Similarities Between The Grand Inquisitor And Bartleby The Scrivener

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Within Dostoyevsky’s The Grand Inquisitor and Herman Melville’s Bartleby the Scrivener are expressive figures facing problems of an existential nature. Consumed by an inability to find purpose in life, their actions and reactions become characterized by absurd and illogical streaks. The characters begin to align with the ideas surrounding existentialism, most notably with the “sense of disorientation and confusion in the face of an apparently meaningless or absurd world." As they attempt to understand their place in the world, these characters determination is as thrilling as it is tragic. With the underlying flight or fight approach to survival revealed, these characters give us a rare, yet familiar insight into the impact of disenchantment …show more content…
Alyosha believes any evils committed by earlier factions of the religion were simply driven by avarice. “We know the Jesuits, bad things are said about them, but are they would you have there?... That's their ideal, but without any mysteries or lost the sadness.” The Grand Inquisitor's loss of faith also leaves Alyosha bewildered. “Your Inquisitor doesn't believe in God, that's his whole secret!" Ivan, though, understands the Inquisitor because he created the character; the Grand Inquisitor allows him to seek his brother's acceptance for such thoughts. "At last, you've understood. Yes, indeed, that alone is the whole secret, but is it not suffering, if only for such a man as he, who has wasted his whole life on a great deed in and still has not been cured of his love for mankind?" Ivan views himself as the sufferer; he shares the Grand Inquisitor’s lamentation when he discovers that free will hurts humanity. As a concept of existentialism, anguish is a negative view of humanity's freedom and responsibility. That is to say, it is the realization that there is nothing holding oneself back from an action, but also nothing motivating one to do it outside of one's own will. Not only does the Grand Inquisitor openly reject free will in the poem, from Ivan's point of view, it's his own personal hell and his legacy as a …show more content…
His efforts in regards to unify mankind and “correct Christ's deed” ironically lead to him living an inauthentic existence in pretending to be a cardinal doing Christ’s work. However, it is only when he confronts his prisoner, Christ, that he becomes authentic. Authenticity, in existentialism, is more or less acting in such a manner that not only aligns with one’s ideals or beliefs, but also expresses these ideals or beliefs. the Grand Inquisitor seeks out his prisoner in order to reveal “all that he has been silent about 90 years”. In his accusatory and confession-like monologue, the Grand Inquisitor scolds Christ for not freeing mankind of free will when he had the chance. He contains a fierce love for humanity, and every decision he makes is for them. “And we, who took their sins upon ourselves for their happiness, we will stand before you and say: judge us if you can and dare.” The Grand Inquisitor argues with Christ; he believes in his mission to bring happiness to humanity and is willing to fight Christ for that, even after he frees

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