The Brothers Karamazov

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Guard #2

Mitya has bigger questions than the ones that Rikitin poses to him.  The biggest of all is whether or not he should try to escape. I heard him talking about it with his brother Ivan, but I haven’t said anything to anyone because I want to see what he decides. Dmitri is not afraid of imprisonment.  No!  But a new man has arisen in him, and he’s afraid that this risen man will depart.  Here is what he said to Alyosha:  “Even there in the mines, underground, you can find a human heart in the convict and the murderer standing next to you, and you can be close to him, because there, too, it’s possible to live, and love, and suffer!  You can revive and resurrect the frozen heart in this convict, you can look after him for years, and finally bring up from the cave into the light a soul that is lofty now, a suffering consciousness, you can revive an angel, resurrect a hero!” (591)   This arisen Dmitri is ready to accept punishment for the death of his father – even though he didn’t kill him.  He is ready to martyr himself to save the wee one, and the rest of us as well.  A miraculous conversion, yes?

 

But Ivan comes and tempts him with the promise of escape, telling Mitya that he will not be able to see Grusha if he’s in the mines.  And this thought drives Mitya mad.  It makes him ready to turn his back on the arisen man and to run away with Grusha to America.

 

Mitya is torn. Is he strong enough to suffer for all of us?  Or should he escape, and turn his back on suffering? And if he does, who will suffer for the wee one?

 

What should Mitya do?

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Category:11b. The Jail