Book Cover of The Grand Inquisitor

The Grand Inquisitor

by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

"The Grand Inquisitor" is a poem (a story within a story) inside Fyodor Dostoevsky's novel The Brothers Karamazov (1879–1880). It is recited by Ivan Karamazov, who questions the possibility of a personal and benevolent God, to his brother Alexei (Alyosha), a novice monk. "The Grand Inquisitor" is an important part of the novel and one of the best-known passages in modern literature because of its ideas about human nature and freedom, and its fundamental ambiguity. In a long soliloquy, the Grand Inquisitor defends the following ideas: only the principles of the devil can lead to mankind's universal unification: give man bread, control his conscience, and rule the world; Jesus limited himself to a small group of chosen ones, while the Catholic Church improved on his work and addresses all people; the church rules the world in the name of God, but with the devil's principles; Jesus was mistaken in holding man in high esteem.

Book Details

Language

English

Original Language

Russian

Published In

Author

Fyodor Dostoyevsky image

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky, sometimes transliterated as Dostoyevsky, was a Russian novelist, philosopher, short story writer, essayist, and journalist. Dostoevsky's literary works explore human ps...

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