finally, it is our duty and obligation to foster only those convictions that are justified by reason and experience, that have passed through the crucible of analysis, in a word, to act sensibly and not senselessly as in dreams or delirium, so as not to bring harm to a man, so as not to torment and ruin a man. Then, then it will be a real Christian deed, not only a mystical one, but a sensible and truly philanthropic deed…”
At this point loud applause broke out in many parts of the hall, but Fetyukovich even waved his hands, as if begging not to be interrupted and to be allowed to finish. Everything at once became hushed. The orator went on:
“Do you think, gentlemen of the jury, that such questions can pass our children by, let’s say, if they are now adolescents, let’s say, if they are now beginning to reason? No, they cannot, and let us not ask such impossible forbearance of them! The sight of an unworthy father, especially in comparison with other fathers, fathers worthy of their children, his own peers, involuntarily presents a young man with tormenting questions. To these questions he receives the conventional answer: ‘He begot you, you are of his blood, that is why you must love him.’ The young man involuntarily begins thinking: ‘But did he love me when he was begetting me,’ he asks, wondering more and more. ‘Did he beget me for my own sake? He did not know me, not even my sex at the moment, the moment of passion, probably heated up with wine, and probably all he did for me was pass on to me an inclination to drink--so much for his good deeds...Why should I love him just because he begot me and then never loved me all my life?’ Oh, perhaps to you these questions appear coarse, cruel, but do not demand impossible forbearance from a young mind: ‘Drive nature out the door and it will fly back in the window’--and above all, above all, let us not be afraid of ‘metal’ and ‘brimstone,’ let us decide the question as reason and the love of man dictate, and not as dictated by mystical notions. How decide it, then? Here is how: let the son stand before his father and ask him reasonably: ‘Father, tell me, why should I love you? Father, prove to me that I should love you’--and if the father can, if he is able to answer and give him proof, then we have a real, normal family, established not just on mystical prejudice, but on reasonable, self-accountable, and strictly humane foundations. In the opposite case, if the father can give no proof--the family is finished then and there: he is not a father to his son, and the son is free and has the right henceforth to look upon his father as a stranger and even as his enemy. Our tribune, gentlemen of the jury, should be a school of truth and sensible ideas.”
Here the orator was interrupted by unrestrained, almost frenzied applause. Of course, the whole room did not applaud, but still about half the room applauded. Fathers and mothers applauded. From above, where the ladies were sitting, shrieks and cries could be heard. Handkerchiefs were waved. The presiding judge began ringing the bell as hard as he could. He was obviously annoyed with the behavior of the courtroom, but decidedly did not dare “clear” the court, as he had recently threatened to do: even the dignitaries, the old men with stars on their frock coats, who were sitting on special chairs behind the judges, were applauding and waving handkerchiefs to the orator, so that when the noise died down, the judge contented himself merely with repeating his strict promise to clear the court, and the triumphant and excited Fetyukovich began to go on with his speech.
“Gentlemen of the jury, you remember that terrible night of which so much has been said today, when the son climbed over the fence, got into his father’s house, and finally stood face to face with the enemy and offender who begot him. I insist as strongly as I can--he did not come running for money then: the accusation of robbery is an absurdity, as I have already explained before. And he did not break into his house in order to kill him, oh no: if that had been his premeditated intention, he would at least have seen to the weapon beforehand, but he grabbed the brass pestle instinctively, not knowing why himself. Suppose he did deceive his father with the signals, suppose he did get in--I have already said that I do not for a moment believe this legend, but very well, let us suppose it for the moment! Gentlemen of the jury, I swear to you by all that’s holy, if it had not been his father but some other offender, then, having run through the rooms and made sure that the woman was not in the house, he would have run away as fast as he could, without doing his rival any harm; he might have hit him, pushed him aside, but that would be all, because he could not be bothered with that, he had no time, he had to find out where she was. But his father, his father--oh, it was all because of the sight of his father, his enemy, his offender, who had hated him from childhood, and now--his monstrous rival! A feeling of hatred took hold of him involuntarily, unrestrainably; to reason was impossible: everything surged up in a moment! It was madness and insanity, a fit of passion, but a natural fit of passion, avenging its eternal laws unrestrainably and unconsciously, like all things in nature. But even then the killer did not kill--I assert it, I cry it aloud--no, he merely swung the pestle in disgusted indignation, not wishing to kill, not knowing that he would kill. Had it not been for that fatal pestle in his hand, he would perhaps only have beaten his father, and not killed him. He did not know as he ran away whether the old man he had struck down was killed or not. Such a murder is not a murder. Such a murder is not a parricide, either. No, the murder of such a father cannot be called parricide. Such a murder can be considered parricide only out of prejudice! But was there, was there indeed any murder--again and again I call out to you from the bottom of my soul! Gentlemen of the jury, we shall condemn him, and then he will say to himself: ‘These people did nothing for my destiny, my upbringing, my education, nothing to make me better, to make a man of me. These people did not give me to eat, they did not give me to drink, I lay naked in prison and they did not visit me, and now they have exiled me to penal servitude. I am quits, I owe them nothing now, and I owe nothing to anyone unto ages of ages. They are wicked, and I shall be wicked. They are cruel, and I shall be cruel.’ That is what he will say, gentlemen of the jury! And I swear: with your verdict you will only ease him, ease his conscience, he will curse the blood he has shed and not regret it. Along with that you will destroy the still-possible man in him, for he will remain wicked and blind for the rest of his life. No, if you want to punish him terribly, fearfully, with the most horrible punishment imaginable, but so as to save and restore his soul forever--then overwhelm him with your mercy! You will see, you will hear how his soul will tremble and be horrified: ‘Is it for me to endure this mercy, for me to be granted so much love, and am I worthy of it?’ he will exclaim! Oh, I know, I know that heart, it is a wild but noble heart, gentlemen of the jury. It will bow down before your deed, it thirsts for a great act of love, it will catch fire and resurrect forever. There are souls that in their narrowness blame the whole world. But overwhelm such a soul with mercy, give it love, and it will curse what it has done, for there are so many germs of good in it. The soul will expand and behold how merciful God is, and how beautiful and just people are. He will be horrified, he will be overwhelmed with repentance and the countless debt he must henceforth repay. And then he will not say, ‘I am quits,’ but will say, ‘I am guilty before all people and am the least worthy of all people.’ In tears of repentance and burning, suffering tenderness he will exclaim: ‘People are better than I, for they wished not to ruin but to save me!’ Oh, it is so easy for you to do it, this act of mercy, for in the absence of any evidence even slightly resembling the truth, it will be too difficult for you to say: ‘Yes, guilty.’ It is better to let ten who are guilty go, than to punish one who is innocent--do you hear, do you hear this majestic voice from the last century of our glorious history? Is it for me, insignificant as I am, to remind you that the Russian courts exist not only for punishment but also for the salvation of the ruined man! Let other nations have the letter and punishment, we have the spirit and meaning, the salvation and regeneration of the lost. And if so, if such indeed are Russia and her courts, then--onward, Russia! And do not frighten us, oh, do not frighten us with your mad troikas, which all nations stand aside from in disgust! Not a mad troika, but a majestic Russian chariot will arrive solemnly and peacefully at its goal. In your hands is the fate of my client, in your hands is also the fate of our Russian truth. You will save it, you will champion it, you will prove that there are some to preserve it, that is in good hands!”
“I was terribly struck that Ivan Fyodorovich, who was still jealous over me and still convinced that I loved Mitya, nonetheless did not abandon the idea of saving his brother, and entrusted me, me myself, with saving him!”
“Listen, brother, once and for all,” he said, “here are my thoughts about it. And you know very well I won’t lie to you. Listen, then: you’re not ready, and such a cross is not for you. Moreover, unready as you are, you don’t need such a great martyr’s cross. If you had killed father, I would regret that you rejected your cross. But you’re innocent, and such a cross is too much for you. You wanted to regenerate another man in yourself through suffering; I say just remember that other man always, all your life, and wherever you escape to--and that is enough for you. That you did not accept that great cross will only serve to make you feel a still greater duty in yourself, and through this constant feeling from now on, all your life, you will do more for your regeneration, perhaps, than if you went there. Because there you will not endure, you will begin to murmur, and in the end you may really say: ‘I am quits.’ The attorney was right about that. Heavy burdens are not for everyone, for some they are impossible...These are my thoughts, if you need them so much. If others had to answer for your escape--officers, soldiers--then I ‘would not allow’ you to flee,” Alyosha smiled. “But they tell me and assure me (the head man there told Ivan himself) that if it’s managed well, there won’t be much penalty, and they can get off lightly. Of course, bribery is dishonest even in this case, but I wouldn’t make myself a judge here for anything, since, as a matter of fact, if Ivan and Katya asked me to take charge of it for you, for example, I know I would go and bribe; I must tell you the whole truth here. And therefore I am no judge of you in how you yourself act. But know, too, that I will never condemn you. And it would be strange, wouldn’t it, for me to be your judge in these things? Well, I think I’ve covered everything.”
“Put me out of my misery, Alyosha!” he exclaimed suddenly. “Is she coming now or not, tell me! What did she say? How did she say it?”
“She said she would come, but I don’t know about today. It’s really hard for her!” Alyosha looked timidly at his brother.
“Of course it is, of course it’s hard for her! Alyosha, this is driving me crazy. Grusha keeps looking at me. She knows. Lord God, humble me: what am I asking for? I’m asking for Katya! Do I realize what I am asking? This impious Karamazov unrestraint! No, I’m not fit for suffering! A scoundrel, that says it all!”
“Here she is!” exclaimed Alyosha.
At that moment Katya suddenly appeared in the doorway. She stopped for a second, gazing at Mitya with a sort of lost expression. He jumped impetuously to his feet, a frightened look came to his face, he turned pale, but at once a shy, pleading smile flashed on his lips, and suddenly, irrepressibly, he reached out to Katya with both hands. Seeing this, she rushed impetuously to him. She seized his hands and almost by force sat him down on the bed, sat down beside him, and, still holding his hands, kept squeezing them strongly, convulsively. Several times they both tried to say something, but checked themselves and again sat silently, their eyes as if fastened on each other, gazing at each other with a strange smile; thus about two minutes passed.
“Have you forgiven or not?” Mitya murmured at last, and at the same moment, turning to Alyosha, his face distorted with joy, he cried to him:
“Do you hear what I’m asking, do you hear?”
“That’s why I loved you, for your magnanimous heart!” escaped suddenly from Katya. “And you do not need my forgiveness, nor I yours; it’s all the same whether you forgive or not, all my life you will remain a wound in my soul, and I in yours--that’s how it should be…,” she stopped to catch her breath.
“Why have I come” she began again, frenziedly and hastily. “To embrace your feet, to squeeze your hands, like this, till it hurts--remember how I used to squeeze them in Moscow?--to say to you that you are my God, my joy, to tell you that I love you madly,” she nearly groaned from suffering, and suddenly, greedily pressed her lips to his hand. Tears streamed from her eyes.
Alyosha stood speechless and embarrassed; he had never expected to see what he was seeing.
“Love is gone, Mitya!” Katya began again, “but what is gone is painfully dear to me. Know that, for all eternity. But now, for one minute, let it be as it might have been,” she prattled with a twisted smile, again looking joyfully into his eyes. “You now love another, I love another, but still I shall love you eternally, and you me, did you know that? Love me, do you hear, love me all your life!” she exclaimed with some sort of almost threatening tremor in her voice.
“I shall love you, and...you know, Katya,” Mitya also began to speak, catching his breath at each word, “five days ago, that evening, you know, I loved you...When you collapsed, and they carried you out...All my life! It will be so, eternally so…”
Thus they prattled to each other, and their talk was frantic, almost senseless, and perhaps also not even truthful, but at that moment everything was truth, and they both utterly believed what they were saying.
“Katya,” Mitya suddenly exclaimed, “do you believe I killed him? I know you don’t believe it now, but then...when you were testifying...Did you, did you really believe it!”
“I did not believe it then either! I never believed it! I hated you, and suddenly I persuaded myself, for that moment...While I was testifying...I persuaded myself and believed it...and as soon as I finished testifying, I stopped believing it again. You must know all that. I forgot that I came here to punish myself!” she said with some suddenly quite new expression, quite unlike her prattling of love just a moment before.
“It’s hard for you, woman!” suddenly escaped somehow quite unrestrainably from Mitya.
“Let me go,” she whispered, “I’ll come again, it’s hard now…!”
She got up from her place, but suddenly gave a loud cry and drew back. All at once, though very quietly, Grushenka came into the room. No one was expecting her. Katya stepped swiftly towards the door, but, coming up with Grushenka, she suddenly stopped, turned white as chalk, and softly, almost in a whisper, moaned to her:
The other woman stared her in the face and, pausing for a moment, answered in a venomous voice, poisoned with wickedness:
“We are wicked, sister, you and I! We’re both wicked! It’s not for us to forgive! Save him, and I’ll pray to you all my life.”
“You don’t want to forgive!” Mitya cried to Grushenka with wild reproach.
“Don’t worry, I’ll save him for you!” Katya whispered quickly, and she ran out of the room.
“But how could you not forgive her, after she herself said ‘Forgive me’ to you?” Mitya again exclaimed bitterly.
“Mitya, do not dare to reproach her, you have no right!” Alyosha shouted hotly at his brother.
“It was her proud lips speaking, not her heart,” Grushenka said with a sort of loathing. “If she delivers you--I’ll forgive everything…”
She fell silent, as if she had quelled something in her soul. She still could not recover herself. She had come in, as it turned out later, quite by chance, suspecting nothing, and not at all expecting to meet what she met.
“Alyosha, run after her!” Mitya turned swiftly to his brother, “tell her...I don’t know what...don’t let her go away like that!”
“I’ll come to you before evening!” cried Alyosha, and he ran after Katya. He caught up with her outside the hospital gate. She was walking briskly, hurrying, but as soon as Alyosha caught up with her, she quickly said to him:
“No, I cannot punish myself before that one! I said ‘forgive me’ to her because I wanted to punish myself to the end. She did not forgive...I love her for that!” Katya added in a distorted voice, and her eyes flashed with savage wickedness.
“My brother did not expect her at all,” Alyosha began muttering, “he was sure she would not come…”
“No doubt. Let’s drop it,” she cut him short. “Listen: I can’t go with you to the funeral now. I sent them flowers for the coffin. They still have money, I think. If need be, tell them that in the future I shall never abandon them...Well, leave me now, please leave me. You’re late going there as it is, they’re already ringing for the late service...Leave me, please!”
“You must know that there is nothing higher, or stronger, or sounder, or more useful afterwards in life, than some good memory, especially a memory from childhood, from the parental home. You hear a lot said about your education, yet some such beautiful, sacred memory, preserved from childhood, is perhaps the best education. If a man stores up many such memories to take into life, then he is saved for his whole life. And even if only one good memory remains with us in our hearts, that alone may serve some day for our salvation. Perhaps we will even become wicked later on, will even be unable to resist a bad action, will laugh at people’s tears and at those who say, as Koly exclaimed today: ‘I want to suffer for all people--perhaps we will scoff wickedly at such people. And yet, no matter how wicked we may be--and God preserve us from it--as soon as we remember how we buried Ilyusha, how we loved him in his last days, and how we’ve been talking just now, so much as friends, so together, by this stone, the most cruel and jeering man among us, if we should become so, will still not dare laugh within himself at how kind and good he was at this present moment!...”