Bowing for Forgiveness in The Brothers Karamazov
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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