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Chapter 7 An Historical Survey

  • "THE medical experts have striven to convince us that the prisoner is out o_is mind and, in fact, a maniac. I maintain that he is in his right mind, an_hat if he had not been, he would have behaved more cleverly. As for his bein_ maniac, that I would agree with, but only in one point, that is, his fixe_dea about the three thousand. Yet I think one might find a much simpler caus_han his tendency to insanity. For my part I agree thoroughly with the youn_octor who maintained that the prisoner's mental faculties have always bee_ormal, and that he has only been irritable and exasperated. The object of th_risoner's continual and violent anger was not the sum itself; there was _pecial motive at the bottom of it. That motive is jealousy!"
  • Here Ippolit Kirillovitch described at length the prisoner's fatal passion fo_rushenka. He began from the moment when the prisoner went to the "youn_erson's" lodgings "to beat her"- "I use his own expression," the prosecuto_xplained- "but instead of beating her, he remained there, at her feet. Tha_as the beginning of the passion. At the same time the prisoner's father wa_aptivated by the same young person- a strange and fatal coincidence, for the_oth lost their hearts to her simultaneously, though both had known he_efore. And she inspired in both of them the most violent, characteristicall_aramazov passion. We have her own confession: 'I was laughing at both o_hem.' Yes, the sudden desire to make a jest of them came over her, and sh_onquered both of them at once. The old man, who worshipped money, at once se_side three thousand roubles as a reward for one visit from her, but soo_fter that, he would have been happy to lay his property and his name at he_eet, if only she would become his lawful wife. We have good evidence of this.
  • As for the prisoner, the tragedy of his fate is evident; it is before us. Bu_uch was the young person's 'game.' The enchantress gave the unhappy young ma_o hope until the last moment, when he knelt before her, stretching out hand_hat were already stained with the blood of his father and rival. It was i_hat position that he was arrested. 'Send me to Siberia with him, I hav_rought him to this, I am most to blame,' the woman herself cried, in genuin_emorse at the moment of his arrest.
  • "The talented young man, to whom I have referred already, Mr. Rakitin,
  • characterised this heroine in brief and impressive terms: 'She wa_isillusioned early in life, deceived and ruined by a betrothed, who seduce_nd abandoned her. She was left in poverty, cursed by her respectable famil_nd taken under the protection of a wealthy old man, whom she still, however,
  • considers as her benefactor. There was perhaps much that was good in her youn_eart, but it was embittered too early. She became prudent and saved money.
  • She grew sarcastic and resentful against society.' After this sketch of he_haracter it may well be understood that she might laugh at both of the_imply from mischief, from malice.
  • "After a month of hopeless love and moral degradation, during which h_etrayed his betrothed and appropriated money entrusted to his honour, th_risoner was driven almost to frenzy, almost to madness by continual jealousy-
  • and of whom? His father! And the worst of it was that the crazy old man wa_lluring and enticing the object of his affection by means of that very thre_housand roubles, which the son looked upon as his own property, part of hi_nheritance from his mother, of which his father was cheating him. Yes, _dmit it was hard to bear! It might well drive a man to madness. It was no_he money, but the fact that this money was used with such revolting cynicis_o ruin his happiness!"
  • Then the prosecutor went on to describe how the idea of murdering his fathe_ad entered the prisoner's head, and illustrated his theory with facts.
  • "At first he only talked about it in taverns- he was talking about it all tha_onth. Ah, he likes being always surrounded with company, and he likes to tel_is companions everything, even his most diabolical and dangerous ideas; h_ikes to share every thought with others, and expects, for some reason, tha_hose he confides in will meet him with perfect sympathy, enter into all hi_roubles and anxieties, take his part and not oppose him in anything. If not,
  • he flies into a rage and smashes up everything in the tavern. (Then followe_he anecdote about Captain Snegiryov.) Those who heard the prisoner began t_hink at last that he might mean more than threats, and that such a frenz_ight turn threats into actions."
  • Here the prosecutor described the meeting of the family at the monastery, th_onversations with Alyosha, and the horrible scene of violence when th_risoner had rushed into his father's house just after dinner.
  • "I cannot positively assert," the prosecutor continued, "that the prisone_ully intended to murder his father before that incident. Yet the idea ha_everal times presented itself to him, and he had deliberated on it- for tha_e have facts, witnesses, and his own words. I confess, gentlemen of th_ury," he added, "that till to-day I have been uncertain whether to attribut_o the prisoner conscious premeditation. I was firmly convinced that he ha_ictured the fatal moment beforehand, but had only pictured it, contemplatin_t as a possibility. He had not definitely considered when and how he migh_ommit the crime.
  • "But I was only uncertain till to-day, till that fatal document was presente_o the court just now. You yourselves heard that young lady's exclamation, 'I_s the plan, the programme of the murder!' That is how she defined tha_iserable, drunken letter of the unhappy prisoner. And, in fact, from tha_etter we see that the whole fact of the murder was premeditated. It wa_ritten two days before, and so we know now for a fact that, forty-eight hour_efore the perpetration of his terrible design, the prisoner swore that, if h_ould not get money next day, he would murder his father in order to take th_nvelope with the notes from under his pillow, as soon as Ivan had left. 'A_oon as Ivan had gone away'- you hear that; so he had thought everything out,
  • weighing every circumstance, and he carried it all out just as he had writte_t. The proof of premeditation is conclusive; the crime must have bee_ommitted for the sake of the money, that is stated clearly, that is writte_nd signed. The prisoner does not deny his signature.
  • "I shall be told he was drunk when he wrote it. But that does not diminish th_alue of the letter, quite the contrary; he wrote when drunk what he ha_lanned when sober. Had he not planned it when sober, he would not hav_ritten it when drunk. I shall be asked: Then why did he talk about it i_averns? A man who premeditates such a crime is silent and keeps it t_imself. Yes, but he talked about it before he had formed a plan, when he ha_nly the desire, only the impulse to it. Afterwards he talked less about it.
  • On the evening he wrote that letter at the Metropolis tavern, contrary to hi_ustom he was silent, though he had been drinking. He did not play billiards,
  • he sat in a corner, talked to no one. He did indeed turn a shopman out of hi_eat, but that was done almost unconsciously, because he could never enter _avern without making a disturbance. It is true that after he had taken th_inal decision, he must have felt apprehensive that he had talked too muc_bout his design beforehand, and that this might lead to his arrest an_rosecution afterwards. But there was nothing for it; he could not take hi_ords back, but his luck had served him before, it would serve him again. H_elieved in his star, you know! I must confess, too, that he did a great dea_o avoid the fatal catastrophe. 'To-morrow I shall try and borrow the mone_rom everyone,' as he writes in his peculiar language,' and if they won't giv_t to me, there will be bloodshed.'"
  • Here Ippolit Kirillovitch passed to a detailed description of all Mitya'_fforts to borrow the money. He described his visit to Samsonov, his journe_o Lyagavy. "Harassed, jeered at, hungry, after selling his watch to pay fo_he journey (though he tells us he had fifteen hundred roubles on him- _ikely story), tortured by jealousy at having left the object of hi_ffections in the town, suspecting that she would go to Fyodor Pavlovitch i_is absense, he returned at last to the town, to find, to his joy, that sh_ad not been near his father. He accompanied her himself to her protector.
  • (Strange to say, he doesn't seem to have been jealous of Samsonov, which i_sychologically interesting.) Then he hastens back to his ambush in the bac_ardens, and then learns that Smerdyakov is in a fit, that the other servan_s ill- the coast is clear and he knows the 'signals'- what a temptation!
  • Still he resists it; he goes off to a lady who has for some time been residin_n the town, and who is highly esteemed among us, Madame Hohlakov. That lady,
  • who had long watched his career with compassion, gave him the most judiciou_dvice, to give up his dissipated life, his unseemly love-affair, the waste o_is youth and vigour in pot-house debauchery, and to set off to Siberia to th_old mines: 'that would be an outlet for your turbulent energies, you_omantic character, your thirst for adventure.'"
  • After describing the result of this conversation and the moment when th_risoner learnt that Grushenka had not remained at Samsonov's, the sudde_renzy of the luckless man worn out with jealousy and nervous exhaustion, a_he thought that she had deceived him and was now with his father, Ippoli_irillovitch concluded by dwelling upon the fatal influence of chance. "Ha_he maid told him that her mistress was at Mokroe with her former lover,
  • nothing would have happened. But she lost her head, she could only swear an_rotest her ignorance, and if the prisoner did not kill her on the spot, i_as only because he flew in pursuit of his false mistress.
  • "But note, frantic as he was, he took with him a brass pestle. Why that? Wh_ot some other weapon? But since he had been contemplating his plan an_reparing himself for it for a whole month, he would snatch up anything like _eapon that caught his eye. He had realised for a month past that any objec_f the kind would serve as a weapon, so he instantly, without hesitation,
  • recognised that it would serve his purpose. So it was by no mean_nconsciously, by no means involuntarily, that he snatched up that fata_estle. And then we find him in his father's garden- the coast is clear, ther_re no witnesses, darkness and jealousy. The suspicion that she was there,
  • with him, with his rival, in his arms, and perhaps laughing at him at tha_oment- took his breath away. And it was not mere suspicion, the deception wa_pen, obvious. She must be there, in that lighted room, she must be behind th_creen; and the unhappy man would have us believe that he stole up to th_indow, peeped respectfully in, and discreetly withdrew, for fear somethin_errible and immoral should happen. And he tries to persuade us of that, us,
  • who understand his character, who know his state of mind at the moment, an_hat he knew the signals by which he could at once enter the house." At thi_oint Ippolit Kirillovitch broke off to discuss exhaustively the suspecte_onnection of Smerdyakov with the murder. He did this very circumstantially,
  • and everyone realised that, although he professed to despise that suspicion,
  • he thought the subject of great importance.