Biblical Allusions in The Brothers Karamazov

Presenter Information

Lindy Winter, Collin CollegeFollow

Academic Level

2-year school


Conference Room E

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Apr 12th, 1:00 PM Apr 12th, 2:15 PM

Biblical Allusions in The Brothers Karamazov

Conference Room E

Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, written in 1880 in the Russian language (although translated to English in 1912), is the last book that Dostoyevsky wrote. This passionate novel covers a multitude of significant themes that reflect Dostoyevsky’s own religious and philosophical views such as free will, the existence of God, and ethics. Throughout the novel, however, these themes could not be expressed without the use of biblical allusions, which are indirect references to the bible. Therefore, in order to fully comprehend Dostoyevsky’s purpose for this final novel, this essay will examine the question: to what extent and why does Fyodor Dostoyevsky implement biblical allusions in his novel, The Brothers Karamazov?

Answering this question requires a complete and thorough investigation of reviews and criticisms on Dostoyevsky’s novel, background of the author’s life, context of the time period, and an exploration of religious texts that relate to the book. Primary sources, such as scriptural accounts in The Bible, are used to prove the existence of biblical allusions as well as discover a relationship between the novel and biblical text. Furthermore, secondary sources such as literary analyses are critically observed in order to understand the reasoning for Dostoyevsky’s use of biblical allusions. The research primarily focuses on the overall implementation of biblical references in the novel and why they are used.

Thorough analysis and investigation of the previously mentioned strategies shows that Dostoyevsky ultimately implemented biblical allusions in a highly profuse and distinctive manner, allowing his readers to understand character relationships on a deeper level, realize his personal religious and philosophical views, and further appreciate the role of faith in the entire novel.