Concept of Free Will in The Brothers Karamazov

2578 Words11 Pages
“And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (John 5:2­10, English Standard Version) One of the most important concepts in Dostoevsky’s novel, The Brothers Karamazov is the concept of free will. It is important to the novel because of the overall theme that everyone is responsible in some way for everything that happens. Also, it makes the novel more interesting because it essentially lets the characters run around doing whatever they like. However, there is one character in the novel who does not exercise his right to free will like the other characters do. Alyosha, who Dostoevsky calls his “hero”, is granted free will like the other characters in the novel, but at the same time, he doesn’t seem to actually use it. For all practical purposes, he doesn’t have free will. Because if free will is the right to make choices based on one’s own rational mindset, then Alyosha cannot be considered to have free will as the other characters in the novel have it. For example, his brothers Ivan and Dmitri are seemingly free to do whatever they please, whether it be not believing in God, or wasting large amounts of money. Their father is no different in that he pursue... ... middle of paper ... around you, you need the free will to make the decisions that would lead to that. Alyosha does not have the free will required. Instead, he loves and trusts everybody unconditionally. He is a version of the woman from the onion story. The woman was always evil and did only small good thing and Heaven decides to raise her up. At the end, she reveals her true nature. Alyosha is different; he never has a choice of whether to become bad, he can only ever be good. He would not only have let people hang on, he would have tried to pick up some of them. Alyosha’s status as both a hero and a pious person mean that he never really have the use of his free will. Works Cited Dostoyevsky, Fyodor. The Brothers Karamazov. Trans. Constance Garnett. Minneapolis: Dover Publications, Incorporated, 2005. The Holy Bible. Wheaton: Crossway Bibles, 2005.

More about Concept of Free Will in The Brothers Karamazov

Open Document