Agrafena Alexandrovna Svetlov, commonly referred to as Grushenka, is universally sought after for her appearance of “typical” Russian beauty, her bold character, and her assumed promiscuity. She is described as being full-bodied, lush, and possessing an open and inviting demeanor. After arriving in the town, Grushenka garners a respectable amount of wealth through investments, which she maintains with a tight fist. Despite her promiscuous reputation, Grushenka is extremely inaccessible to most men as she rejects the majority of her suitors. Her reputation for being hard to romance, in addition to her beauty, largely increases her allure. 

Grushenka’s primary role in the novel is to increase the conflict between Dmitri and Fyodor. Both men are hopelessly in love with Grushenka and believe their love to be reciprocated. This prompts tense encounters between father and son. It also leads to Dmitri being accused of murdering his father after Fyodor’s death. Although Dmitri and Fyodor are blinded by their love for Grushenka, the reader is able to more accurately assess her character as someone too proud and self-centered to fully devote herself to a lover. 

Through her encounters with Alyosha, however, Grushenka begins to show a gentler and more open aspect of her character. She recognizes the goodness in Alyosha and refuses to seduce him as a means of manipulation, as she would other men. Thanks to the budding relationship between Grushenka and Alyosha, she is able to confess her love for Dmitri on the night of his father’s death and devote her life to him thereafter.