Nietzsche and Dostoevsky were contemporaries, and Nietzsche especially was known
to admire Dostoevsky’s work. Both authors were interested in the study of the basis for
human morality, and the search for a redirection of human morality; one in which the
problems they saw with the current understanding of acceptable behaviour according to
laws, religion and might is right, could be melded in with their own beliefs and struggles
with their own mortality and morality.
Although Nietzsche’s collection of essays The Genealogy of Morals, (1887) was
written 7 years after Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov (1880), it is interesting to
note that the main character types that Nietzsche believed created hierarchies that
developed and sustained the morality of his time, appear in the form of the main
characters in The Brothers Karamazov.
This thesis will be looking at the The Brothers Karamazov through the different
character ‘types’ and the resulting psychomachia of the three legitimate brothers, the
older brothers Dmitri and Ivan, and especially that of Alyosha, the youngest brother.
The thesis will focus on both elder brothers’ evolution of thought and action through the
progress of the novel, and, importantly, on each brothers’ interactions with Alyosha and
the turbulent state of mind they regularly leave their younger sibling in.
The final chapter of the thesis will concentrate on Alyosha and his journey throughout
the novel, from his parting of ways with Zosima to his talk with the young boys by the
stone. This journey, I believe, will be the one that extracts the idea of Dostoevsky’s true
morality seen in the novel.