The Grand Inquisitor Analysis

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The Russian novelist, Fyodor Dostoevsky explores the psychology of humanity and freedom through “The Brothers Karamazov”, found in his short story “The Grand Inquisitor”. Dostoevsky’s “The Grand Inquisitor” is perhaps one of his greatest works ever known in modern literature because Dostoevsky’s philosophy is aimed towards free will, religion and human nature. For decades many have criticized the short story because Dostoevsky gives a profound understanding of the confrontation between Jesus and the Grand Inquisitor. Also, the story ends in ambiguity leaving the readers with wonder and confusion. Critics have argued over Dostoevsky religious and political thoughts on contemporary society. Dostoevsky’s arguments about Christ and the world gained many critics’ attention because his arguments are the key elements of mankind. In Dostoevsky’s “The Grand Inquisitor”, the Grand Inquisitor argues the importance of stability over the theme, freedom. Dostoevsky begins the story with Ivan (an atheist) telling a parable to his brother Alyosha (a delusional). The parable takes place in the middle of the Spanish Inquisition fifteen centuries after Jesus’ death in Seville. During the Inquisition, Christ comes back to Earth stealthily and begins to perform miracles on the people on the streets. Everybody recognizes Jesus and praises him for his return to Earth. The Grand Inquisitor, the man who burns heretics and is the leader of the Inquisitors, sees Jesus performing miracles on the people and is furious. The Grand Inquisitor demands that Jesus be arrested and be sent to prison. He demands everybody to leave the scene and the people obey him with fear. At night, the Grand Inquisitor visits Jesus in the cell and asks him why he has come back to E... ... middle of paper ... ...l be glad to believe our answer, for it will save them from the great anxiety and terrible agony they endure at present in making a free decision for themselves” (17). Since millions of people do not know how to use free will, they will live a happy life because “we shall keep the secret, and for their happiness we shall allure them with the reward of heaven and eternity” (17). With the Church handling all the sins, the people will die peacefully. Millions of people will be happy with this social formula and only “ we who guard the mystery, shall be unhappy” (17). The people will never know that only the Church and the Inquisitor will be unhappy because all their punishment of sins will be their responsibility. This, the Grand Inquisitor assures, that his society will forever be happy and freedom will be alienated from mankind under the Church’s control.
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