Dostoyevsky: The Brothers Karamazov《卡拉馬助夫兄弟》

杜思妥也夫斯基(Dostoyevsky, 1821-1881)生於莫斯科。曾就讀於軍事學校與工業技術學校。1844 年卸除軍職專心致力於文藝創作。1849 年被捕,放逐西伯利亞,長達四年之久。後來又回到軍隊,然後從事新聞工作。他好睹,為了躲債曾逃亡國外。最後幾年是俄國著名的自由派編輯人員。

他較著名的作品有:Crime and PunishmentThe PossessedThe Brothers KaramazovNotes from Underground

The Brothers Karamazov is the product of the religious fervor of Dostoyevsky's last years.1 In this powerful novel, Dostoyevsky has chosen as his theme the anguish caused by man's dual nature--namely, man is capable of both good and evil.2 The novel is rather long and full of digressions but the main story concerns itself with Dmitri, the oldest son of Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov.3 Through the character of Dmitri, Dostoyevsky indicates that man's awareness of his sinfulness could become the means of his salvation.4 Dmitri's realization of how vile he is leads him to a repentance in atonement for his misdeeds.5

Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov is a landowner in a provincial Russian town in the middle of the nineteenth century. He is a coarse sensualist and a buffoon.6 He lives a disorderly life and leaves his children to the care of his servants and relatives.7 His first wife deserted him, leaving a son, Dmitri. His second wife died of abuse, after bearing two sons, Ivan and Alyosha.8 In addition, Karamazov is thought to have seduced an idiot girl of the town and to have had an illegitimate son Smerdyakov by her. Smerdyakov is now Karamazov's valet and cook.9

These four brothers are completely different. Dmitri is an ex-army officer. Inheriting his father's taste for dissolute living, he is careless with his money and constantly in debt.10 The second son, Ivan, is an intellectual--he has cut loose from his roots in Orthodox Christianity but fails to find any other spiritual home.11 Alyosha, on the other hand, is religious--he has become a pupil of Father Zossima at the local monastery.12 Smerdyakov is an epileptic and he resents his position as his father's servant.13

Dmitri does not get along with his father.14 While Dmiyri thinks that he will receive a legacy from his mother's estate, the elder Karamazov forces his son to renounce his claims on the estate.15 The entire family consults Father Zossima to seek a reconciliation.16 At the meeting the elder Karamazov behaves like a clown--he quarrels with his sons and embarrasses everyone.17 However, on seeing Dmitri, father Zossima bows to the ground before him. As Zossima later explains, he bows before Dmitri because he foresees the terrible suffering that Dmitri must undergo.18

Dmitri at this time is involved in a complicated love affair. Earlier he was betrothed to Katerina.19 However, he has scarcely become engaged when he becomes infatuated with Grushenka, a young girl kept by an old merchant.20 When Katerina entrusts him with three thousand rubles to be sent by post to her sister in Moscow, he steals the money and squanders half of it in three days with Grushenka.21 To make matters worse, old Karamazov is also interested in Grushenka. He is trying to bribe her away from the old merchant with the very money which Dmitri regards as his rightful share of the estate.22

Meanwhile, Katerina and Ivan are attracted to each other. Dmitri is pleased by this development and hopes that their mutual attraction will fee him from his engagement.23

Smerdyakov has a conference with Ivan. He tells Ivan that Dmitri could easily kill their father to prevent him from getting Grushenka. Both Smerdyakov and Ivan know that if Karamazov lives to marry Grushenka, the children will inderit nothing, but if he dies, they will be his heirs.24

Dmitri's soul is now in a whirlpool of anger, guilt, and frustrated desire.25 Above all else, he must restore Katerina's money so that he may leave her and marry Grushenka before his father gets her.26 He tries to borrow the money, but to no avail.27 Going to Grushenka's house, he finds her not at home and suspects that she has already stolen away to his father.28 Grabbing a small brass pestle from the kitchen, he dashes off to his father's house.29 He is stopped by his father's servant Grigory. They grapple and Dmitri strikes down the old servant with a blow of the pestle.30

Later, Dmitri catches up with Grushenka at a nearby village. She is with her Polish lover. But the Polish lover is easily bought off.31 Dmitri gives him money to leave. He and Grushenka then begin a wild bout of festivity. While the feast is at its height, the police break in to arrest Dmitri.32 His father has been killed and three thousand rubles have been stolen.

After some interrogation, Dmitri is put on trial. The prosecution is able to make a convincing case, since Grigory's testimony puts him at the scene of the crime.33 Moreover, Dmitri’s sudden and lavish expenditure of money can be accounted for only by the theft.34

While the trial is in progress, Ivan has several interviews with Smerdyakov. Smerdyakov admits that he is the murderer.35 He insists that he had acted on Ivan's tacit instructions and had felt that Ivan would protect him.36 Then he gives the stolen money to Ivan. In horror, Ivan declares that he will tell the truth in court. That same night, Smerdyakov hanges himself.37

The case has attracted widespread attention throughout Russia. In spite of the prosecution's evidence against Dmitri, the defense lawyer has refuted it piece by piece.38 Then Katerina has her revenge by revealing to the court a letter Dmitri had written her, in which he declared his intention to kill his father.39 When Ivan appears in the court to testify that Smerdyakov had confessed to being the murderer, nobody believes him. Thus a guilty verdict is inevitable.40 Nevertheless though wrongly convicted, Dmitri accepts his sentence to Siberia.41 His good brother Alyosha is also prepared to go with Dmitri, for he is ready to sacrifice his own life for innocence and truth.

In addition to the main story, there are several interesting episodes. For instance, when Father Zossima dies, people expect a miracle to happen. It is believed that the dead body of a saint will not decompose.42 However, this miracle does not take place. Instead, Zossima's body decomposes rapidly. This delights some of the monks who are anxious to discredit the institution of the elders in the Orthodox Church.43 They argue that the decomposition of his body proves his teachings to be false.

Similar skepticism can be seen in the famous Parable of the Grand Inquisitor, in which Ivan fantasizes that Christ returns to earth only to get into trouble with the ecclesiastical authorities.44 Though sometimes characterized as an atheist, Ivan here expresses Dostoyevsky's detestation of the Roman Catholic Church.45 The main theme of The Grand Inquisitor is that men fear moral responsibility, and that Christ's teaching laid on men a burden of freedom which they are reluctant to bear.46 In a larger sense, Dostoyevsky is attacking all despotisms which seek to make men happy by limiting their freedom.47 As a Russian Orthodox believer, Dostoyevsky takes man's moral responsibility seriously, but he shuns any optimism about human nature.48 For him, moral evil is something innate, and any effort to cure man's sinfulness by manipulating the external environment is futile.49 Man can endure only by love and forgiveness.50  


1 The Brothers Karamazov 表現了 Dostoyevsky 晚年對宗教的狂熱。

2 在這部有力的作品中,Dostoyevsky 所選擇的主題是:人類的雙重性格所引起的痛苦(anguish),也就是說(namely),人兼具善惡兩面。

3 這部小說相當長,有許多離題的枝節,但是主要的故事是關於 Fyodor Karamazov 的長子 Dmitri。Concern itself with:關心;注意。

4 經由 Dmitri 這個角色,Dostoyevsky 說明了一個人對自己的罪惡有所自覺,這自覺便可以變成他得救贖罪之法門。

5 Dmitri 知道自己有多卑鄙,因而心生懺悔,想彌補自己的罪行。

6 Fyodor Karamazov 是個粗鄙的享樂主義者,又愛講粗話逗笑。buffoon:丑角。

7 他過著放蕩和不正常的生活,把孩子們留給僕人和親戚照顧。

8 他的第二任妻子生下兩個兒子之後,被虐待至死。abuse:虐待;惡習。如 child abuse:虐待兒童(複合名詞);social abuses:社會惡習。

9 此外(in addition),他們認為 Fyodor Karamazov 曾誘騙鎮上一個白痴女孩,生了一個私生子。Smerdyakov 現在是 Karamazov 的僕人兼廚師。Valet:指專門侍候主人穿衣的貼身僕人。

10 Dmitri 以前是軍官,他遺傳了父親的性向,喜歡放蕩的生活,用錢無度,經常負債累累。

11 二兒子 Ivan 是個知識分子,他脫離東正教,但尚未找到其他信仰歸宿。Cut loose from:斷絕關係。俄國人的主要宗教信仰是東正教,所以稱之為 his roots。

12 Alyosha 則是虔誠的教徒,他在當地修道院跟隨 Zossima 神父學習。

13 Smerdyakov 患有癲癇症,他憤恨自己身為父親的僕人,地位卑微。

14 Dmitri 和父親相處得不好。

15 Dmitri 以為他會繼承母親的一份產業,但是老 Karamazov 卻強迫兒子放棄要求那份財產的權利(claim)。legacy:遺產。

16 全家人(為此事)向 Zossima 神父討教,謀求父子的和解。

17 聚會商討之時,老 Karamazov 像個小丑,和兒子們爭吵,令每個人都覺得尷尬。

18 可是,神父見到 Dmitri 時,居然匐匍跪拜。後來神父說他之所以在 Dmitri 面前跪拜,乃是因為他預見 Dmitri 即將經歷(undergo)極可怕的苦難。

19 此時 Dmitri 正捲入一場複雜的變愛關係。早先他和 Katerina 訂了親(betrothed)。

20 但是才訂婚不久,他就迷上(infatuated)Grushenka,她被一位老商人收留為姘婦。

21 Katerina 委託(entrust…with)他三千盧布,要他郵寄給住在莫斯科的妹妹,但是他偷了那筆錢,和 Grushenka 一起揮霍,三天之內花掉半數金額。squander:浪費。

22 更糟糕的是,老 Karamazov 也對 Grushenka 有興趣。他正設法以 Dmitri 自認為是應得的那份財產來賄賂她離開商人。Rightful share:應得的一份。

23 同時,Katerina 與 Ivan 彼此有意。Dmitri 很高興有這個進展。他希望他們倆彼此投緣,使他能解除婚約。

24 Smerdyakov 與 Ivan 都知道,如果老 Karamazov 活著,而且娶 Grushenka 為妻,他們兄弟將得不到分文財產,但是如果他死了,就可獲得繼承權。

25 此時 Dmitri 的心中充滿了憤怒、罪惡感和挫折感,非常混亂。whirlpool:漩渦;紛亂。

26 最重要的是,他必須歸還(restore)Katerina 的錢,才能離開她,而且必須趕在父親之前娶到 Grushenka。

27 他設法去借錢,但是沒成功。To no avail:沒有用;無效。

28 steal away:偷偷溜走。

29 他從廚房抓了一把銅製的杵,衝去(dash off)他父親家。

30 Dmitri 和 Grigory 格鬥揪打(grapple),用杵擊倒僕人。blow:一擊。

31 後來,Dmitri 在附近的村莊追上(catch up)Grushenka,她和她的波蘭情人在一起。那個波蘭情人輕易地被收買了(buy off)。

32 接著 Dmitri 和 Grushenka 開始狂歡作樂;玩的正樂的時候,警察闖入(break in)逮捕 Dmitri。a bout:一回合。

33 經過一番盤問之後,Dmitri 接受審判。檢察官的起訴必會令人心服,因為僕人 Grigory 的證詞(testimony)證明他在犯罪現場。To make a convincing case:令人心服口服的訟案。

34 此外,Dmitri 突然大量揮霍金錢,偷竊是唯一說得通的解釋。lavish:浪費的。expenditure:花費。Account for:說明。

35 審判進行中,Ivan 和 Smerdyakov 會談數次。Smerdyakov 承認自己才是謀殺者。

36 他堅持說他是遵照 Ivan 的暗示行事,而且他覺得 Ivan 會保護他。Act on:遵照……行事。tacit:沉默的;心照不宣的。instruction:指示。

37 驚怒之下,Ivan 宣稱要向法庭說明真相;就在那天晚上 Smerdyakov 上吊自殺。

38 儘管檢察官的證據對 Dmitri 不利,但是被告的辯護律師一一加以駁斥(refute)。

39 接著 Katerina 向法庭透露 Dmitri 曾寫給她一封信,信中他宣稱要殺死自己的父親。

40 因此,判決(verdict)有罪是不可避免的了。

41 雖然,他被誤判,Dmitri 仍接受到西伯利亞服刑的判決。sentence:刑罰;判決。

42 例如,Zossima 神父去世時,人們期待奇蹟出現,因為他們深信聖徒的屍體不會腐爛(decompose)。

43 Zossima 的屍體迅速腐爛,令某些僧侶十分高興,因為他們急於想(anxious to)貶責正教的長老制度。discredit:推翻權威;低賥貶。institution:制度;體系。

44 類似的懷疑論也可見諸於有名的「大審判者的寓言」中。Ivan 在此寓言中,幻想耶穌基督回到世上,卻發現和教會的權威人士發生衝突。Only to 表示「有所期待卻失望了」。ecclesiastical:宗教的;教會的。

45 雖然 Ivan 有時候被塑造成無神論者,但是此處他表達 Dostoyevsky 對羅馬天主教的深惡痛絕。

46 「大審判者」的主要主題是:人類害怕擔當道德責任,基督的教誨將自由選擇的擔子加諸於人類,但人類並不情願有此負擔。

47 廣義的說,Dostoyevsky 抨擊所有的獨裁主義(despotism),這些制度設法藉著限制人的自由而使人快樂。

48 Dostoyevsky 是俄國東正教的信仰者,他認為人類必須對自己的行為負道德責任,但是他對人性並不抱持樂觀態度。Take…seriously:對……很重視。shun:避開。

49 他認為人性本惡,可是想藉著操縱外在環境來治癒人的惡性是徒勞無功的。

50 人只能靠愛和寬恕去生存。Endure=last(作動詞)。

by Dr. Yuan-huang Tsai