Ivan Karamazov
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Ivan Karamazov

The Brothers Karamazov

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About Him

Grew Up… at the mercy of Fyodor Karamazov, his terrible father. When his mother died, Fyodor sent Ivan and his younger brother Alyosha away. Ivan was then handed off between a number of different families until he went off to study in Moscow, where he supported himself through journalism and writing reviews.

Living… mysteriously back in his father’s town, at the invitation of his older brother Dmitri. It’s unclear exactly why Ivan has returned, but he is certainly a helpful, rational person to have around while Dmitri and their father feud over Dmitri’s inheritance. Ivan tries to calm them down, but with little luck. Although patient with the warring Karamazovs, Ivan doesn’t know either of them very well and is far more interested in discussing philosophy with Smerdyakov, the family servant who also happens to be Fyodor’s illegitimate child.

Profession… writer and intellectual. From childhood, Ivan was recognized for being extremely intelligent. As rational as he is, Ivan is also privy to the more poetic and ambiguous side of philosophy, as shown by his story of The Grand Inquisitor, which concludes with an ambiguous kiss and the poetic words, “the kiss glows in his heart, but the old man adheres to his idea.”

Interests… intellectualism, rationality, and religious criticism. As Ivan explains to his younger brother, “it's not God that I don't accept, Alyosha, only I most respectfully return him the ticket.” Despite his pride in it, Ivan's intellect also leads him to conclude that suicide is the only way to escape life's sufferings.

Relationship Status… single. However, he takes a liking toward Katerina, Dmitri's former fiancée, now available since Dmitri has decided to chase after Grushenka. 

Challenge… understanding his existence. Ivan puts a lot of weight on philosophical discourse and believes that one should rebel against popular belief systems which do little to answer real questions about human existence.

Personality… rational, atheistic, and doubting, Ivan is a man who creates meaning for himself by closely studying religion and philosophy. However, Ivan's habit of analyzing everything has often made him sullen and dejected. Like most intellectuals, Ivan is cursed by knowing too much.

Ivan Karamazov's popularity ranking on CharacTour is #3672 out of 5,600+ characters. See our top-ranked characters and read their profiles.

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