“Be so good, madame, as to listen for only half a minute, and I shall explain everything in two words,” Perkhotin answered firmly. “Today, at five o’clock in the afternoon, Mr. Karamazov (Dmitri) borrowed ten roubles from me as a friend, and I know for certain that he had no money, yet this same day, at nine o’clock, he walked into my rooms holding out for all to see a wad of hundred-rouble bills, approximately two or even three thousand roubles. His hands and face were all covered with blood, and it appeared as if he were mad. To my question as to where he got so much money, he replied with precision that he had just received it from you, and that you had loaned him the sum of three-thousand roubles to go, he said to the gold mines…”
Madame Khokhlakov’s face suddenly acquired a look of extraordinary and morbid excitement.
“Oh, God!” He’s murdered his old father!” she cried out, clasping her hands. “I gave him no money, none! Oh, run, run…! Not a word more! Save the old man, run to his father, run!” (p. 448)
If I accused Part 2 to be largely devoid of plot, Part 3 more than makes up for it. The pace is almost frenetic, as we go from the death of Alyosha’s cherished elder, Zosimov, to the death of the brothers’ father, Fyodor Pavlovich. Dmitri makes a mad dash to obtain money and catch up with his love, Grushenka. Breathlessly, we follow him as he leaves Katerina’s house, taking a brass pestle in his hand, and hides in the bushes outside of his father’s home certain that Grushenka is there. When he discovers she is not, he is overcome with hatred for his father.
Mitya watched from the side, and did not move. The whole of the old man’s profile, which he found so loathsome, the whole of his drooping Adam’s apple, his hooked nose, smiling in sweet expectation, his lips-all was brightly lit from the left by the slanting light of the lamp shining from the room. Terrible, furious anger suddenly boiled up in Mitya’s heart: “There he was his rival, his tormentor, the tormentor of his life!” it was a surge of that same sudden, vengeful, and furious anger of which he had spoken, as if in anticipation, to Alyosha during their conversation in the gazebo four days earlier, in response to Alyosha’s question. “How can you say you will kill father?”
“I don’t know, I don’t know,” he had said then. “Maybe I won’t kill him, and maybe I will. I’m afraid that his face at that moment will suddenly become hateful to me. I hate his Adam’s apple, his nose, his eyes, his shameless sneer. I feel a personal loathing. I’m afraid of that, I may not be able to help myself…”
The personal loathing was increasing unbearable. Mitya was beside himself, and suddenly he snatched the brass pestle from his pocket…”
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (p. 392-3)
What has Dmitri done? We know not, as we follow him blindly to the official Pyotr Ilyich Perkhotin’s, where he buys back the pistols he had given for ten roubles, and orders an extravagant basket of sweets, fruit, pate and champagne to follow his troika to where Grushenka has apparently met with her former lover, Kalganov. It’s like a soap opera in its drama, and the best mystery you’ve ever read, and yet the horror of it strikes my very heart.
Through Mitya we discover what it is to be on trial. When his clothes are stripped from him, for material evidence, he feels completely debased. When the questions come at him unceasingly, he must force himself to reveal his intentions no matter how private they may be. And, as a reader, I am completely unsure as to who actually did kill Fyodor. Was it Dmitri? He claims he did not. Was it Smerdykov? He was lying on the point of death after a night filled with seizures from his “falling sickness”. Was it another brother, or another villain whose goals we know little about?
The suspense is killing me. I know not whom to trust. Could it really be true that Mitya is innocent of killing his father?
“Write it down? You want to write it down? Well, write it down then, I consent, I give my full consent, gentlemen…Only, you see…Wait, wait, write it down like this: ‘Of violence-guilty; of inflicting a savage beating on a poor old man-guilty. And then, within himself, too, inside, in the bottom of his heart, he is guilty-but there’s no need to write that down,” he turned suddenly to the clerk, “that is my private life, gentlemen, that doesn’t concern you now, the bottom of my heart, I mean…But the murder of his old father-not guilty! It’s a wild idea! It’s an utterly wild idea…! I’ll prove it to you and you’ll be convinced immediately. You’ll laugh, gentlemen, you’ll roar with laughter at your own suspicion…!” (p. 460)
Which brings to mind this question, “If we’re not guilty of killing someone physically, are we guilty if we kill them in our hearts? (Matthew 5: 21-22)
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