Katerina is the daughter of a military captain and the fiancée of Dmitri Karamazov. She is characterized by her sensitive and self-righteous nature. Although Katerina is engaged to Dmitri, she hardly has his devotion, as Dmitri largely rejects Katerina in favor of Grushenka. This abandonment by her betrothed leads Katerina to adopt an even stronger sense of devotion to both Dmitri and those around her. She refuses to reject Dmitri as he has rejected her due to the strength of her pride. Katerina would rather be humiliated than forgo her righteous sense of duty.

Katerina’s pride prompts her to make many questionable decisions throughout the novel. As a result of Dimitri’s rejection of her, she falls in love with his brother Ivan. Despite this secret love, neither Katerina nor Ivan are able to admit their love openly or devote themselves to the other due to their own pride. Katerina’s desire to be with Ivan in tandem with her inability to commit herself to him creates a sense of instability within her character. When Ivan is in danger of being charged with the murder of his father, however, Katerina finds herself able to stand with him by providing a letter that serves as evidence of Dmitri’s guilt. 

Katerina’s pride is largely born from her own shame. Despite being wealthy, Katerina borrows money from Dmitri to help her father’s reputation, only to be rejected by him in favor of Grushenka. Instead of acknowledging that she had to borrow money from the man who rejected her, Katerina stubbornly adopts a veil of endless devotion. Only at the end of the novel does Katerina finally admit her shortcomings. She funds Dmitri’s escape to America as a means of repentance for her hand in his sentencing and finally commits herself to Ivan by taking care of him during his manic episode.