The Grand Inquisitor

Introduction

"The Grand Inquisitor" is a poem in Fyodor Dostoevsky's novel The Brothers Karamazov (1879–1880). It is recited by Ivan, 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.

Scholars cite Friedrich Schiller's play Don Carlos (1787) as a major inspiration for Dostoevsky's Grand Inquisitor, while also noting that "The sources of the legend are extraordinarily varied and complex."[1]


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