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“The Brothers Karamazov” and “The Stranger” Essay

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Updated: Apr 21st, 2020

The Karamazov Brothers is a heartbreaking novel of a dysfunctional family (Dostoyevsky 2). As such, the family comprises of a father, a daughter, two wives, and three sons. The sons are Dmitri Karamazov, Alyosha Karamazov, and Ivan Karamazov. Fyodor Karamazov is an acquisitive and a negligent father. Their relatives, rather than their parents, have been raising the four siblings. In the story, the three siblings return home to stay with Fyodor. The return marks the first time the three brothers have been together.

On the other hand, The Stranger is a story focusing on the absurdness of life (Camus & Matthew 3). As such, the book was published in the year 1942. Meursault is the key character in the story. After the funeral of Meursault’s mother, he murders an Arab man.

In the novel, the author illustrates that the value of human life is perceived with respect to mortality. Through the novel, Camus portrays how death can have an impact on an individual’s understanding of life (Camus & Matthew 4). Camus argues that the awareness of death makes people to be informed of the value of their lives.

The following events offer a comprehensive description of the sense through which Ivan is guilty of assassinating Fyodor. At the start of the story, Dmitri steals money from Katerina, his wife-to-be. He spends the 3,000 rubles financing, Grushenka, his mistress. Later, Dmitri expends several days trying to borrow cash to pay Katerina her dues (Dostoyevsky 34). No one is prepared to loan him the cash. The situation is made harder because he has no property to sell.

Later, Dmitri goes to Grushenka’ homestead. There, he is surprised that his mistress was not around. He is convinced that she was with Ivan. He rushes to their father’s homestead searching for them. He fails to find them at their father’s homestead. While marauding at the homestead, Dmitri assaults his father’s old domestic worker leaving him bloodstained and knocked out.

Thereafter, Dmitri escapes to Grushenka’s homestead. There, he is informed by a house cleaner that Grushnenka had eloped with her ex-boyfriend. At that instance, he resolves that his only option is to commit suicide. However, he convinces himself to meet Grushenka before killing himself.

Minutes later, he enters into a local shop with his bloodstained clothes and a hefty wad of money in his hand (Dostoyevsky 32). He purchases foodstuffs and liquor and boards a bus headed to the ex-boyfriend’s residence. There, he finds Grushenka and her ex-boyfriend together. At that instance, Grushenka becomes conscious that she actually loves Dmitri. They manage to lock the ex-boyfriend in privacy.

Thereafter, they plan how they were going to undertake their wedding. Before ending their plans, the law enforcers unexpectedly burst in and capture Dmitri. The police blame him for killing Fyodor. Owing to the bloodstained clothes and unexplained sources of money found in Dmitri’s hands, the police detain him. In jail, he insists that the cash he had was the remains of the money he had stolen from his fiancée. No one is convinced of his claims. In this regard, he is imprisoned for the murder.

That evening, Alyosha meets with Ivan. He is surprised that Ivan is feeling guilty as if he had committed the offense. He encourages him not to feel accountable for an offense that he did not commit. Later, Ivan discusses with Smerdyakov some issues with respect to the murder of their father. Smerdyakov is one of the servants in Fyodor Pavlovich’s residence. Smerdyakov blames him for the murder of Fyodor.

He claims that Ivan always yearned for the death of his father. He points out that Ivan was not around to defend his father the night he was killed. His assertions make Ivan feel guilty of the offense. Ivan is irritated and disturbed by the information. Towards the end of their conversation, Smerdyakov admits that he had killed Ivan’s father. He points out that Ivan’s philosophical concepts fuelled his wrongful acts, which lead to the killing of Fyodor.

Smerdyakov claims that Ivan’s earlier discussions with him fundamentally simplified the deed. After that, Ivan goes home. At home, he sees an evil spirit in his apartment. The spirit rebukes him. As such, the spirit claims that Ivan is an evil individual full of weaknesses. When Alyosha returns home, he finds his sibling in an agitated state. From there on, Ivan believes that he was solely responsible for the death of his father. The convictions lead to his mental breakdown.

In The Karamazov Brothers, Dmitri’s trail appears to be progressing fairly until Ivan is summoned to give evidence. Ivan claims that he is responsible for the death of their father. His claims toss the courtroom into misunderstanding. To oppose Ivan’s claims, Katerina intervenes and illustrates to the court a letter Dmitri had written stating his intentions to kill his father. Despite Katerina’s intervention, a number of individuals in the courtroom are certain that Dmitri is not guilty (Dostoyevsky 45).

However, the judge is unconvinced and rules out that Dmitri is guilty of the offense. Based on the above illustrations and other cases in the text, it is apparent that Dmitri is not guilty. However, due to the court’s inefficiencies, he is found guilty of the crime he did not commit. The courts should have conducted sound background research to ascertain the death of the brothers’ father. Through this, the court trails would not have led to an injustice.

In The Stranger, Meursault’s trails are conducted differently from Dmitri’s trial (Camus & Matthew 73). Camus creates the trial scene differently to illustrate the injustice in courtrooms. As such, the prosecutor’s claims are false. Based on the story illustrated in part one, the readers are informed that Meursault’s assassination of an Arab man was not deliberate, as claimed by the prosecutor.

Equally, Meursault’s plan to send his mother to retirement home did not make him guilty for the death of his mother. Astonishingly, Meursault’s advocate believes Meursault’s opinions are wrong. He tries to convince him to change his ideas. Later, the jury finds him guilty of the crime, and he is condemned to death.

The two rulings had impacts on Dmitri and Meursault. Dmitri is exiled to Liberia for the wrongs he did not commit. He is denied his freedom and rights, yet he was not responsible for the death of his father. On the other hand, Meursault has to suffer for having a different view from society (Camus & Matthew 76).

Based on the trial rulings and the occurrences in the novel, it is apparent that Meursault is open-minded, unlike the society and the court system. He embraces new ideas. Nevertheless, he is denied his freedom and rights for having a different perspective regarding the society. Similarly, his sufferings are attributed to the court’s inefficiencies.

In The Karamazov Brothers, Dostoevsky draws conclusions with respect to the value of life-based on the trail and consequences. He concludes that life should be respected. Although Dmitri is not responsible for the death of his father, his sufferings seem to be linked with his inability to value life.

It is apparent that he does not value life because he intended to kill his father. Similarly, his fiancée betrayed him during the trial because he felt that Dmitri had not valued her in the past. After the trial, Dmitri’s perceptions of the value of life change. Following the trail, he gets close to his family members. The closeness enables him to orchestrate a plan to escape from prison. The plan is realized with the help of Ivan and Katerina.

Their friendship with Katerina is enhanced after the trials. The above portrayals justify that life should be respected. In favor of the above conclusions, Dostoevsky might argue that life is to be enjoyed together with family and friends. If the family had enjoyed their lives together, enmity among them could not have been witnessed. Similarly, the family could not have undergone the sufferings they face currently.

Camus also draws conclusions regarding the value of life-based on the trial and the consequences of Meursault (Camus & Matthew 12). The novel asserts that the value of human life is perceived with respect to mortality. Camus portrays how death can have an impact on an individual’s perception of the value of life. Prior to his trial, he spends his time in jail by napping, reading newspapers, and reconstructing mental images of his apartment at home.

After the court ruling, he stops daydreaming. He begins to view the value of life from a different perspective and starts to orchestrate a plan to escape. He eventually admits that he could not find a way to escape. His mind began to ponder on the day he will be executed. While considering the chance of an appeal, Meursault remembers that death was inevitable to everyone. Later he accepts the existence of death.

The conclusion is justified by the portrayals. In favor of the above conclusions, Camus might argue that the awareness of death makes people to be informed on the value of their lives. When individuals accept this fact, they will begin to appreciate the value of life (Camus & Matthew 56). Those with intentions to kill others or kill themselves will notice that there is no reason to undertake the actions that may lead to deaths.

Conclusion

The first section above offers a comprehensive description of the sense through which Ivan is guilty of the offense of assassinating Fyodor. Equally, the section illustrates how his conviction in his guilt adds to his mental collapse. The second section contrasts the manner in which Dmitri’s trial and Meursault’s trial were conducted, leading to injustice.

Similarly, the section scrutinizes the impacts of the trails’ rulings with respect to the effects on Dmitri and on Meursault. The third section offers conclusions regarding the value of life-based on the trail and consequences.

Works Cited

Camus, Albert, & Matthew Ward. The Stranger. New York: Vintage International, 1989. Print.

Dostoyevsky, Fyodor. The Karamazov Brothers. Oxford: New York :, 1998. Print.

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