About the work
The novel “The Brothers Karamazov” by Dostoevsky, written in 1880, was conceived by the writer as the first part of the epic work “The Story of a Great Sinner”. However, the creative plans of Fyodor Mikhailovich did not come true – two months after the publication of the book, he died.
For the readers’ diary and preparation for the lesson of literature, we recommend reading the summary of the Karamazov Brothers online in chapters and parts. Also, to test knowledge on our website, you can take a special test.
Fedor Pavlovich Karamazov – The head of the Karamazov family, a small landowner, a depraved, greedy, selfish old man.
Dmitry Fedorovich (Mitya) – The eldest son of Karamazov, a drunkard, a reveler, a rowdy, a man with unbridled passions.
Ivan Fedorovich – the middle son, discreet, rational, in whose soul there is a struggle between faith in God and his denial.
Alexey Fedorovich – The youngest son, sincere, honest, deeply religious young man.
Katerina Ivanovna – Mitya’s bride, proud, resolute, sacrificial girl.
Grushenka – the cohabitant of a rich merchant, mean, calculating young woman, a subject of hostility between old man Karamazov and Mitya.
Zosima – the elder, mentor Alyosha, who foresaw the plight of Mitya.
Smerdyakov – a young footman in the house of Karamazov the elder, his illegitimate son, a cruel, angry man.
Mrs. Khokhlakova – a widow, a landowner, a neighbor of the Karamazovs, whose daughter Liza is in love with Alyosha.
Petr Aleksandrovich Miusov – Uncle Mitya, a nobleman, an enlightened intellectual.
Book One. The story of one family
I. Fedor Pavlovich Karamazov
The first wife of Fyodor Pavlovich was a girl from a noble noble family of the Miusovs. From a despotic husband, a young woman fled to St. Petersburg, “leaving Fyodor Pavlovich in the arms of three-year-old Mitya,” and later died from typhoid fever.
Ii. First son shoved
The boy was taken up by his great-uncle, Pyotr Aleksandrovich Miusov. Growing up, Mitya tried to get a maternal inheritance from his father. Fyodor Pavlovich began to “get rid of small handouts, temporary expulsions”, and four years later he declared that all the money had run out.
Iii. Second marriage and second children
Giving Mitya to be brought up, Fyodor Pavlovich “very soon after that got married a second time.” This time he chose an unresponsive orphan who gave him two sons, Ivan and Alexey. After a while, the second wife also died, unable to bear the difficult married life with Karamazov.
Iv. Third son Alesha
Everybody “loved Alesha, wherever he appeared, and this is from the very childhood even his years”. Growing up, “chaste and clean” the young man decided to leave a novice in a monastery. This choice was made by Alyosha under the influence of the elder Zosima.
The conflict between Dmitry and Fyodor Pavlovich over the inheritance is heating up to the limit. Then Aleksey invites the whole family to meet with the elder Zosima and discuss the problem together.
Book two. Inappropriate meeting
I. Arrived at the monastery
The whole Karamazov family gathers at the monastery, as well as Peter Miusov, the guardian of Dmitry. The whole company agrees to “behave decently here.”
Ii. Stry jester
In Zosima’s cell, a verbal skirmish takes place between Peter Miusov and the elder Karamazov. Pyotr Aleksandrovich apologizes to the elder for Fedor Pavlovich’s misbehavior.
Iii. Believers women
The elder asks the attendees for permission to leave for a short time, “in order to bless those who expected him.”
In a small annex there are crowds of women who come to the old man with their troubles. Zosima listens to everyone, comforts and blesses.
Iv. Little lady
A landowner Khokhlakova comes to the elder, who is recognized in the absence of true faith. The elder replies that faith is achieved by the experience of active love.
V. Wake up! Wake up
During the absence of an old man in the cell, a heated argument arises between Ivan Fedorovich, Peter Miusov and two hieromonks on religious themes.
Vi. Why does such a person live!
Fyodor Pavlovich scandalous, accusing the eldest son of wasting maternity capital and his love affairs – bringing with him a bride, Katerina Ivanovna, he, according to his father, “goes to a local deceiver here”.
“The scene that has reached a disgrace” ends with Zosima swearing at Dmitry’s feet.
VII. Seminarist careerist
Left alone with Alyosha, Zosima punishes him after his death to leave the monastery. He blesses him “for great obedience in the world” and predicts great happiness in great sorrow.
Miusov and several hieromonkhov and the local landowner receive an invitation to dine with the abbot. Fyodor Pavlovich finally decides to foul up. He breaks into the hegumen and insults all those present, including the clergy.
Book three. Voluptics
I. In a servile
Fyodor Pavlovich is served only by three people: “Old Gregory, old Martha, his wife, and the servant of Smerdyakov, still a young man.” Gregory is an honest and incorruptible servant who, despite the persistent persuasions of his wife, does not leave his master.
Ii. Lizaveta stinking
25 years ago, Gregory stumbled upon a local holy fool in the bathhouse – stinking Lizaveta, who had just given birth to a baby. Everything indicated that the baby was the illegitimate son of Fyodor Pavlovich. Karamazov allowed to leave the child, and christened him Pavel Fedorovich Smerdyakov. Having matured, the boy became a lackey in the house of the Karamazovs.
Iii. Confession of a hot heart. In verse
Alyosha meets his older brother, who confesses that he “happened to plunge into the deepest, most deep shame of depravity,” and in his hearts reads him a hymn to the joy of Schiller.
Iv. Confession of a hot heart. In jokes
Dmitry talks about his acquaintance with Katerina Ivanovna. Upon learning that her father, the lieutenant colonel squandered public money, Dmitry offered the required amount in exchange for her girlish honor. For the sake of saving her father, Katerina Ivanovna was ready to sacrifice herself, but Dmitriy gave the girl money for free.
V. Confession of a hot heart. “Heels up”
Becoming a rich heir, Katerina returns the money to Dmitry. In addition, in the letter she confesses his love to him and proposes to marry her.
Dmitri agrees, but soon passionately falls in love with Grushenka, the mercenary cohabitant of the old merchant. For her sake, Mitya without hesitation is ready to leave his bride, and even kill his father – his main rival for the attention of the charming woman.
He asks Alyosha to visit Katerina and report that everything is over between them, since Mitya is “a low voluptuary and with irrepressible feelings a vile creature” who spent three thousand rubles of his bride for a revel with Grushenka.
Dmitry finds out that his father has a bag of money in store for Grushenka, if she decides to come to him. He asks Smerdyakov to immediately warn him if Grushenka appears in his father’s house.
Smerdyakov is a mean, brutal young man on his mind, suffering from seizures, who does not feel affection for anyone.
Alyosha comes to his father, where he finds his brother Ivan, Gregory and Smerdyakov, who courageously reason about matters of faith.
Viii. For brandy
Under the influence of cognac, Fyodor Pavlovich forgets that he is in the company of Ivan and Alyosha, and tells how cruelly humiliated their mother. From these words, Alesha begins a seizure.
At this moment, Dmitri bursts into the house in full confidence that his father hides Grushenka from him. In anger, he beats up an old man.
X. Both together
Alexey comes to Katerina and conveys the words of Dmitry about their break. However, Katerina Ivanovna is already aware of everything from an unexpected guest, Grushenka.
There is a scene between women, during which Grushenka shows all the meanness of her nature.
Xi. Another lost reputation
Alyosha receives a letter with a declaration of love from Liza, the sick daughter of landowner Khokhlakova. He rereads it three times and, happy, falls asleep with a “serene sleep.”
Book four. Tears
I. Father Ferapont
Father Ferapont lives in the monastery – the main rival of the elder Zosima. This is a “great fasting and silent”, stubbornly ignoring the old man.
Fyodor Pavlovich shares his plans with Alyosha: he does not intend to give money to any of his sons, because he is going to live for a long time and indulge in “sweet filth”.
Iii. Contacted schoolchildren
Along the way, Alesha stumbles upon a “handful of schoolchildren.” The six boys throw stones at a boy who is desperately trying to fend off them. Alyosha wants to protect him, but the embittered boy bites his finger.
In the house of Khokhlakovy Alesha finds Ivan and Katerina — an explanation takes place between them.
Lisa is happy to know that Alyosha took her love letter seriously and is ready to marry her “as the legal term comes.”
V. Tear in the living room
In Khokhlakovy, Alyosha is convinced that “Brother Ivan loves Katerina Ivanovna and, most importantly, he really intends to“ repel ”her from Mitya.” Ivan confesses her feelings, however, she receives a refusal.
Although Katerina now despises Dmitry, she intends to remain faithful to him to the end, even if he marries Grushenka.
From Katerina Alyosha learns that the other day Dmitry Fedorovich publicly insulted a retired staff captain Snegiryov. She asks to take him 200 rubles.
Vi. Tear in the hut
Having found “a dilapidated little house, twisted, just three windows into the street,” Alyosha discovers in it the Snegirev family mired in terrible poverty: the drunk head of the family, his feeble-minded wife, the crippled daughter and son – the boy who bit his finger.
VII. And in the clear air
Alyosha asks to accept 200 rubles from Katerina Ivanovna, but Snegirev tramples down banknotes fiercely – he does not intend to take payment for his shame.
Book five. Pro and contra
Alyosha returns to Khokhlakov. He talks to Lisa about love, about their common future. Ms. Hohlakova overhears this conversation.
Ii. Smerdyakov with a guitar
In search of Dmitry Alesh stumbles upon Smerdyakov. He tells him that both brothers, Ivan and Mitya, went to the tavern to talk about something.
Iii. Brothers get to know each other
Ivan talks with Alyosha, and for the first time communicates with him on an equal footing. He shares his plans – to go to Europe, to start a new life.
The brothers are taken to talk about the Most High, and Ivan is sure that “if the devil does not exist and, therefore, was created by man, then he created him in his own image and likeness.” Deep-believer Alyosha only whispers helplessly: “This is a rebellion.”
V. Grand Inquisitor
Ivan tells Alyosha a poem about the Grand Inquisitor who imprisoned Christ. He asks the son of God to deliver humanity from the agony of choice between good and evil. The Grand Inquisitor expects objections from Christ, but he silently kisses him.
Vi. Still very unclear
Ivan’s father finds Smerdyakov, who advises his master to leave this house as quickly as possible, in which, apparently, trouble will soon happen. He hints that he will have a “long fit” tomorrow.
VII. “It’s curious to talk to a clever man”
Ivan spends the whole night in contemplative thoughts, and in the morning he informs his father that in an hour he is leaving for Moscow. On the same day a footman happens to attack.
Book six. Russian monk
I. Starets Zosima and his guests
Alyosha comes to the dying Zosima. The elder punishes the young man to urgently find his older brother, Dmitry, in order to “warn him of something awful.”
Ii. From the life of the elder Zosima in the Bose of the reposed Yeroshimonakh, compiled from his own words by Alexei Fyodorovich Karamazov
The holy ascetic in the world belonged to a poor noble family. As an officer, he went to a duel, during which enlightenment fell upon him, after which he went to the monastery.
Iii. From the conversations and teachings of the elder Zosima
Zosima talks about life, and shares tips: do not forget about prayers, love your neighbor, ask God for fun, never judge anyone, work tirelessly.
Book of the seventh. Alesha
I. The wicked spirit
After the death of the old man, people are accustomed to “accusing the deceased old man during his lifetime as an undoubted and great saint” near his cell. A big disappointment for believers is the fact of rotting of an old man.
This circumstance hurries to take advantage of Ferapont, whose righteousness and holiness is no one in doubt.
Ii. Such a minute
For Alyosha, Zosima’s death day becomes “one of the most painful and fatal days” in his life.
Depressed, Alyosha is found by his friend Rakitin, and he persuades him to go to Grushenka.
Grushenka affectionately meets young people. She is especially pleased with Alyosha, and shamelessly jumps “on her knees like a caressing kitty.” However, Alyosha doesn’t react in any way to flirting with Grushenka – “the great sorrow of his soul absorbed all sensations”.
Iv. Cana of Galilee
Meanwhile, Alyosha returns to the hermitage, where she falls asleep at the tomb of Zosima. He dreams of an old man – he is happy and cheerful, and asks not to be afraid of death, not to be afraid of the Lord.
Book Eight Mitya
I. Kuzma Samsonov
In an attempt to find the right amount, Dmitry Fedorovich turns for advice “to the merchant Samsonov, the patron of Grushenka.” He, in turn, wants to play a trick on the unfaithful boyfriend and advises him to sell the grove to the forest buyer, nicknamed Lyagavy.
After a long tedious search, Mitya still finds Fallen. After the conversation, Mitya realizes that they have cruelly mocked him. Perpetual thoughts of Grushenka drive him back to the city.
Iii. Gold mines
Dmitry Fedorovich goes to Mrs. Khokhlakova in the hope of borrowing three thousand rubles from her. The landowner promises him “more, infinitely more than three thousand” – advice to take up gold mines.
Iv. In the dark
Tormented by fierce jealousy, Mitya goes to his father.
Gregory notices the runaway Mitya, and pursues him to the very fence. Without thinking twice, Mitya strikes the old man with a strong blow with a copper pestle, which he took from Grushenka.
V. Sudden solution
Dmitri, all soiled with blood, rushes in to official Perkhotin, to whom he had previously laid his pistols. He buys his weapon and goes in search of Grushenka to the neighboring village of Wet.
Vi. The food itself!
At the inn Dmitry finds Grushenka in the company of the Poles. He shows the owner the money and orders to call a Gypsy, music, champagne – Mitya is ready to cheat!
VII. Former and certain
Mitya makes it clear that he has only one night at his disposal, and he wants “music, thunder, din, everything that was before.” He joins the Poles and plays cards with them until the morning.
The night passes in a drunken stupor, an insane revelry, it resembles “something disorderly and ridiculous.” Early in the morning, a police officer and an investigator appear in the inn, and Mitya is arrested on suspicion of murdering his father.
Book of the ninth. Preliminary investigation
I. The beginning of the career of the official Perkhotin
The young official Perkhotin, impressed by the spectacle of the distraught, bloody Dmitry Fedorovich, decides that “he will now go straight to the police officer and will tell him everything.”
Perkhotin reports on the incident to the police officer, and insists that “to cover the criminal before he, perhaps, would in fact decide to shoot himself.”
Iii. Walking the soul through the ordeals. Ordeal first
Mitya refuses to confess to the murder of his father. He rejoices when he finds out that old Gregory was still alive after the injury he had inflicted.
During the interrogation, Mitya frankly confesses her hatred and jealousy towards his father, and this only exacerbates his difficult situation.
Iv. The ordeal is the second
Soon the interrogation annoys Mita. He is excited, shouting, withdraws into himself, insults the interrogated. However, he is explained what degree of harm he inflicts on himself, “refusing to give one or another testimony,” and the interrogation continues.
V. The Third Trial
Mitya is trying to remember all the details of the terrible evening. He confesses that the signs that Grushenka had to give to his father, he learned from Smerdyakov.
Vi. Prosecutor caught Mitya
The search of his personal belongings becomes humiliating for Mitya, but it is even harder for him to strip naked in front of strangers.
An irrefutable proof of the crime of Dmitry becomes a torn envelope from under three thousand, found in the bedroom of old Karamazov.
VII. The great mystery of Mitya. Whistled
Mitya is forced to admit that the money for which he smoked all night long was received from Katerina Ivanovna.
He is already fully aware that he has “disappeared”, and now he only cares about the fate of Grushenka.
Viii. Witness testimony. Baby
Interrogation of witnesses begins. Grushenka manages to convince Mitya that she is confident of his innocence. Thanks to this support, Mita “wants him to live and live, to go and go in some way, to a new calling light”.
Ix. Taken away Mitya
After signing the protocol, Mitya learns that “he is a prisoner from now on and that they will take him to the city now, where they will put him in one very unpleasant place”. The investigation will be continued in the city.
Book of the tenth. The boys
I. Kolya Krasotkin
Kolya Krasotkin “was dexterous, stubborn, daring and enterprising in spirit.” He was a great friend, and deservedly enjoyed the respect of his classmates.
Kohl is forced to look after two kids in the absence of their mother. This time this occupation does not give him joy – he is in a hurry on some important matter.
Kohl meets with his friend. They discuss Ilyusha, who was stoned with stones two months ago — the boy is seriously ill, and even “he cannot live a week”.
Friends go to Alesha Karamazov, with whom they want to talk.
Kohl tells Alyosha how Smerdyakov taught Ilya the “brutal joke, mean joke” – shove a pin in a bread crumb, and feed them a hungry yard dog. He fed such bread to the Bug, and for a long time could not come to his senses, remembering the torment of the unfortunate animal.
Even when Ilusha fell ill, he remembered everything and called Bug. They tried to find her, but they did not find her.
V. Ilya’s bedding
Kohl visits Ilya and is amazed at how weak he is. A sick boy is very happy to see his comrade, but there is no limit to his happiness when Ilya brings the Bug to him – healthy and unharmed.
Vi. Early development
In the midst of fun, the Moscow doctor comes to Snegiryov, which was specially called by Katerina Ivanovna. Kohl and Alyosha are taken to talk about the meaning of life.
The verdict of the doctor is disappointing. Before his death, Ilya asks his father to take on the upbringing of a “good boy, another” and never forget him.
Book of the eleventh. Brother Ivan Fedorovich
I. At Grushenka
Alyosha visits Grushenka, and she asks him to find out what secret appeared between Ivan and Dmitry, because of which the prisoner’s mood improved markedly.
Ii. Sore leg
From Mrs. Khokhlakova, Alesha learns that Katerina summoned doctors from Moscow so that he could confirm Mitya’s insane state at the time of the crime.
Lisa informs Alyosha that she takes back her promise to become his wife. She admits to the young man that she still loves him, but does not respect him for his kindness and tolerance for human vices.
Iv. Anthem and secret
Mitya understands that he will have to work hard at the mines until the end of his life, and he comes to God – “it is impossible for a convict without God.”
Mitya gives his brother a secret – Ivan invites him to flee, but everything will be decided after tomorrow’s court session.
Vi. First date with Smerdyakov
Upon arrival from Moscow, Ivan Fedorovich visits Smerdyakov in the hospital, and finds out from him all the details of the mysterious attack and the crime committed.
VII. Second visit to Smerdyakov
When the meeting was repeated, the lackey accused Ivan of the fact that he himself wished “the death of a parent” and purposely went to Moscow in order not to be present at the terrible tragedy. Ivan begins to suspect Smerdyakov in the murder of his father.
Viii. The third and last meeting with Smerdyakov
Smerdyakov confesses to the murder, which he decided under the influence of Ivan’s atheistic reasoning. Reprimanding the words of Karamazov in his own way, Smerdykov realized that everyone was “allowed to do everything”.
A footman hands over a pack of stolen bills to Ivan and tells in detail how he committed the crime. At the same time, he constantly repeats that it is Ivan who is the “most legitimate murderer”, and he only became an instrument in his hands.
Ix. Heck. The Nightmare of Ivan Fedorovich
Smerdykov’s confession deeply affects Ivan, and delirium tremens seizes “his body, which has long been frustrated, but stubbornly resisted the disease.”
H. “This is what he said!”
Alyosha rushes in to Ivan and reports that “that Smerdyakov has lost his life” – hanged himself. Ivan is not surprised – delirious, he talked with the devil, and he told him about it.
Book twelve. Judgement mistake
I. Fateful day
On the Day of Judgment, Mitya repeats that he is guilty of debauchery, drunkenness and laziness, “but in the death of the old man, the enemy of my father, is not guilty”, as well as of the theft of three thousand rubles.
Ii. Dangerous Witnesses
The court session continues, the defendant’s defense counsel and the prosecutor alternately speak. An exact calculation of the money spent by Mitya on the inn on the fateful night is being conducted.
Iii. Medical examination and one pound of nuts
The medical examination, which Katerina Ivanovna insisted on, “also did not really help the defendant.” The invited doctors testify that Dmitry Fedorovich “is in a completely normal state.”
Iv. Happiness smiles on Mite
During the interrogation, Alyosha confidently said that Smerdyakov had killed his father, not his brother, but he had “no evidence other than some moral convictions.”
Katerina tells everything without reserve, ranging from dating to Mitya and ending with the last humiliating date with him. After her story in the courtroom, “something pretty flashed in favor of Mitya.”
V. Sudden Disaster
Ivan Fedorovich transfers to the bailiff his father’s money, which “received from Smerdyakov, from the murderer.” But after this statement, a strong fit occurs with Ivan, and he is taken out of the courtroom.
Vi. The speech of the prosecutor. Characteristic
The prosecutor is an indictment. He carefully dissects the entire Karamazov family, in which he sees elements of the “modern intelligent society.”
VII. Historical image
The prosecutor describes in detail the events of the fateful evening, explaining the motives for the actions committed by Mitya.
Viii. Treatise on Smerdyakov
The prosecutor talks about Smerdyakov and his possible involvement in the murder of Karamazov. In the course of his reasoning, he comes to the conclusion that he is not guilty of anything.
Ix. Psychology at full steam. Jumping triple. The final speech of the prosecutor
The speech of the prosecutor, in which he gave a special place to the psychology of crime, is very popular with the public. Many have no doubt that what he said is “all is true, an irresistible truth.”
X. Speech protector. Double-edged stick
It is the turn to hold a speech defender. He presents facts that speak of Mitya’s innocence, and at the same time hints at “some abuse” of psychology in the prosecutor’s accusatory statement.
Xi. There was no money. There was no robbery
In his speech, the advocate focuses on the fact that, in fact, there was no robbery – “you can’t blame robbery, if you can’t say exactly what was robbed, it’s an axiom.”
Xii. Yes, and there was no murder
The defender is outraged that Mitya acts as the main suspect only because the accusers follow their own logic: “Who killed, if not him?”.
Xiii. Adulterer of thought
The defender is sure that if the victim was not the father of the accused, but some other person, the prosecutors would not hasten to “destroy the fate of the person because of mere prejudice against him”.
Xiv. The peasants stood up for themselves
The word is given to Mitya, and he once again swears his innocence and asks for mercy. After a lengthy meeting, the jury pronounces the sentence – “Yes, guilty!”.
I. Projects to save Mitya
Ivan Fedorovich suffers from a severe nervous breakdown, and Katerina Ivanovna takes care of him. Together with Lesha, they are discussing a project to escape Mitya and Grushenka to America, which Ivan had earlier planned.
Ii. For a moment, the lie has become true
Mitya is in the hospital – after the pronouncement of the verdict, he “fell ill with nervous fever.” Alyosha offers his brother to flee, and he agrees.
Katerina Ivanovna comes to Mitya, and in tears they ask each other for forgiveness.
Iii. Funeral Ilyushechki. Speech at the stone
His schoolmates and Alyosha come to Ilyushechka’s funeral. Near the stone, where the boy so loved to sit, they take an oath never to forget Ilya and each other. Alyosha urges them to love life and to do good deeds with all my heart, because life is unimaginably beautiful, especially when “you do something good and truthful”.
Dostoevsky’s work has a complex multi-dimensional structure. It is impossible to accurately determine its genre, since it contains signs of a social, philosophical, love and even detective novel.
After reading the brief retelling of the Brothers Karamazov, we recommend reading the full novel.
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