Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Fyodor Pavlovitch Karamazov

Fyodor Pavlovitch Karamazov (FYOH-dohr PAHV-loh-vihch kah-rah-MAH-zof), a crude buffoon of a father and the extremist, sensual, materialistic progenitor of a line of doomed sons. As an aging libertine he is brought in competition with his sons over a woman, money, and status, and also by a sheer determination to live and control his destiny without interference. His manners are as threatening as his brooding appearance, and as a sensual his debauchery is extreme, unabated even in his dwindling years. He is crafty, greedy, close-fisted, exhibiting a low cunning which speaks of a special kind of intelligence. His pose is artful; his lust for life and his voluptuousness are phenomenal. Obscene as he is, a malignant joker of low order, he has about him an air of magnificence gone to seed in an aging domestic tyrant.


Dmitri (DMIH-trihy), often called Mitya, his oldest son, who most resembles his father and most despises him for the wrong done the dead mother and himself. Morbidly fearful of his heredity, Dmitri reviles his father not so much for what he has done as a man who has cheated his son of both birthright and lover, but for what he is, a cruel, crafty despoiler of all that is decent. Like his father, he is muscular, though slender, sallow, with large dark eyes. He is a kind of scapegoat, the one on whom the curse of sensuousness falls most heavily, given as he is to strong feelings and actions. He has a brooding Russian personality, an excitability, a violent nature capable of deep emotions and lasting love and antagonisms, though he has also simplicity, natural goodness, an open heart, directness, and awareness.


Ivan (ih-VAHN), his half brother, an intellectual, poet, and atheist, given to visions and flights of fancy, secretiveness, remote aloofness. Five years younger than Mitya, he seems older, more mature, better poised....

(The entire section is 856 words.)