Bowing for Forgiveness in The Brothers Karamazov

  • Sara Elizabeth Whitlock John Brown University
Keywords: The Brothers Karamazov, Bowing, Eastern Orthodox, Sunday of Forgiveness, Cheesefare Sunday


The Eastern Orthodox tradition of bowing heavily influences the work of Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and his final novel, The Brothers Karamazov, contains many instances of bowing at developmental moments for protagonists. By setting the novel’s action during the Lenten season, Dostoyevsky allows the characters to participate vicariously in the Sunday of Forgiveness, an Orthodox service of bowing and forgiveness. When viewed in light of the book’s narrative timeline and the Sunday of Forgiveness traditions, the major bows in The Brothers Karamazov can be interpreted as requests for forgiveness.

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Author Biography

Sara Elizabeth Whitlock, John Brown University
Student, Department of Chemistry

How to Cite
Whitlock, S. E. (2016). Bowing for Forgiveness in The Brothers Karamazov. Journal of Student Research, 5(1), 1-3. Retrieved from
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