The Idiot and The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

"And he opened his mouth and taught them,  saying:

Blessed are the poor in spirit,  for theirs is the kingdom of


Blessed are those who mourn,  for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,  for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,  for

they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful,  for they shall receive mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart,  for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,  for they shall be called sons of


Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. "

(John 5: 2­10,  English Standard Version)

Fyodor Dostoevsky sought to portray these ideals using Prince Myshkin and

Alyosha in his great novels The Idiot and The Brothers Karamazov.   However,  because

Prince Myshkin and Alyosha portray the same characteristics by no means makes them

identical.   Both characters were in isolation prior to the initial plot of the books,  but for

different reasons.   Myshkin was in a sanatorium before his book's plot picks up,  while

Alyosha willingly leaves the chaos of the outside world to spiritually enrich himself.   The main plot of both books hinge around different conflicts,  and one may argue that The Idiot is less complex than The Brothers Karamazov,  since its plot is centered around love, whereas the latter book's plot concerns a murder.   Alyosha is more openly spiritual than Myshkin.   Alyosha also understands the world better than Myshkin does;  Myshkin tends to be more naïve,  even though he probably had experienced the greed,  vanity,  lust,  and

general malice of society.   The characters are similar in other ways,  though.   Like their creator,  Dostoevsky,  both Myshkin and Alyosha have epileptic fits in tense circumstances; Myshkin when Rogozhin tries to stab him,  and Alyosha when under verbal abuse from his father.   In both novels,  Dostoevsky used the characters of Alyosha and Prince Myshkin to personify his ideal spiritual and Christlike man,  so pure and good that they are pained by the evil they see in the world around them.

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