Pavel Smerdyakov
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Pavel Smerdyakov

The Brothers Karamazov

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About Him

Grew Up… extremely troubled and hateful. As a child, Smerdyakov would amuse himself by hanging cats and performing other violent acts, behavior probably rooted in his unhappy upbringing. After Smerdyakov's mother died in childbirth, his alleged father, Fyodor Karamazov, left the boy to grow up on his property as a servant, creating a deeply unhappy young man.

Living… with epilepsy, which he has had since his youth. In addition to his other troubles, this ailment adds to Smerdyakov's feeling of being cursed, further leading him to become morbid and downtrodden.

Profession… servant to Fyodor. The house's longtime cook, Smerdyakov has let his contempt simmer over the years, and it's slowly reaching the boiling point.

Interests… sadism, philosophy, and rebellion against the standing religious order. Despite his poor upbringing, Smerdyakov is an intelligent man, his neuroses driving him toward philosophical discourse in place of normal social relationships. Consequently, he relates closely with Ivan, a fellow atheist who enjoys intellectual debate.

Relationship Status… single. His name, which basically means “son of the stinking one,” definitely doesn’t help him with the ladies, nor does his angry and hateful personality. Plus, there's the turn-off of frequently being referred to as a “eunuch.”

Challenge… overcoming his terrible upbringing or paying the consequences. If he doesn’t let go of his bitterness, Smerdyakov will continue to spiral into the depths of hatred and suffering – something which won’t end well for any of the Karamazovs.

Personality… sadistic, sly, and moody. Described as having a “sidelong look in his eye,” Smerdyakov is always plotting or otherwise causing havoc. Over the years, his childhood violence towards animals has only developed into a violent hatred for most people. Sharing none of Alyosha’s appetite for religion, Fyodor’s love for money and women, or Ivan's inventive ideas, Smerdyakov is lonely and unloved by anyone. For that, he is a truly dangerous man.

Pavel Smerdyakov's popularity ranking on CharacTour is #4268 out of 5,600+ characters. See our top-ranked characters and read their profiles.

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