The Brothers Karamazov

by: Fyodor Dostoevsky

Dmitri

Dmitri is the most turbulent of the three brothers. Passionate, headstrong, and reckless, he combines Alyosha’s good heart with Fyodor Pavlovich’s heedless sensuality. Dmitri has lived a life torn between sin and redemption. Unlike Alyosha, Dmitri is dominated by his passions, but unlike Fyodor Pavlovich, he feels genuine remorse for the sins he has committed and gradually comes to hope that his soul can be redeemed through suffering. Because Dmitri is the character most poised between animalism and spiritual redemption, he often represents the plight of humanity itself in the novel. When he is arrested for the murder of Fyodor Pavlovich, the question of his guilt or innocence becomes a crucial question about human nature—whether it is founded on good or evil. Dmitri is not only innocent of the crime, he undergoes an ardent spiritual conversion in prison and emerges from his trial a stronger, better person, prepared to live a life of goodness and to do penance for his sins. Through Dmitri’s redemption and Ivan’s breakdown, Dostoevsky thus concludes the novel by rejecting doubt and skepticism in favor of faith and love. Dmitri’s redemption represents the novel’s optimistic conclusion about the nature of mankind.