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Slochower, H. (1959). Incest in the Brothers Karamazov. Am. Imago, 16(2):127-145.

(1959). American Imago, 16(2):127-145

Incest in the Brothers Karamazov

Harry Slochower, Ph.D.

In The Brothers Karamazov, Mitya publicly competes with his father for Grushenka. And Dostoyevsky criticism has accepted Grushenka as the incest figure in the novel. However, the main plot of the story and Mitya's major inner dilemma center, not in Grushenka, but in another woman: Katerina or Katya. And this essay will attempt to show that Katya is the deeper of Mitya's incest burdens. The paper would also suggest that although Freud's study of Dostoyevsky never mentions Katya, she appears there in a veiled form.

Freud names The Brothers Karamazov, Hamlet and Oedipus Rex three literary masterpieces, dealing with patricide, motivated by sexual rivalry. He regards three of Fyodor Karamazov's sons guilty of patricide and sees Grushenka as the object of the sexual contest between Fyodor and Mitya.

Now, The Brothers Karamazov is a later, more complex form of the oedipal situation than are Oedipus Rex and Hamlet. In Sophocles, Oedipus actually commits incest and patricide. Shakespeare's modern, sophisticated scene presents more tangled relations.

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