The Brothers Karamazov

The Brothers Karamazov Summary and Analysis of Epilogue

Alyosha visits Katerina, where he finds Ivan feverish and asleep. Katerina tells Alyosha that they are planning to break Dmitri out of prison so he can flee the country, and she needs Alyosha’s help. Despite the fact that this will entail bribes and lies, Alyosha agrees with one condition, that Katerina will visit poor Dmitri in prison. When Alyosha visits Dmitri, Dmitri is consumed with a need to repent. He wants to be redeemed through suffering, but he says he needs Grushenka to help him through this difficult time in his life. Alyosha excitedly tells Dmitri of their plans for his escape. Dmitri says he will go along with the plan, but he says he feels a strong desire to return to Russia one day. Katerina visits Dmitri, and they make their peace. Grushenka visits Dmitri, too, and when Katerina sees her, she apologizes to her, too. Grushenka, however, does not forgive Katerina for her actions in the courtroom, which had led to Dmitri’s conviction.

Ilusha dies. Alyosha goes to his funeral. He talks to all of Ilusha’s friends and tells them to remember their friend. The boys all like him very much, and they cheer for their mentor and friend.


This denouement is about redemption. It is not so much about Dmitri’s redemption, though he explains how he plans to begin a new life. It is not so much about Ivan’s redemption, even though he is being resuscitated in Katerina’s arms. This epilogue shows that children are the redemption of Russia. When Alyosha talks to the children, they cheer his hopeful words and ideas, and one can assume that they will go out into the world and incorporate them into their lives. The search for redemption is larger than individuals such as Dmitri or Ivan. When Fyodor dies without redeeming his wicked, licentious life, the most lasting consequence is that the next generation inherits his burdens and debts. His sons, voluntarily or involuntarily, have all learned from him and have lived in his shadow all their lives. If they extricate themselves from this encumbrance in their lifetime, it is a small triumph. If they can pass down hope to the next generation, however, this is the greatest contribution they can make to their country and to their fellow man. When Alyosha passes words of love down to the young boys, he is doing his part to ensure the future of Russia. Dostoevsky felt very strongly about his country, and he had deep feelings for it. When Dmitri is talking to Alyosha about fleeing to another country, he expresses his determination to return to Russia one day, because even if it has forsaken him, it is his country and he loves it. This novel begins as a story about family and ends as a story about country, a place where individuals and families can be inspired to lead better lives.