Dostoevsky Essay Research Paper In Dostoevsky

Dostoevsky Essay, Research Paper

In Dostoevsky’s book “The Grand Inquisitor” he develops two versions of

Chrisitianity. One is the Roman catholic version which is represented by the G.I. or Grand

Inquisitor and the other is the Protestant version represented by the Christ-like figure. The

whole dialogue begins when the GI has thrown the Christ-like figure or CLF in prison

after watching him do a few miracles (pg. 24). He then begins to barraage him with

questions that he answers himself. And From this comes the argument of freedom. The GI

then claims that because the CLF refused the 3 temptations (mainly the turning of the stone

into bread) (pg27) he placed the burden of freedom on man. According to the GI if the

CLF had only turned the stone into bread he would have “satisfied the universal and

everlasting craving of humanity–to fing someone to worship”(pg.27). Instead the CLF

rejected it for the sake of freedom. The GI goes on to say that instead of taking mans

freedom from them (“by giving them bread”) when you had the chance you instead choose

to make it stronger than ever (pg28). The Gi sees freedom as being the main problem in

man, its almost like a disease. He says that man wants happiness in life not freedom. By

creating this “free” society the CLF has placed the burden of responsibility on man. Now

if you think about it what he says here makes a lot of sense. Because we have the power to

choose, the freedom to choose. We also have to take the responsibility of our choices. We

are forced to deal with the consequences of our actions. Now you might say that’s fine just

make good choices and you’ll be fine. Well according to the GI men are weak and are

incapable of accepting such a responsibility as the on the CLF has placed on them.

The GI then goes on to tell the CLF that he is no longer needed that he (GI) has

finisehd his (CLF) work. He said that the men have given up their freedom to the church.

And thus the responsibility is not laid on man himself but on the community or church as a

whole. He says that you (CLF) would not give them ‘heavenly’ bread but I (GI) have

given them ‘earthly’ bread, which is what they truly want. The Gi believes that man’s goal

in life is to pursue happiness and well being. And that if they would give there freedom up

to the church, then they can go on and pursue that.

The main topic here is the struggle for freedom. Christ gave man free-will. To

choose between right and wrong. So man has the right to choose. The GI says that man

can never be free because he is weak corrupt worthless and restless. The GI says that by

giving them freedom ….. you showed that you didnt love them at all. The Gi says that you

desired there free love, that they should follow you freely. But because you only gave

yourself as a guide. they rejected you and your image. So instead of saving them you left

them in more confusion and suffering. By doing so you layed down the foundation for the

destruction of your own kingdom. (pg28)

The Gi then goes on to deescribe the three powers in which the CLF had at his

disposal to use in order bring people into his kingdom . Miracle, mystery, and authority

are the three powers he chose not to use. When he was tempted to jump off the building

and have angels come down nd catch him from heaven he refused saying that one should

not test the Lord.The Gi then says what if it were man that were placed in the same

situation would they have done the same? Of course not the would have jumped. Because

man does not seek so much God as he does the miraculous. Mystery falls into place when

he describes why people follow the CLF its becaue of mystery something that they don’t

know that is why they follow. The Gi goes onto say that they have corrected his work by

founding it on miracle, mystery and authority. and men rejoiced because they were again

led like sheep and the burden of freedom that caused them so much suffering was lifted

from there hearts.(pg.30)

The Gi then goes on to speak of how better off man will be for completely

submitting. How they cant be truly happy until they do. He talks about what life would be

like once totally submissed, “we shall allow or forbid them to live with there wives”,

“Peacefully they will die,peacefully they will expire in your name, and beyond the grave

they will find noting but death”.(pg.33) He says that one day you will return with your

choosen , the pround and the strong. But he will say that you have only saved yourselves

but we have saved all.(pg.33)

In the end a basic question arises ….Freedom or happiness?

In the last chapter of “The Grand Inquisitor” we meet father Zossima, who is a

Russian monk. Father Zossima pleads for a unitary brotherhood of man. He says that the

salvation of Russia comes from the people(pg.70). He also says that men should love as

God loved, not for the moment but for all eternity. He talks of monks stopping the beating

of children, rising up and teaching them. He says that salvation will come from the people

from ther faith and there meekness(pg.71). He says that fathers are to watch over the

people’s faith and this will not be a dream. He talks about the importance of humility. He

talks about the importance of sincere prayer as well. He talks of faith and forgivness, all of

these he says are the way to salvation.


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