Dostoevsky’s Greatest Revelation: Understanding Human Nature and the Role of Suffering in The Brothers Karamazov and Notes from Underground

Dew, Rebecca
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
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At some point in the life of every person, the question arises of whether God exists, and if he does exist, what he is like. The novel The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky addresses these questions through its depictions of various characters, especially the Karamazov family. The Brothers Karamazov is considered by many philosophers and literary experts to be among the most influential achievements in 19th century world literature. Dostoevsky’s insightful depictions of religious ethical questions such as the problem of evil are relevant to an understanding both of the impact religion, particularly Russian Orthodox Christianity, has had upon literature and of the development of modern philosophical thought. In an effort to better understand the influence of this novel, this paper explores how Dostoevsky portrays human nature in The Brothers Karamazov and contrasts this with his representation of the nature of God. This will be achieved through an analysis of the way the themes of evil and free will, introduced first in Notes from Underground, surface throughout the novel, and how they are relevant to modern philosophical questions regarding the reality and nature of God.
82 pages
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